The Duke of Sussex has lost a legal application in his phone hacking trial against Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN).
It comes just days after a judge rejected the Duke’s application for a legal challenge in his separate suit against the Home Office.
David Sherborne, the lawyer representing Prince Harry and several other plaintiffs against MGN, filed an application Friday morning to include three new witness statements as evidence.
He argued that the evidence is “important” and that there was “good reason” why the statements had not been provided earlier.
However, Mr Justice Fancourt rejected the applications, saying it “comes very late” and “requires a certain amount of scrutiny on the part of the defendant in order to deal with it”.
The witnesses have all come forward since the trial began on 10 May, and Mr Sherborne argued that this was due to claims made on behalf of the publisher “they believe to be untrue”.
“I don’t think it would be in the interests of the fairness of the trial as a whole for this new evidence to be admitted at such a late stage,” Fancourt said.
The civil trial has just completed its third week and will return in June when Prince Harry is expected to testify in the Supreme Court.
Days after another denial
The rejected applications in his Mirror trial come days after a judge rejected the Duke’s application for a legal challenge in his separate suit against the Home Office.
The duke had no right to personally protest against the decision to deny him the right to pay his police protection, the judge said on Tuesday.
He had sought a judicial review based on his offer to pay, which he said should have prompted the Home Office to “overturn and redo” his decision.
Hugh Grant denied
Meanwhile, Hugh Grant has been denied the chance to bring separate phone hacking claims against the publisher of The Sun newspaper to court.
Mr Grant, 62, is filing a lawsuit alleging he was targeted by journalists and private investigators against News Group Newspapers (NGN) only in relation to The Sun, having settled a claim with the publisher earlier in 2012 in relation to to the now-defunct News Of The World.
NGN, which denies any unlawful activity took place at The Sun, made a bid to have both Mr Grant’s claim and a similar claim by the Duke of Sussex rejected at a hearing in London last month, arguing that both men had given up too late to file their claims.
In a ruling on Friday, Mr Justice Fancourt concluded that Mr Grant’s claim could be taken to court, with the exception of allegations relating to phone hacking.
Other claims will have to be tried
The judge ruled that Mr Grant could have filed a claim for phone hacking earlier as he was aware of this, but that his other claims must be adjudicated.
Mr Grant, who attended part of last month’s hearing, claims, among other things, that he was the target of “ordered burglaries”.
In a testimonial, the Love Actually star said: “My claim relates to unlawful acts committed by The Sun, including warranted burglaries, breaking into private property to obtain private information through wiretapping, landline tapping, hacking phones and using private investigators to do all these and other illegal things against me.”
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