Journalists named in Harry's case against Mail publisher

Duke of Sussex

Three national newspaper editors and dozens of other journalists have been named in documents related to the Duke of Sussex's High Court claim against the publisher of the Daily Mail.

Prince Harry is among a group of high-profile individuals accusing Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) of unlawfully obtaining information.

In the court papers, made public on Wednesday, the Sun's editor Victoria Newton, editor of the Times Tony Gallagher, and the Mail on Sunday's editor David Dillon were among those named.

ANL has strongly denied the allegations as "preposterous".

As well as the prince, the publisher faces multiple claims of "gross breaches of privacy" from Sir Elton John, his husband David Furnish, Elizabeth Hurley, Sadie Frost, former MP Sir Simon Hughes and Baroness Doreen Lawrence.

This includes allegations of bugging devices in cars, listening into phone calls and dishonestly obtaining medical and financial information.

No findings have been made in respect of the allegations and the legal claims are in the preliminary stages.

In ANL's written defence - the publication of which on Wednesday lifted restrictions on identifying those named in the case - Andrew Caldecott KC and Adrian Beltrami KC said the case "is without foundation and is an affront to the hard-working professional journalists whose reputations and integrity, as well as that of Associated itself, are wrongly traduced".

The documents, setting out the group's claims, named about 70 current or former journalists.

Doreen Lawrence
Baroness Lawrence is the mother of Stephen Lawrence, a teenager who was murdered in 1993 [Reuters]

David Sherborne, the duke's barrister, said in the written claim: "The claimant will contend that the information obtained by these private investigators on behalf of Associated and its journalists was unlawfully or illegally obtained, and was known or must have been known to be, or were obviously, to have been so obtained."

However, Mr Caldecott and Mr Beltrami said in the publisher's written defence that the duke's case was "replete with sweeping allegations of serious criminal conduct which lack even the most basic of particulars".

They said "it is denied that Associated's journalists widely and habitually carried out, or commissioned the carrying out of, illegal or unlawful information gathering activities".

A spokesperson from ANL said the publisher "has filed a trenchant defence of its journalism" against the claims.

"In papers submitted to the High Court, the publisher of the Daily Mail and the Mail On Sunday denied under oath that its journalists had commissioned or obtained information derived from phone hacking, phone tapping, bugging, computer or email hacking or burglary to order," a statement said.

"Associated also denied claims made by Prince Harry and Baroness Lawrence that it commissioned private investigators Gavin Burrows and Jonathan Rees, as well as claims by Sir Simon Hughes that it commissioned convicted phone hacker Glenn Mulcaire.

"Indeed, it is highly significant that Gavin Burrows has retracted a statement he allegedly gave to the claimants, on which their case appears to be based."

ANL said it "stands by its previous statements" that the claims are "preposterous and without foundation".

It added that "the stories concerned, many of which were published 20 or more years ago, and not subject to any complaint at the time, were the product of responsible journalism based on legitimate sources".

Spokespeople on behalf of the Sun, the Times and the Sunday Times declined to comment.