LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Prince Harry, singer Elton John and five other high-profile figures’ written statements in their lawsuits against the publisher of the Daily Mail newspaper were published on Tuesday.
The seven claimants are suing Associated Newspapers at London’s High Court over allegations of phone-tapping and other privacy breaches, which the publisher said it vehemently denied.
Below is a summary of witness statements issued in response to Associated Newspapers’ application to throw the case out of court:
The British royal says in his witness statement that he is suing Associated Newspapers over its “unchecked power, influence and criminality” for the wider public interest.
“The evidence I have seen shows that Associated’s journalists are criminals with journalistic powers which should concern every single one of us,” Harry says. “The British public deserve to know the full extent of this cover up and I feel it is my duty to expose it.”
Harry also spoke of feeling like he was “under 24-hour surveillance”, which he suggested was in part the result of Associated Newspapers’ alleged unlawful actions.
ELTON JOHN, DAVID FURNISH AND ELIZABETH HURLEY
Singer John and his husband David Furnish say in their witness statements that they were told by actor Elizabeth Hurley, their friend and fellow claimant, about allegations they were targeted by Associated Newspapers.
The couple, who allege that their home telephone was tapped by a private investigator on behalf of the publisher, said they were “devastated”.
John said in his statement: “I have found the Mail’s deliberate invasion into my medical health and medical details surrounding the birth of our son … abhorrent and outside even the most basic standards of human decency.”
In her written evidence, Hurley – who alleges her phones were tapped and microphones were placed on her home windows – said the alleged invasion of her privacy was “brutal”.
Lawrence – mother of Black teenager Stephen Lawrence who was murdered in a 1993 racist attack – spoke of her sense of betrayal that she was allegedly targeted by the Daily Mail, which campaigned for justice for her son for many years.
“The idea that something else had been going on behind the scenes completely hidden from me, that I had been played for a fool and for so many years, was deeply shocking and upsetting to me,” she said in her witness statement.
Lawrence also said Associated Newspapers’ approach to her lawsuit reminded her of the police’s response when she asked questions about the investigation into her son’s murder, by trying “to stop me taking action and to deny, hide and conceal the things they had done wrong from me”.
“I saw it as a sign of guilt and I do now,” she added. “There should be nothing to hide if you have done nothing wrong. I believe the truth, when it emerges, will show their guilt just like it did with the police.”
Actor Sadie Frost accused Daily Mail journalists of being “cold-blooded” in relation to stories about the breakdown of her marriage to ex-husband Jude Law and their son’s medical treatment.
She said in her witness statement that Law believed information being published about their divorce was being leaked by her.
“It is a horrible feeling, having the person you love accusing you of something you did not do and having to receive phone calls accusing you or your friends of leaking information,” Frost said.
ASSOCIATED NEWSPAPERS’ RESPONSE
Private investigator Gavin Burrows, whose alleged work for Associated Newspapers is relied on by the claimants in support of their lawsuits, said it was not true that he conducted unlawful information gathering for the publisher.
“I was not instructed or commissioned by the Mail on Sunday or the Daily Mail to conduct any unlawful information gathering,” Burrows said in his witness statement.
Associated Newspapers has said in a statement that it categorically denies the claimants’ allegations and would vigorously defend them if necessary.
In relation to Lawrence, the publisher said on Monday evening: “While the Mail’s admiration for Baroness Lawrence remains undimmed, we are profoundly saddened that she has been persuaded to bring this case.”
(Reporting by Sam Tobin and Michael Holden, Editing by Alexandra Hudson)
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Source: The Print