The News of the World’s solicitors, Farrer & Co, are writing to the INS news agency of Reading accusing it of breach of faith and contractual obligation in passing on an exclusive picture to the Sunday Mirror.
The NoW claims the picture of suspected terrorist Lotfi Raissi’s mother, holding a photograph of him at the controls of an aeroplane, was exclusive to them and they had commissioned INS to take it.
Raissi faces extradition to the US on conspiracy for murder charges in connection with the plane crashes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. A UK court has been told he taught four of the terrorists to fly.
NoW assistant editor (news) Greg Miskiw said the paper’s reporter, Amanda Evans, had followed up an exclusive tip and got into the home of Raissi’s brother. Evans persuaded his mother to pose with the photograph.
"Then, to our astonishment, we saw our exclusive picture in the first edition of the Sunday Mirror," said Miskiw.
Subsequent investigations made clear that INS had passed on the picture, alleged Miskiw.
"There were only four people in the room, the mother, Mohamed Raissi, Amanda and the INS photographer," he said. "The family are absolutely adamant they spoke to no one else.
"It’s an important principle that should be held because exclusivity is the lifeblood of Sunday newspapers."
Neil Hyde, editor of INS, said: "The NoW has not made us aware of any problems. We are therefore unable to provide a response to your story."
By Jean Morgan