Prince Harry Barred From Taking Claims Against Rupert Murdoch Involving Meghan Markle To Trial

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A London judge has denied Prince Harry's request to expand his phone hacking lawsuit against The Sun's publisher.

The recent ruling prevented Harry from including allegations against Rupert Murdoch and Piers Morgan, as well as claims involving Meghan Markle and Princess Diana. However, Harry was allowed to add other allegations.

The expanded case will proceed to trial in January 2025. Other claimants' requests were largely denied.

UK Judge Denies Prince Harry's Bid To Expand His Lawsuit

Prince Harry attends the Wellchild Awards
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A UK Judge has denied Harry's request to expand his lawsuit against The Sun's publisher, barring him from including allegations against media mogul Murdoch and presenter Morgan.

Before the ruling, Harry's legal team sought to sue over claims that Murdoch and other top executives were involved in concealing and destroying evidence of illegal information gathered by journalists and private investigators working for News Group Newspapers (NGN).

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the proposed amendments aimed to include allegations that The Sun ordered private investigators to target Markle in 2016. Additionally, the Duke of Sussex's bid to extend the case's timeline to 1994 and 1995 to encompass allegations involving his late mother, Princess Diana, was also rejected by Judge Timothy Fancourt of the High Court, who deemed it "too late."

The Judge Gave Prince Harry Permission To Include Other Allegations

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle
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Although Judge Fancourt's decision denied Harry several of his requested amendments in his continued legal battles against British tabloids, he permitted the royal to add allegations against others allegedly involved in using unlawful methods to obtain royal information.

However, Fancourt dismissed claims that Murdoch "turned a blind eye" to misconduct, stating they didn't significantly contribute to the existing claims against NGN.

He noted that the claims already encompassed individuals like James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks, former editors at News of the World and The Sun, respectively.

UK Tabloid Says Its Position Has Been 'Thoroughly Vindicated' By Court Ruling

Prince Harry
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The now-defunct NGN has refuted any claims of illegal activities occurring at The Sun, and following Judge Fancourt's decision, an NGN representative stated that the court's ruling "thoroughly vindicated" their stance.

"At a hearing in March 2024, the Claimants sought to introduce wide-ranging allegations into their pleadings. NGN argued that a number of these were irrelevant to the fair and just determination of claims and had nothing to do with seeking compensation for victims of phone hacking or unlawful information gathering," the statement read, per THR.

It continued, "The Court in its Judgment today has thoroughly vindicated NGN's position and did not give permission to introduce large and significant portions of the amendments."

UK Tabloid Suggests Claimants Make Allegations To Grab Headlines

Prince Harry leaves High Court after last day of lawsuit against Daily Mail
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NGN attorneys have previously accused certain claimants of using the case to launch attacks on the press, suggesting that some of the proposed changes were intended "to grab headlines and not to progress the individual claims."

In a statement, NGN commented: "Lawyers for the claimants work with convicted phone hackers and employ anti-press campaigners and activists who seek to use the claims to make allegations within the protection of open justice principles."

Since The Guardian revealed the phone-hacking scandal that resulted in the 2011 shutdown of the News of the World, NGN has settled more than 1,300 claims but has continually denied any unlawful information gathering at The Sun.

Prince Harry's Court Battle With UK Tabloid To Go To Trial In January 2025

Meghan Markle, Prince Harry
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According to The Guardian, After the ruling, claimants expressed satisfaction that the court had "granted them permission to amend their case in relation to a number of significant issues vigorously opposed by NGN."

These included the "lies told by its senior executives to the Leveson inquiry [and] NGN's deliberation concealment and destruction of evidence with the knowledge of its most senior executives, including Rupert Murdoch's own 'trusted lieutenants.'"

The expanded case is scheduled to go to trial in January 2025.

The recent court development involving Harry comes after the duke and his wife, Meghan Markle, returned to the US following a three-day tour of Nigeria.

The West African country's Chief of Defense Staff, Christopher Gwabin Musa, invited them to the country, and they were treated to a somewhat royal reception, including a military parade and exquisite dinner reception attended by the who's who in Nigerian society.