Prince Harry was a no-show on the first day of his phone-hacking trial against Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) in London on Monday.
The British royal was expected to appear in court on Monday for the opening day of the trial into the case, in which he has accused journalists at MGN of using illegal means to gather information on him.
However, his lawyer David Sherborne explained that the Duke of Sussex was unable to appear because he’d taken a flight from his home in Los Angeles on Sunday after celebrating his daughter Lilibet’s second birthday.
According to The Associated Press, Justice Timothy Fancourt told the court he was “a little surprised” by Harry’s absence and stated that he had directed the 38-year-old to attend the first day of the trial as he might begin his testimony, if time allowed.
Andrew Green, the lawyer for MGN, said he was “deeply troubled” by Harry’s “extraordinary” no-show and added that he would need a day and a half to cross-examine the Duke on the witness stand.
When he does give evidence this week, Harry will become the first member of the British royal family in more than a century to testify in court.
Harry is suing MGN, the owner of the Daily Mirror, the Sunday Mirror and the Sunday People, for allegedly gathering information on him using illegal means between 1996 and 2011. His team have accused journalists of hacking his phone and hiring private investigators to dig up dirt on him.
MGN executives have admitted to using a private eye to target Harry on one occasion. They insisted they never hacked his phone and their articles were based on legal sources.
The case is one of three entirely separate lawsuits Harry is pursuing against British tabloids. He is also suing Rupert Murdoch’s News Group Newspapers and Associated Newspapers Limited over similar allegations.
– Cover Media