Two reports today reveal the widening scale of the phone hacking scandal at both News International and the Trinity Mirror group.
The authoritative Inforrm blog carries a report from lawyer James Heath on a decision handed down today by Mr Justice Mann throwing out an attempt by the Mirror to strike out claims from three celebrities and a nanny to a celebrity couple that their phones were hacked.
It reports:”Shobna Gulati, the Coronation Street actress, Sven Goran-Eriksson, the former England manager, Abbie Gibson, former nanny to Victoria and David Beckham, and Garry Flitcroft, the former Captain of Blackburn Rovers, brought claims against MGN Ltd (publishers of, amongst other titles, the Daily Mirror, the Sunday Mirror and the Sunday People newspapers).
The four claims are for misuse of private information and breach of confidence arising out of the alleged interception of voicemail messages (commonly known as “phone hacking”).”
The decision means the Mirror will have defend the action at a future trial or try to settle out of court.
Trinity Mirror plc (the parent company of MGN) said after that case
“The Company has previously announced that its subsidiary company MGN Ltd had received Particulars of Claim in four civil claims alleging phone “hacking” and was challenging the basis of those claims. The Company notes that the application to strike out two of the claims has not been successful. A linked application to challenge the basis on which two other claims were made was also unsuccessful. MGN continues to contest the four claims vigorously.”
By coincidence the NI hacking trial was also dominated by allegations that the News of the World had hacked the phone of Sven Goran-Eriksson, for four years.
Martin Hickman reports on the Hacked Off website:
The paper’s private detective, Glenn Mulcaire kept notes on the Swede listing his mobile phone number and other personal details between 2002 and 2006, Mark Bryant-Heron, prosecuting, told the hacking trial.
During that time in 2004, the News of the World ran front-page stories about Eriksson’s relationship with the Football Association PA, Faria Alam, and in 2006 an undercover sting on him by the paper’s reporter Mazher Mahmood, he told the jury.
Mr Mahmood, the News of the World’s former investigative specialist, has not been charged with any offence and is not on trial.
Outlining how the paper targeted Eriksson while Mulcaire was working for the paper, Mr Bryant-Heron said police recovered two recordings in his possession of voicemails from Eriksson’s phone.
One was from an Italian footballer and a second from the Everton chairman Bill Kenwright, inquiring whether he should sign an unnamed England player. ”
The evidence and allegations about phone hacking being rife in the tabloid press continues to rise. The picture is not a pretty one.