Prince Harry evidence, day two recap: Duke chokes back tears in court - 'It's a lot'

The Duke of Sussex has given a second day of evidence in his ongoing battle against the tabloid press.

·2-min read

Prince Harry has rejected a suggestion he wants to be a phone-hacking victim and raised concerns about the level of detail in an article about his visit to a strip club, a court heard on Wednesday.

The denial came as the duke during his second and final day of evidence as part of his case against the publisher of the Daily Mirror over alleged unlawful information gathering (UIG).

Towards the end of his evidence, Harry appeared to choke back tears as he talked about the experience of giving evidence for a day and a half, saying: "It's a lot."

At one point, a lawyer for Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) accused Harry of wanting to be a phone-hacking victim and asked if he would be disappointed if he wasn't, to which Harry responded: "Nobody wants to be phone hacked."

Harry also said an article about a trip to Spearmint Rhino strip club in 2006 - headlined 'Chel shocked' -contained "very specific" information about a conversation with then girlfriend Chelsy Davy. He also said an article in 2008 concerning his withdrawal from Afghanistan was likely to have been sourced from UIG and that it had impacted his mental health.

MGN began Harry's witness box appearance yesterday by apologising to him for an article published in 2004 about his visit to a London nightclub that it accepts was the product of unlawful information gathering. MGN denies all other wrongdoing.

Read all the key updates from Harry's evidence below:

Live updates
  • Emma Mackenzie

    Court has finished for the day

    Today’s session has ended and Jane Kerr’s cross-examination will continue tomorrow, with the court sitting a little earlier at 10am.

    Here are the biggest takeaways from Prince Harry’s second day of evidence:

    Harry said his former girlfriend Chelsy Davy “has her own family and this process is as distressing for her as it is for me”. MGN's lawyer accused Harry of wanting ‘to be phone-hacked’. Harry said he “fully supports” journalists protecting legitimate anonymous sources, but that it can also be a “wonderful excuse” for someone trying to cover up UIG. At the end of his evidence, Harry got choked up when his barrister asked how he felt giving evidence in with the spotlight of global media attention on him. ‘It’s a lot,’ he replied, and seemed to be on the verge of tears.

  • Emma Mackenzie

    Chelsy Davy’s uncle ‘possible source for stories'

    During Jane Kerr’s cross-examination, David Sherborne for the claimants has asked her about two 2005 articles published by the Daily Mirror about Chelsy and Harry’s relationship.

    In her witness statement, Kerr said about the source used in these articles: “I see my draft copy refers to a possible source who is renamed as Chelsy's "pal". This was not one of my contacts. It is possible – although I cannot recall - that Mike Behr or another journalist conducted an interview, obtained a quote, and filed it to me to include in my story. It is possible this was Chelsy's uncle and that the quote was provided on the condition of anonymity, so the name was put in brackets in order to convey the source of the quote to the newsdesk to demonstrate its credibility, whilst only referring to them in copy as a ‘pal’.”

    Sherborne also asked Kerr about invoice to Mike Behr, who also, the court heard, could obtain phone billing data.

    In her witness statement Kerr said about Behr: “I didn't remember Mike Behr nor did I specifically recall the emails, but I see in the email ... that I identified him as a freelance journalist based in Cape Town.

    “We would routinely use freelance journalists or overseas news agencies when we were writing an article or seeking a reaction from another country, and their numbers would be held by the newsdesk.

    “Those journalists were most likely to have local contacts and knowledge and we would rely on them to make enquiries on our behalf. On this occasion, it would be my task to collect information from different journalists out in the field and pull it together into one article. I can see from the emails that we were trying to find out Chelsy's reaction about Prince Harry attending the party dressed in a Nazi uniform.

    “That is why I would have emailed Mike with my number because I didn't know him before. In that email I set out the story I wanted him to follow up, in particular setting out the line that was already published in a lot of papers.

    “By follow up, I mean I would have expected him to make calls to his contacts in South Africa to see if he could get Chelsy's reaction to the story. I see that I requested a payment was made to him and another freelance journalist based in Cape Town, Barbara Davies, two days later but I cannot recall if Mike Behr made any calls or filed any copy.“

    MGN's solicitors have told me that the claimants allege that the practices undertaken by Mike Behr were unlawful. I certainly had no reason to believe that to be the case. He had contacts in South Africa, and I would have expected him to make proper journalistic calls to see if he could obtain an interview.”

  • Emma Mackenzie

    ‘It’s not ambush’, Justice Fancourt pushes back on MGN objection

    Andrew Green KC, for MGN, has raised an objection over Harry's lawyer (David Sherborne) questioning former Daily Mirror royal correspondent Jane Kerr over documents that appear to show people were commissioned to look up Chelsy Davy’s flight details and other financial details.

    Green objected, claiming that these documents were only disclosed recently and that the questioning was “really an ambush, terribly unfair”.

    Mr. Justice Fancourt pushed back on this, saying: “It’s not an ambush, I imagine it’s laying the ground for a question that is coming in due course.”

    Sherborne then said that the documents had “been in the bundle since the beginning of the trial my lord” and that “these are documents that have been referred to in [a] transcript” which was read earlier in the trial.

  • Emma Mackenzie

    Former royal correspondent questioned over 7/7 victims

    David Sherborne, representing Prince Harry and the other claimants, has asked Jane Kerr about address checks she commissioned of 7/7 victims during cross-examination.

    In her witness statement, Kerr says of commissioning Commercial and Legal, “having looked up "Commercial & Legal Services UK" on Companies House online, I do recall using the services of their directors Malcolm and Jackie Scott.

    “I only knew them at the time as Malcolm and Jackie. I sometimes called Malcolm or Jackie to ask them to look up an address that was listed on the Electoral Roll.

    “Particularly while working on the news desk and when there was a big story breaking, I would be in charge of getting reporters out to various addresses and I might have been asked to call Malcolm or Jackie to get them to look up the names and addresses on the electoral roll.

    “My name might appear on the invoices because of this.”Sherborne put to Kerr that she gives the impression her use of this company was infrequent.

    “I did use them, it wasn’t every single day. I’d sometimes use them,” Kerr replied.

    Sherborne replied: “You see, Miss Kerr, you instructed them on about 900 different tasks”.

    Kerr agreed this was the case.

    “You’d accept that was rather a lot, wouldn’t you?” Sherborne asked.

    Kerr replied that one of her jobs while working on the Daily Mirror newsdesk was getting journalists to addresses.

    Sherborne then asked Kerr about various names and if she remembered them, she confirmed that she didn’t – the names were those of 7/7 victims.

    Sherborne noted this was to “doorstep” people in their “moment of grief” and went on to point out to Kerr that MGN had access to databases where addresses could be searched for free.

    The barrister for the claimants then asked Kerr about the alleged commissioning of ex-directory numbers and her use of Jonathan Stafford – a private investigator.

    Kerr said she thought if Stafford was able to provide this, she “thought it was legal”.Sherborne then asked if she thought it was appropriate to be doing address checks on the victims of a terrorist attack.

    Kerr replied that the newspaper was writing stories about the bombings, and “contacting people who were involved in that horrible event and providing detail around it so we could report it as a news story”.

  • Emma Mackenzie

    Harry seems to choke up as he completes his evidence

    Briefly, towards the end of his re-examination Harry’s barrister asked him how he felt after a day and a half of giving evidence in a trial which is under a microscope in the global press.

    "You've been sat in the witness box for over a day and a half, you've had to go through these articles and answer questions in a very public courtroom, knowing the media is watching. How has that made you feel?"

    “It’s a lot.” Harry said, as he briefly appeared to choke up.

    Mr. Justice Fancourt then asked Harry a few questions, before Harry’s evidence in this trial ended.

    Now, journalist Jane Kerr is giving evidence.

  • Emma Mackenzie

    Harry: Press has misled me my whole life

    During re-examination, Harry was asked by his own barrister about Andrew Green KC’s assertions that much of his evidence was in the “land of total speculation” in relation to an article headlined ‘Hooray Harry’s dumped’ from 2007.

    Harry responded: “For my whole life the press had misled me and covered up the wrongdoing. So to be sitting in court knowing that the defence has the evidence in front of them and Mr Green suggests that I am speculating - I am not entirely sure what to say about that.”

    Later in re-examination, when being questioned over an article from 2009 which was about a night he spent with Caroline Flack, he said that his suspicions about UIG were shared.

    “I and my whole security team - as well as my brother’s - suspected unlawful activity”.

  • Emma Mackenzie

    'It's a journalist’s job to find sources’, court hears

    During his cross-examination by Andrew Green KC, for the defendants, in the morning session, Harry said he backed the importance of journalists legitimately protecting their sources.

    His comments came after Green had questioned Harry about an article headlined ‘Davy Stated’, which included quotes from a ‘royal source’ and a ‘student’ from Chelsy’s Cape Town university.

    Green put to Harry that it was possible the information came from legitimate sources rather than being the product of UIG.

    “Would you accept that the press can and could obtain this type of information without hacking phones?” Green asked, before asking whether Harry knows royal journalist Omid Scobie, royal executive editor for Yahoo UK.

    “I know of him, yes.” Harry replied.

    Green then summarised part of Scobie’s testimony from earlier in the trial, which indicated that gaining palace sources is a crucial aspect of being a royal correspondent.

    “It’s a journalist's job to find sources, yes,” Harry said.

    Green then asked if he disputed the need for sources to sometimes remain anonymous, as Scobie had explained in his evidence, saying “presumably you wouldn’t disagree with that?”

    “No, it’s to protect sources for legitimate reasons, I fully support that,” Harry replied, before noting that anonymity of sources could still be a “wonderful excuse” for someone attempting to cover up UIG.

  • Emma Mackenzie

    Court has resumed after lunch break

    Harry's re-examination by his barrister David Sherborne has continued in the afternoon session.

    Sherborne has asked him about articles regarding his ex-girlfriend Chelsy Davy and a May 2005 article headlined 'Harry Carry' about his knee injury.

  • Emma Mackenzie

    Court has broken for lunch

    The morning session has now finished, and court will resume at 2pm, with Harry's re-examination by his barrister David Sherborne due to continue.

  • Emma Mackenzie

    Cross-examination has finished

    Prince Harry's cross-examination is complete, and David Sherborne for the claimant's has begun re-examining the Duke.

Harry court case: Read more

Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, arrives to the Royal Courts of Justice, Britain's High Court, in central London on June 6, 2023. Prince Harry is expected to take the witness stand as part of claims against a British tabloid publisher, the latest in his legal battles with the press. King Charles III's younger son will become the first senior British royal to give evidence in court for more than a century when he testifies against Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN). (Photo by Daniel LEAL / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images)
Prince Harry arrives at the Royal Courts of Justice to give evidence. (AFP/Getty Images)

MGN has said: "Where historical wrongdoing has taken place, we have made admissions, take full responsibility and apologise unreservedly, but we will vigorously defend against allegations of wrongdoing where our journalists acted lawfully."