Paul Vickers is now being questioned over stories in the Mirror which alleged Prince Michael of Kent was millions of pounds in debt and had an unauthorised £220,000 overdraft.
The stories revealed confidential details of the royal’s bank account, barrister David Sherborne says.
He asks whether there would have been any discussions at board level about running a story like that, to which Mr Vickers says “not in advance”.
Mr Sherborne then asks whether senior in-house lawyers would have had to sign off.
Mr Vickers says the story was from 1999 and he can’t remember what the internal procedures were at the time, although he acknowledges the editor would likely have wanted to know what the source of the story was.
Following the story, Prince Michael had put in a complaint and the company agreed to pay the royal’s legal costs.
Mr Vickers says in his witness statement that he does not recall having any “direct involvement” with Prince Michael’s complaint or its resolution.
“I did however approve the payment in respect of Prince Michael’s solicitors’ legal costs following resolution of the PCC complaint – as appears from a document I was shown by RPC when MGN was preparing its defence to these allegations,” the statement says.
Mr Sherborne presses him on this, suggesting that he would have needed to look into the claim before signing it off.
Mr Vickers says that if someone with more knowledge of the case or the editor had told him they didn’t want to continue fighting it, he would not go against their judgement.
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