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Wednesday 24 October 2012

Hacking In The Mirror?

While Rupe and his troops were getting that richly deserved reward for their efforts in precipitating Phonehackgate, the word was that they were all at it. The details of Operation Motorman were pored over, and the appearance of the Mail and Mirror at the top of Steve Whittamore’s charts caused some to wonder whether these titles had been as consistent in their use of the Dark Arts as the Screws.

And recently, Mark Lewis, who has acted for many who have taken action against the Murdoch empire, had given notice that cases against Trinity Mirror, owners of the Mirror titles and the People, would be brought. So the news yesterday that four cases had indeed been brought should not have come as a surprise. What may be surprising is whether Lewis can also prove the hacking.

This is because News International hired Glenn Mulcaire, who kept notes of who he was doing, the notes ended up with the Police, and they eventually bothered to follow them up. So what have they got on the Mirror titles? Well, according to the Independent, the Met have something on one of the group’s former executives, although this does not appear to specify who was being hacked.

Scotland Yard are holding evidence that a senior Mirror Group executive regularly paid a private investigations firm up to £125 a time for mobile phone numbers and private pin access codes at least two years before phone hacking became a routine practice at the News of the World”. That’s not just hacking, either: getting the PIN code, if it’s not a factory default setting, needs insider information.

So that means a seriously bent presence somewhere inside a mobile phone provider, as well as a very well connected PI. Add to that the “senior executive” and those well versed in the Dramatis Personae of Phonehackgate will be able to join the dots and fill in the names of both PI and executive. And if the names in the frame are the ones I think they are, Trinity Mirror could be in for a rough ride.

However – and there is inevitably a however with the hacking business – there has to be a connection made to prove any of these cases. If the presence of Sven-Goran Eriksson in the list is to do with the exposing of his affair with Ulrika-ka-ka-ka, Lewis is likely to come up short: as I’ve previously told, the hacking in that case was done by the Screws, and the story got out to the Mirror before they could publish.

That case is the only one of the four that involves the appalling Piers “Morgan” Moron, now one of CNN’s two top rated hosts, but at the time editor of the Daily Mirror. And in the meantime, other papers and executives should be on their guard: if that PI is the one I reckon it is, the Mirror group was not alone in using his particular brand of, shall we say, “expertise”. More titles could get dragged in.

Meanwhile, here on Zelo Street we await yet more excellent spectator sport.

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