Prince Harry Accused of Deliberately Destroying Evidence in Tabloid Lawsuit


A lawyer for the publisher of Rupert Murdoch’s British tabloid The Sun on Thursday accused Prince Harry of deliberately destroying evidence that may have been relevant to his lawsuit against the media group.

Harry and dozens of other claimants including Hugh Grant are suing News Group Newspapers (NGN) over claims of reporters and private investigators using unlawful information gathering tactics. Attorney Anthony Hudson, representing NGN, told London’s High Court that the prince had intentionally wiped text messages with J.R. Moehringer, the journalist who ghostwrote Harry’s memoir, Spare, according to the Associated Press.

A trial based on some of the claims against NGN is set to begin in January 2025. Before it opens, NGN’s attorneys have sought an order to make Harry disclose all of the information in his possession—or which might be held by the royal household or his former lawyers—pertaining to what he knew about the alleged illegal practices before the end of 2013.

If Harry was aware he might have a claim before then, the case might be thrown out for being brought too late, Reuters reports.

Hudson, the lawyer for NGN, told the court they were forced to request the order owing to Harry’s “obfuscation,” claiming that the prince had created an “obstacle course” to obtaining the documents. He said he was concerned about a statement from Harry’s team saying all the messages between Harry and his ghostwriter—which were sent through the Signal messaging app—had been deleted.

“We say it’s shocking and extraordinary that the claimant has deliberately destroyed…” Hudson said, according to The Telegraph. The newspaper noted that the judge, Timothy Fancourt, interrupted Hudson to say: “Well we don’t know what has happened. It’s not at all clear.”

“It is of great concern,” Hudson reportedly added. “It needs to be clarified in very short order.” The attorney further claimed it had been difficult to obtain other potentially relevant emails. “We have had to drag those out of the claimant kicking and screaming,” he said, according to Reuters.

David Sherborne, Harry’s lawyer, hit back by alleging that Hudson used language to “get a headline,” according to the news agency, with Sherborne further claiming that NGN’s team was engaging in a “fishing expedition.”

He also said any suggestion of Harry destroying or holding back potentially relevant material was the “height of hypocrisy,” claiming NGN had deleted millions of emails as part of a way to cover up incriminating evidence.

The claimants in the case allege that journalists breached their privacy rights by using unlawful methods to obtain confidential information. The case has its roots in a phone hacking scandal at NGN’s News of the World tabloid, which closed down in 2011. The media group apologized to the victims of voicemail interception by the defunct tabloid and says it has settled 1,300 claims for its newspapers, though The Sun has not accepted liability.

Last month, Fancourt ruled that Harry could not widen his lawsuit to include allegations that Murdoch was aware of unlawful activity at his London tabloids but “turned a blind eye” to the claims, according to the BBC.

This post was originally published on Daily Beast

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