The editor of the Daily Mirror has told the Leveson Inquiry that phone-hacking “might well have” taken place when he was the paper’s showbiz editor without his knowledge.
Richard Wallace, who has edited the tabloid since 2004, also insisted that there were “significant positives” in tabloid journalism and that he was confident that reporters who worked at the newspaper acted within the code of practice.
- November 21, 2019
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Counsel to the inquiry David Barr asked Wallace if he knew about hacking at the paper. “Not to my knowledge,” replied Wallace.
Barr asked if it might have occurred without his knowledge. “It might well have,” said Wallace.
He said it was possible that a story the newspaper ran about Sven Goran Eriksson’s affair with Ulrika Jonsson in 2002 might have come from the interception of voicemail messages.
Wallace, who has worked at the paper for more than two decades, said it was “possible” that the source of the story could have been a hacked message.
Piers Morgan, who was editor of the paper at the time, flatly denied intercepting Jonsson’s messages when he appeared before the inquiry.
Tina Weaver: “no guarantee” hacking didn’t happen
The inquiry, which is hearing today from executives from Trinity Mirror, which publishes five national newspapers and more than 160 regional papers, also heard evidence from Sunday Mirror editor Tina Weaver.
Weaver said she was not aware of phone hacking at her newspaper but there was no guarantee that it had not occurred.
Weaver was asked about a BBC article which claimed there was routine phone hacking in the newsroom of the Sunday Mirror. She said her organisation was “not happy” about the story which contained “anonymous allegations from seven years ago”.
Barr asked her whether it was her position that there was “no guarantee” that phone hacking had not occurred at the newspaper. She replied: “That is correct.”
Both editors were asked about the validation of sources.
Wallace was questioned about a court report written by the Press Association in 2009 in which the wrong man was identified as being guilty of downloading child pornography.
Wallace told the inquiry that the article was a “straightforward mistake” adding: “We received a court report from the Press Association, which is a reputable agency with a reputation around the world, and their report made a mistake.”
The inquiry was also read a letter by lawyers acting on behalf of former prime minister Gordon Brown.
Brown said that evidence given by former Sun editor Kelvin Mackenzie, who claimed the former premier threatened to “destroy” News International during a phone call to Rupert Murdoch after the tabloid switched it’s political allegiance from Labour to the Conservatives, was “untrue”.
“The story is completely untrue,” the letter said.
“It is important that it does not become accepted as fact.”
More to follow