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Prince Harry ordered to conduct extensive searches in lawsuit against Murdoch UK newspaper group

Prince Harry court news

On Thursday a UK court ordered Prince Harry to conduct comprehensive searches for emails, text messages, and other materials potentially relevant to his lawsuit against Rupert Murdoch’s UK newspaper division.

This comes amid concerns that some evidence might have been destroyed. The Duke of Sussex, along with over 40 others, is suing News Group Newspapers (NGN) over alleged unlawful activities by journalists and private investigators for The Sun and the now-defunct News of the World between the mid-1990s and mid-2010s.

With a trial set to begin in January at the High Court in London, NGN is contesting the claims, despite having settled over 1,300 phone-hacking lawsuits and paid out hundreds of millions of pounds to victims.

Judge Timothy Fancourt ruled a broader search of Prince Harry’s communications was required, including his laptop and messages from 2005 to early 2023, and efforts to retrieve deleted Signal messages with his memoir’s ghostwriter, JR Moehringer.

The judge expressed concerns over the inadequate handling of disclosure by the claimants’ solicitors, noting the production of only five relevant documents thus far.

NGN’s legal team accused Prince Harry of obstructing the disclosure process, while his lawyer, David Sherborne, criticized NGN’s own deletion of incriminating emails.

Fancourt also ordered Prince Harry to make an interim payment of £60,000 towards NGN’s costs for the hearing and instructed letters to be sent to the royal household and its lawyers to retrieve any relevant documents for examination.

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