Prince Harry spoke out after winning his lawsuit against the publisher of a U.K. newspaper involving allegations of phone hacking and other illegal acts.

“This case is not just about hacking. It is about a systemic practice of unlawful and appalling behavior, followed by clever-ups and destruction of evidence, the shocking scale of which can only be revealed through these proceedings,” the Duke of Sussex’s lawyer, David Sherbourne, said in a statement he read aloud outside the courthouse on Friday, December 15.

David continued, “The journey to justice can be a slow and painful one and since bringing my claim almost five years ago defamatory stories and intimidating tactics have been deployed against me and at my family’s expense. And so, as I too have learnt through this process, patience is, in fact, a virtue. Especially, in the face of vendetta journalism.”

David admitted his commitment to the case was “based on [his] belief in our need — and collective right – to a free and honest press.”

Prince Harry wears a black suit while sitting in a white chair
Bryan Bedder / Getty Images

“The acts listed in the judgment are prime examples of what happens when the power of the press is abused. I respectfully call upon the authorities, the financial regulator, the Stock Market, who were deliberately deceived by Mirror Group, and, indeed, the Metropolitan Police and prosecuting authorities, to do their duty for the British public and to investigate bringing charges against the company and those who have broken the law,” David said before concluding with a powerful statement.

“Today’s ruling is vindicating and affirming. I’ve been told that slaying dragons will get you burned but in light of today’s victory and the importance of doing what is needed for a free and honest press, it is a worthwhile price to pay. The mission continues.”

Justice Fancourt, the judge who presided over the case, revealed the decision in High Court in London on Friday, December 15. Prince Harry, 39, included 33 articles from the Mirror Group Newspapers in his claim and Justice Fancourt ruled that 15 of them “were the product of phone hacking of his mobile phone or the mobile phones of his associates, or the product of other unlawful information-gathering.”

“We welcome today’s judgment that gives the business the necessary clarity to move forward from events that took place many years ago,” the Mirror Group said in their own statement after the judge’s ruling. “Where historical wrongdoing took place, we apologize unreservedly, have taken full responsibility and paid appropriate compensation.”

The Duke of Sussex filed his first claim against the Mirror Group in 2019, and he was one of several claimants who sued the publication for unlawful information gathering. He went on to testify against the publisher of Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror, The Sunday People and more at High Court earlier this summer.

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