Prince Harry, Baroness Doreen Lawrence, Sir Elton John, and others faced a significant setback as a High Court judge declared parts of their privacy case against Associated Newspapers as inadmissible.
Mr. Justice Nicklin ruled that allowing the case to proceed in its current form would be an ‘abuse of process’ and could ‘bring the administration of justice into disrepute.’
The judge stated that the seven claimants, all alleging hacking by Associated Newspapers (the publisher of the Mail on Sunday and Daily Mail), could still proceed with the rest of their cases to trial. This decision rejected an application by the newspaper group to have the cases thrown out.
The judge said the seven claimants who all allege hacking by Associated Newspapers – the publisher of the Mail on Sunday and Daily Mail – could take the rest of their cases to trial, rejecting an application by the newspaper group to have them thrown out.
But he ruled there was ‘significant public interest’ in preventing the claimants from deploying confidential documents in breach of an order made by the Leveson Inquiry 12 years ago.
Associated Newspapers, which has always strenuously denied the ‘preposterous’ allegations, said in a statement: ‘We welcome Mr Justice Nicklin’s decision that the information we and other newspapers supplied to the Leveson Inquiry under strict grounds of confidentiality remains subject to the Restriction Order imposed by Lord Justice Leveson.
‘In a significant victory for justice and the Mail, the Judge ruled that the information should not have been used by the Claimants and must be struck out from the case. As Mr Justice Nicklin says in his judgment, this was an ‘abuse of process’ and if used, ‘it would bring the administration of justice into disrepute’.
‘As we have always made unequivocally clear, the lurid claims made by Prince Harry and others of phone-hacking, landline-tapping, burglary and sticky-window microphones are simply preposterous and we look forward to establishing this in court in due course.
‘We are grateful to the judge for the careful consideration he has given to our applications.’
The Duke of Sussex and the six others – Sir Elton John, his husband David Furnish, Elizabeth Hurley, Sadie Frost, Sir Simon Hughes, and Baroness Doreen Lawrence – launched their hacking case in October last year.