I’m not the first person to settle a phone hacking case against a British newspaper. I’m glad to be able to donate the entire sum of the damages to the Hacked Off Campaign, but what distinguishes this case is that I was determined to get further clarity about the extent of concealment at high level within Mirror Group Newspapers, and I’m glad that they have now admitted in a Statement in Open Court that –
a number of its senior employees, including executives, editors and journalists, condoned, encouraged or actively turned a blind eye to the widespread culture of unlawful information-gathering activities at all three of its newspapers for many years and actively sought to conceal its wrongdoing from its many victims of intrusion.
its repeated and prolonged intrusions into innocent people’s lives over, in some instances, a decade, could have been prevented or interrupted. Instead, Trinity Mirror failed to properly investigate these disgraceful actions and/or to act sufficiently when the allegations of MGN’s journalists’ unlawful activities were first alleged and publicly emerged in 2006 and when the first inquiries into these wrongdoings were made.
This litigation has made clear that phone-hacking and other unlawful information-gathering took place on an industrial scale at the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Sunday People, under the editorships of Piers Morgan, Richard Wallace (both Daily Mirror), Tina Weaver (Sunday Mirror), Neil Wallis, Mark Thomas and James Scott (all People).
It is clear from the evidence in this litigation so far that Ms Weaver, and Messrs Wallace, Thomas and Scott were all phone-hackers themselves, and that either Piers Morgan and Neil Wallis were so incompetent as to not to know the real source of scores of exclusives that they published, or they were complicit in the criminal conduct.
This newspaper group has misled the public and its shareholders for many years; and it has let down its readers and its hard-working journalists. Those journalists have paid the price for the wrongdoing of executives who have left with large pay-offs and share options.
Here we have a Public Limited Company whose executives concealed 10 years of criminality.
The public were not told the truth, the victims were not told the truth, the shareholders were not told the truth and the Leveson inquiry was not told the truth. That is why the second part of the Leveson Inquiry must now take place . This second inquiry was promised by a previous Conservative Government and is now being disgracefully delayed by a Prime Minister who takes her orders from the same newspaper groups who admitted culpability today.
I am grateful to my lawyer, Anjlee Saigol, of Taylor Hampton.
NOTE: The Statement in Open Court is available here.