Phone Hacking at the Mirror in 1998: Read Paddy French’s Scoop and Pre-buy his Piers Morgan Biography

Over at Byline, veteran investigative reporter Paddy French has an exclusive which concludes the Mirror Group, and by implication Piers Morgan, knew about phone hacking well before it became standard practice by Glenn Mulcaire at News of the World.  Below is just an excerpt from the full damning in depth piece.

But this is just a taster. Paddy is pitching on Byline a full unauthorised biography of Piers Morgan:

Morgan is one of the most important members of the cast of the phone hacking scandal. He was the first of a long line of Murdoch editors forged in the crucible of the Sun’s show business column “Bizarre”. One of his proteges was Andy Coulson.

Morgan was singled out by Sun editor Kelvin Mackenzie as a future editor and it was his patronage that led to his appointment as News of the World editor at the age of 29. There Morgan singled out a young reporter and promoted her to Features Editor: her name was Rebekah Brooks. Morgan was destined to edit the Sun but when Daily Mirror boss David Montgomery — a former News of the World editor — offered him the editorship of the Mirror, Morgan accepted.

By 2003, the troika of Morgan (Mirror), Coulson (News of the World) and Brooks (The Sun) had an iron grip on Britain’s tabloids. Morgan was at the Mirror for nearly ten years — a decade that saw the paper embrace the “dark arts” of illegal news-gathering.

The plan is to produce a readable, balanced picture of a talented but flawed individual.

I’m a retired television producer so I don’t need to be paid for my time.

But researching, writing and publishing a book as ambitious as this one does not come cheap, especially since it needs to be read for libel.

I hope you will support the venture.

For a taster of the article, more below

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Mulcaire, Miskiw, Mahmood and the Special Investigations Unit set up by Rebekah Brooks at News of the World

Before Panorama airs at 7.30 tonight, after two delays, it might be worth looking at the background of MazHer Mahmood, aka the Fake Sheikh, at News of the World under the editorship of Rebekah Brooks, from early 2000 to early 2003.

Mahmood’s activities in the decade leading up to this have been covered in  a previous post about his connections with Southern Investigations. But the problems with that notorious private investigations firm, due to police inquiries and arrests of key personnel around this time, may explain what happened next.

Investigations were taken in house.

One of the first things Brooks did as editor of Britain’s best selling paper was to recall Greg Miskiw from New York, where he had set up office, and form an Investigations Team that worked outside both the Features and News Desk. From various bits of evidence show the floating membership from 2000 onwards to consist of:

Greg Miskiw – head
Neville Thurlbeck – reporter
Sarah Arnold – reporter
Paul McMullan – reporter
Glenn Mulcaire (as reported by Geoff Sweet in the sports pages)
Mazher Mahmood – undercover reporter
Bradley Page – photographer who replaced his father in law Steve Grayson
Conrad Brown – technical and surveillance

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The Hacking Trial Costs Issue – News UK withdraw their claim for millions: Saunders’ Memo

Back in June, when Rebekah Brooks, Stuart Kuttner, Cheryl Carter and Mark Hanna were all acquitted at the phone hacking trial, their barristers made it clear they would be applying (as is their right) for a refund of their court costs. Already, at this point, it was clear that News UK would have to be party to these hearings on costs, since they had indemnified all the cleared defendants bar Charlie Brooks. The initial quantum for that claim was reported to be £25 million in legal costs. This was reduced two weeks ago to £7 million by the Crown Prosecution Service on the basis of equivalent legal aid, rather than private, legal costings.  Continue reading

Mr Justice Saunders’ Sentencing Remarks for Dan Evans

The final edition of News of the World, publis...

The final edition of News of the World, published on 10 July 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

R-v-Daniel Evans

Sentencing Remarks

For more of the untold background to the hacking trial, pre-order a bespoke named edition of ‘Beyond Contempt’, in the next 10 days. E-book due imminently. And you can also come to the launch party in Mid September

1. Daniel Evans is to be sentenced on 4 counts. He worked as a reporter at the Sunday Mirror from 2003 to 2005 and then at the News of the World from 2005 until 2011 when the paper closed. He has admitted phone hacking to get stories at both newspapers. His phone hacking activities at the News of the World stopped almost entirely in August 2006 when Clive Goodman was arrested. In 2009 he did hack the phone of Kelly Hoppen which led to her taking out a civil action. In those proceedings he made a statement denying hacking Kelly Hoppen’s phone. That was a lie as he has admitted. That is count 4 on the indictment. He has also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office (count 3) by paying a prison officer to provide information about Ian Huntley and paying a police officer for information about a celebrity. In September 2010 the New York Times revealed his phone hacking activities and he was suspended by the News of the World and remained suspended until the paper closed.

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Hacking Trial Live Tweets – 1 July

Tuesday 1 July 2014

Summary
Mitigation Pleas Continue
Timothy Langdale QC pleads Mitigation for Andy Coulson
Witness for Andy Coulson – Matthew D’Ancona (Spectator Journalist)
The Prosecution reply to Coulson’s Mitigation
Application for Costs
News UK apply for costs
Comments from Peter Jukes
Peter Jukes reflects on Live Tweeting

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Hacking Trial Live Tweets – 30 June

Monday 30 June 2014

Summary
Mitigation Pleas
The Court hears mitigation pleas from those guilty of Phone Hacking
Andrew Edis QC presents the case for the Crown
Gavin Millar QC pleads mitigation for Gen Mulcaire
Trevor Burke QC pleads mitigation for Greg Miskiw
Hugh Davis QC pleads mitigation for Neville Thurlbeck
Charles Bott QC pleads mitigation for James Weatherup
Andy Coulson’s mitigation plea will be tomorrow

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How the Prime Minister nearly derailed the Hacking Trial

Yesterdays intervention by David Cameron after the guilty verdict for Coulson on Count One of phone hacking nearly derailed the whole trial. As soon as the verdict was in Coulson”s QC, Timothy Langdale, called the Attorney General to warn him any comments could be in contempt of court, because the jury were still deliberating on two more counts.

The Attorney General was with the Prime Minister at the time, but told him that Cameron had already filmed his apology, and it was too late to stop the statement going out. This morning both counsel for Goodman and Coulson applied to discharge the current jury because of the prejudicial comment about separate facts that were not in evidence.

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