High-profile British broadcaster Piers Morgan, the former editor of British tabloid the Daily Mirror, knew about phone hacking at the newspaper, a judge at London's High Court ruled on Friday in a lawsuit brought by Prince Harry and others.

Morgan, who now works for News Corp and has often publicly criticised Harry and his U.S. wife Meghan, has always denied any involvement in, or knowledge of, phone-hacking or other illegal or unlawful activity.

Judge Timothy Fancourt ruled on Friday that Harry had been a victim of phone-hacking and other unlawful behaviour by journalists at Mirror Group Newspapers, and said editors had been aware of what was going on.

Omid Scobie, co-author of "Finding Freedom", an unofficial 2020 biography of Harry and Meghan, had given evidence that Morgan was "reassured" over a 2002 story about singer Kylie Minogue and her then partner James Gooding after being told it had come from voicemail interception.

Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN), the publisher of the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Sunday People, questioned Scobie about his motives in giving evidence in support of Harry's case.

But Fancourt said in his written ruling on Friday that Scobie was "a straightforward and reliable witness".

"I accept what he said about Mr Morgan's involvement in the Minogue/Gooding story," the judge added. "No evidence was called by MGN to contradict it."

Morgan declined to comment on the judge's findings.

Fancourt also said in his ruling that there is "compelling evidence that the editors of each newspaper knew very well that (voicemail interception) was being used extensively and habitually and that they were happy to take the benefits of it".

The judge said editors were also happy to take the benefits of "connected and related" unlawful information gathering by MGN journalists and private investigators.

Sly Bailey – chief executive of MGN's then parent company Trinity Mirror, now known as Reach, between 2003 and 2012 – was also found to have known about the habitual use of phone-hacking and other unlawful information gathering.

Bailey gave evidence in May that she had "no knowledge of these activities" and that revelations of unlawful acts were "a matter of great regret".

However, Fancourt found that Bailey and Paul Vickers, Trinity Mirror's group legal director until 2014, "knew about – or, which amounts to the same thing, turned a blind eye to – the extensive and habitual" unlawful information gathering at MGN.

After the ruling, Harry called on regulators and the police to investigate potential criminal offences.

(Reporting by Sam Tobin and Michael Holden; Editing by Sharon Singleton)