UK paper group bids to throw out Prince Harry and others' privacy lawsuits

LONDON (Reuters) - The publisher of Britain's Daily Mail newspaper is applying to dismiss lawsuits brought by Prince Harry, singer Elton John and other individuals alleging phone-tapping and other breaches of privacy.

Associated Newspapers, publisher of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday and MailOnline, has applied to London's High Court for the lawsuits – which were launched in October – to be thrown out without a trial, according to court documents.

Those bringing the action also include the actresses Elizabeth Hurley and Sadie Frost, Elton John's husband and filmmaker David Furnish, and Doreen Lawrence, the mother of Black teenager Stephen Lawrence who was murdered in a racist attack in 1993.

Their lawyers said in a statement in October that the individuals had become aware of "highly distressing" evidence revealing they had been victims of breaches of privacy by Associated Newspapers, including phone-tapping and bugging people's cars and homes.

Associated Newspapers said in response that it "utterly and unambiguously" denied the allegations, which it described as "preposterous smears".

Its application to end the litigation on the basis that the claims were brought out of time is due to be heard in late March or early April. A spokesperson for the publisher did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The law firm representing the people bringing the case also did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

The action is one of an number of legal cases that Prince Harry is currently bringing against British newspapers. In his memoir "Spare" released this week and in accompanying TV interviews, he has also accused other royals of leaking stories about him and his wife Meghan to tabloid newspapers.

(Reporting by Sam Tobin; Editing by Alex Richardson)