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U.K. minister allows Prince Harry to use inquiry details in lawsuit

Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, smiles after making a joke in Vancouver on Friday, Feb. 16, 2024 THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ethan Cairns Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, smiles after making a joke in Vancouver on Friday, Feb. 16, 2024 THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ethan Cairns
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LONDON -

Britain's media minister said on Friday she had agreed to allow documents submitted to a public inquiry to be used by lawyers acting for Prince Harry, singer Elton John and other claimants in their lawsuit against the publisher of the Daily Mail.

Harry, the younger son of King Charles, and the other six claimants were permitted in December to take to trial their case against Associated Newspapers over allegations phone-hacking and other serious privacy breaches dating back 30 years. The publisher rejects the accusations.

However, the judge had said that without the government's permission, they could not rely on ledgers recording payments by ANL to private investigators, which were disclosed to a public inquiry into press standards that ended in 2012.

On Friday, Minister Lucy Frazer said in a statement it had been agreed to allow these documents to be disclosed.

"We do not consider that it is necessary in the public interest to withhold these documents from any disclosure or publication," she said.

They would be released solely for the purposes of this case, she said.

"This decision makes no comment on the merits of the proceedings, which is wholly a matter for the courts to determine."

The ANL case is one of a number of lawsuits Harry has been involved in at the High Court in London.

Earlier this week, he lost a legal challenge against the British government's decision to take away his police protection when he is in Britain, a ruling he said he would appeal amid media reports he faced a legal bill of about 1 million pounds (US$1.26 million).

He has successfully sued Mirror Group Newspapers over claims of phone-hacking and other unlawful activities and is also suing News Corp's News Group Newspapers over claims of "blagging" confidential details about him and using other unlawful invasions of privacy.

(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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