Mishcon re Reya wrote to Thurlbeck after he published a blog post alleging that Lewis had engaged a private security firm amid resentment at News International over the recent arrests of Sun journalists.
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Former Telegraph editor Lewis is a leading member of the News Corp management and standards committee which has passed on information to the Met Police leading to the arrests of 11 Sun journalists as part of a bribes inquiry. All are currently on police bail and have yet to be charged with anything.
According to Thurlbeck, Lewis engaged a company called Quantum Security to improve security at his north London home. The blog also made other claims about Lewis and the MSC which Mishcon de Reya said were libellous.
Mishcon de Reya are understood to have claimed that by publishing the road name of his north London home the article had invaded his privacy. They also said that detail in the story – including the fact that Quantum Security had spent several hours examining the inside and outside of the Lewis family home – suggested that Thurlbeck had placed the property under surveillance.
Thurlbeck responded to the legal letter by taking the story down and then publishing a new edited version which remains live.
Writing on his blog today, Thurlbeck said the claim that he had been watching the Lewis home was “bonkers” and said the story – which has been followed up by Reuters – came from “a very good source…one which is surprisingly close” to Lewis.
He said he accepted that printing the name of the street Lewis lived on was “distressing to his family” and said he taken that detail down immediately because he had “absolutely no wish to do this”.
He added: “Will Lewis however, has not afforded the same courtesy to staff at News International. He handed their addresses to the police on a plate so their homes could be raided at dawn and their wives ordered out of bed.
“So he must expect more than a little scrutiny as he performs his controversial duties which are deeply repellent to all journalists and unprecedented in the media industry.”
News Corp declined to comment.
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