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  1. Media Law
October 23, 2012

Trinity Mirror faces four phone-hacking cases at the High Court

By Press Gazette

Four people are taking action against the publishers of the Daily Mirror over alleged phone hacking, it has emerged.

Media lawyer Mark Lewis said he was acting for all four claimants – former England football manager Sven-Goran Eriksson, Coronation Street actress Shobna Gulati, Abbie Gibson, a former nanny for the Beckham family, and Garry Flitcroft, the former captain of Blackburn Rovers football team.

The allegations related to newspapers in the Mirror Group Newspapers stable – the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and The People, he said.

The claims allege breach of confidence and misuse of private information relating to the interception and/or misuse of mobile phone voicemail messages and/or the interception of telephone accounts.

It is thought to be the first time that actions over alleged phone hacking have been launched against newspapers outside Rupert Murdoch's News International.

A Trinity Mirror spokesperson said: "We have no comment, we are unaware action has been taken at the high court."

In the past the company has responded to questions about phone-hacking by saying that “our journalists work within the criminal law and the PCC code of conduct”.

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In July 2011, The Daily Mirror was accused of using phone-hacking to land its 2002 award-winning scoop on Sven Goran Eriksson's affair with Ulrika Jonsson.

Former editor of the Daily Mirror, Richard Wallace, told the Leveson Inquiry that phone-hacking "might well have" taken place when he was the paper's showbiz editor without his knowledge.

Counsel to the inquiry David Barr asked Wallace if he knew about hacking at the paper, with Wallace replying: "Not to my knowledge."

When asked if it might have occurred without his knowledge, Wallace said: "It might well have."

He also 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.

But Piers Morgan, who was editor of the paper at the time, flatly denied intercepting Jonsson's messages when he appeared before the inquiry.

Former Sunday Mirror editor Tina Weaver said she was not aware of phone-hacking at her newspaper but there was no guarantee that it had not occurred.

Mark Lewis first revealed plans to pursue the four civil claims back in August 2011.

In July, Trinity Mirror launched a review of its editorial controls and procedures in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal that triggered the closure of the News of the World.

Reuters is reporting that shares in Trinity fell 12 percent in early trading this morning in response to news of the four cases filed at the High Court, falling to 63p.

UPDATE 12.02pm 23/10/12

Trinity has released the following statement: "We note the allegations made against us by Mark Lewis in today's papers.

 "We have not yet received any claims nor have we been provided with any substantiation for those claims.

 "As we have previously stated, all our journalists work within the criminal law and the Press Complaints Commission Code of Conduct."

 

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