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Tuesday 3 October 2017

Piers Morgan - More Hacking Trouble

[Update at end of post]

When it comes to the potential involvement of former Screws and Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan in the phone hacking that undoubtedly went on at the Mirror titles at the same time that the Murdoch press was also at it, this blog has always maintained a consistent line: let’s see the evidence. Back in 2011, the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog had none, and their lack of research proved their undoing.
More uncomfortable news for You Know Who

But that was then and this is now: today at the High Court of Justice, writer, actor and campaigner Steve Coogan revealed that his case against the Mirror titles for damages, as a result of persistent and organised phone hacking of his voicemail, had been settled in his favour. He will receive what is described as “a six-figure sum”, as well as settlement of his legal costs. A joint statement has been read out in open court.

As part of that statement, Trinity Mirror Group (TMG) has conceded that there was a long-standing cover-up of extensive and long-lasting hacking and other unlawful intrusions. Coogan identified 62 articles that he alleges are likely to have been produced by use of voicemail hacking. Moreover, as the joint statement makes plain, “Much of what was published caused enormous distress and significant damage to Mr Coogan’s relationships with those he wrongly suspected had leaked private information or who believed he was the cause of their private information being made public”.

Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) “acknowledges that Mr Coogan was the target of unlawful activities and that these activities were concealed until years later … MGN apologises to Mr Coogan and accepts that he and other victims should not have been denied the truth for so long”. But it was Coogan’s statement outside court that will cause the greatest discomfort to those in the editor’s chair all those years ago.

He was prepared to name and condemn the editors of the Mirror titles at the time the hacking of his voicemail occurred, and the executives who he says covered it up for so long. Those editors include Piers Morgan. Who has consistently told anyone listening that he knew nothing about a practice that was, we now know, rife at the paper he ran.
Indeed, Morgan was known to be very much a “hands-on” editor. Those with knowledge of the hacking that went on at the Mirror titles have expressed disbelief that he could have approved so many stories produced, or stood up, using hacked information without knowing what was going on. As a result of this case, Coogan had one more point.

That was that, especially as the Mirror titles had apparently failed to investigate phone hacking properly at the time, and that more than one deponent gave, shall we say, incomplete or misleading information before Lord Justice Leveson, the case for Part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry is reinforced by today’s court appearance.

Coogan also demanded that the Leveson inquiry look into whether there was perjury at the first part of the Inquiry. This, too, may lead back to Morgan.

Piers Morgan may be totally innocent of any wrongdoing. But then again, he may not.

[UPDATE 1450 hours: Steve Coogan's words outside the court earlier today bear some examination in more detail, especially his willingness to name names. Here's what he said.

"Journalists at all three [TMG] papers – The Daily Mirror, the Sunday Mirror and the People – under successive editors hacked the phones of thousands of people – not just celebrities and public figures but their families and people who just happened to be in the news ... The way they behaved is a disgrace to the record of what was a fine newspaper publisher and an insult to the memory of Hugh Cudlipp.  Covering-up the wrong-doing to stop the truth coming out is even worse".

And then he named those he believes should face further attention. "It is my view that editors and executives such as Sly Bailey, Piers Morgan, Paul Vickers, Tina Weaver and Richard Wallace have not yet been subjected to proper scrutiny ... The second part of the Leveson Inquiry must find out who was hacked, who knew about it, and who covered it up or turned a blind eye.  The Leveson Inquiry must be completed now as the Government has promised".

As Evan Harris of campaigning group Hacked Off added, "We know that hacking at Mirror newspapers took place on an industrial scale as a matter of course for any individual – including countless non-celebrities – who was in the news throughout the noughties, and yet, no Mirror editor has ever faced sanction for the illegality committed under their leadership".

That gives you a clue as to why the encounter on the ITV Good Morning Britain sofa between Harris and Morgan was so uncomfortable for The Great Man, and why the former Daily Mirror editor was on a hair trigger when Harris mentioned phone hacking.

The comments of our free and fearless press are eagerly awaited. But, as Zelo Street regulars will know, we'll be waiting a long time, because most of them will sit tight and keep schtum]


Neil said...

Should he ever be convicted and the tortuous path to the truth finally revealed in a book may I suggest as a working title, 'The Road To Earwigging Piers'.

Anonymous said...

Proof, if it was needed, that if "journalists" are whores, their editors are pimps.

That applies whether the medium is print or broadcast or social media.

Anybody who committed perjury in this matter should spend a lot of time behind bars. As should those who peddle racism and hatred.

Yes, I'm especially looking at you, Murdoch/Rothermere whores and pimps.

Anonymous said...

The Las Vegas massacre has given him the opportunity to say look over there and feature in two Daily Mail articles about gun laws.

Stephen said...

Anonymous - you're being unfair on sex workers, there.