Prince Harry has admitted to a judge he was not aware of ‘any evidence’ he had been hacked by a tabloid newsgroup.
According to him, it would be an ‘injustice’ if he was denied victory in his High Court phone-hacking case against the publisher of the Mirror.
Andrew Green KC, for Mirror Group Newspapers, put it to the prince that he was ‘in the land of total speculation’ and there were no phonecall records to back up his allegations.
During Harry’s second day in the witness box at the Rolls Building, Mr Green asked him: ‘Are you aware of any evidence that gives any indication whatsoever as to the extent to which you were hacked, if at all?’
The fifth in line to the throne replied: ‘No. That’s part of the reason why I’m here, my lord.’
The KC later said: ‘You’re presumably aware that there’s not a single item of call data to your mobile phone, at any time, from any Mirror Group journalist?’
But Harry, who was far more bullish and confident than on his first faltering day in the witness box, shot back with a claim that the newspaper had destroyed vast amounts of evidence, including by using ‘burner phones’, to hush up its wrongdoing.
Harry appeared close to tears as he finished his historic day and a half of answering questions at the court.
During his final hours in the witness box, the Duke revealed details about his turbulent love life, including a trip to a strip club. He did, however, criticize the Mirror Group publications for publishing damaging and ‘disturbing’ claims regarding the break-up of his relationship with his first love, Chelsy Davy, and accused The People of illegally obtaining their phone records.
Harry, the first senior royal to testify in court in 132 years, claimed he was phone-hacked by Mirror tabloids on a ‘daily basis’ for 15 years, beginning when he was a youngster at Eton.
He claimed that there was ‘concrete evidence to imply an unbelievable amount of suspiciousness’ and that he had been hacked on a’massive scale,’ telling the trial judge, Mr. Justice Fancourt, that he would ‘feel some unfairness’ if his allegation was not accepted.
Harry argued that tales in The People about him and Ms. Davy were ‘very suspect’ because they quoted ‘palace sources’ at a time when the young couple was so cautious that they never informed the Palace ‘anything’.
Harry accused the newspaper of using the attribution ‘palace sources’ to cover up the true source of the information: phone hacking.
At one point, Mr. Green put it to him: ‘So, we’re in the land of total speculation about whether this is voicemail interception?’ The duke replied: ‘No, not at all.’
Mr. Green asked the duke if he was aware that two of Ms. Davey’s friends had been disclosing information to the media. ‘I highly doubt that,’ he said. The former soldier also rejected claims in one story he had ‘loved the Army more’ than Ms. Davey.
And among several terse exchanges with Mr. Green, he claimed Mirror articles were littered with inaccuracies.
Recounting one story alleging Ms Davey ‘blew her top’ about his boozy visit to ‘sleazy’ lapdancing club Spearmint Rhino, Harry said it was ‘factually incorrect, actually, that ‘one of the girls they asked to dance naked was a tall statuesque blonde who bears more than a passing reference to Prince Harry’s girlfriend Chelsy Davy’,’ adding: ‘I’m just saying, my lord, that’s not true.’
He informed Mr. Justice Fancourt: ‘I don’t see any quotes from the, I believe, “Lithuanian lap-dancer” who sat on my lap.’
In his written witness statement, made public on Tuesday, Harry wrote: ‘I don’t think Chelsy did go mad about me going there. We did speak about it over the phone, but I promised her that I hadn’t had a lap dance.’
During his testimony today, Harry recounted an evening in London when a paparazzi photographer had tried to flee in his car when he and his police protection officers attempted to confront him.
He claimed the photographer jumped a red light and drove on the wrong side of the road to get away, ‘endangering everyone around him’.
Harry claimed: ‘He decided to evade the police. That is not normal ‘pap’ behaviour. We believe there was an illegal device in his car.’
The 38-year-old duke’s testimony was far more assured than on his first day in the witness box, when he struggled to justify his hacking claims and repeatedly appeared unaware that articles he mistook for hacking were actually follow-ups from other publications and the BBC, or official palace statements – and, in one case, an interview he had given.
When pressed further today, he admitted that he was not ‘known’ that a Sunday Mirror report about his divorce with Ms. Davy had been broken earlier by the News of the World.
And, when asked about a story about him ‘openly cavorting’ with a blonde companion at Twickenham, he said he was unaware it had originated from the Press Association news agency the day before.
The duke, who has previously denied collaborating with royal author Omid Scobie on the gushing biography Finding Freedom, was asked if he knew Mr Scobie. Harry replied: ‘Yes, I do’, before hastily adding: ‘I know of him.’
The Mirror Group denies all the claims.