Sky News has been criticised for hiring an Outlander star to reconstruct parts of Prince Harry’s courtroom evidence.

Each day this week, actor Laurence Dobiesz is bringing to life “significant moments” from the statements made by Harry in London’s High Court in his claim against the publisher of the Daily Mirror.

But the “bizarre editorial decision” has been criticised widely on social media as “bonkers”, “surreal” and “creepy”, while others are unconvinced by Dobiesz’s impersonation.

“This reconstruction is a really bizarre thing to do,” wrote Twitter user Phil Gomez, beneath a preview clip of Dobiesz’ portrayal shared by Sky News. “Totally unnecessary.”

“This is so unbelievably cringe,” wrote Juliet Robinson. “I have second hand embarrassment watching even a minute of it. A transcript would’ve sufficed”.

Many others criticised the quality of Dobiesz’ performance - which they compared to “community theatre” - and his likeness to Prince Harry.

“I love how they have ‘Reconstruction’ in the top corner in case people think this is actually Prince Harry,” wrote comedian Michael Fry.

Sky News broadcaster Jonathan Samuels is presenting the special, titled Harry In Court, at 9pm each night, with Dobiesz voicing evidence given by the duke.

The actor has previously appeared in historical drama Outlander as well as 2011’s Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows which starred Robert Downey Jr.

Sky News’s executive editor and managing director Jonathan Levy has said the reconstruction will “offer viewers an accurate and fair representation of what is said and a better understanding of how the case unfolds” as no cameras or recording are allowed in the courtroom.

“Sky News has a long tradition of reconstructing off-camera proceedings, with our re-enactment of the Michael Jackson trial in 2005 and Hutton Inquiry in 2003,” he added.

The Duke of Sussex, 38, is suing Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) for damages, claiming journalists at its titles – which also include the Sunday Mirror and Sunday People – were linked to methods including phone hacking, so-called “blagging” or gaining information by deception, and use of private investigators for unlawful activities.

MGN is contesting his claim and has either denied or not admitted that articles about Harry being examined at the trial involved phone hacking or unlawful activity.

On Tuesday, Harry faced nearly five hours of questions from a barrister for MGN as he became the first senior royal in more than two decades to personally appear in court proceedings.

His claim is being heard alongside three other “representative” claims during a trial which began last month and is due to last six to seven weeks.

The three other representative claimants are Coronation Street actor Michael Turner, known professionally as Michael Le Vell, who is best known for playing Kevin Webster in the long-running soap, former Coronation Street actress Nikki Sanderson and comedian Paul Whitehouse’s ex-wife Fiona Wightman.

Broadcaster GB News also featured its own reconstruction of court room proceedings, following the first day of Harry’s evidence.

A clip posted online showed an unnamed white actor with ginger hair in a mocked up court room setting, answering questions from another actor, dressed as a barrister.

Read our latest coverage of the Duke of Sussex’ High Court case here.

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2023-06-06T20:36:19Z dg43tfdfdgfd