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From the Eye archives
Phone Hacking At The screws
Issue 1245, 15th September 2009
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The Dirty Digger, whose executives knew nothing about systematic phone hacking
‘Injunctive proceedings’
Lewis told MPs that News International had now threatened injunctions to stop him acting for other clients who want to sue over voicemail hacking – including PR man Max Clifford, whose phone was hacked by private investigator Glenn “Trigger” Mulcaire. He gave the committee a copy of a letter, dated 11 August, from Julian Pike of Farrer & Co, the Dirty Digger’s solicitors.

“We refute [sic] any suggestion that you are able to act for Mr Clifford either now or in the future or any other would-be claimant in respect of voicemail accessing allegations… You personally were party to confidential information… which you are obliged not to disclose. Were you to act for any other would-be claimant in respect of the voicemail accessing allegations, at the very least there is an undoubted risk that the confidential information would be put to use… It goes without saying that our client will object to your involvement in this or any other related case as against our client for the reasons set out above. We reserve our client’s rights to take injunctive proceedings against you should you choose to disregard the matters contained in this letter.”

Just one rogue reporter…
When Lewis was asked by the committee what he understood this letter to be saying, he replied: "You know too much. Don’t act against us or we will bring the whole weight of the organisation against you.” The chairman asked Lewis on what possible legal basis NI could injunct him. “On the basis that I won,” he said, “and my client got a lot of money.”

All this is very odd in light of the repeated assertions by Murdoch executives that they had nothing to do with systematic phone hacking, which was all the work of just one rogue reporter and an overactive private investigator. Why so jumpy?

More top stories in the latest issue:

CURIOUS COVERAGE…
As Clodagh Hartley is cleared of paying public officials, the Sun calls her a “Top reporter” – not how she’s described her unhappy time at the paper.

… AND A CURIOUS COINCIDENCE
How the Sun’s decision to label ex-contributor Russell Brand a hypocrite follows a legal spat in which it had to pay him ‘substantial damages’.

TONGUE-TIED PRESCOTT
Well-paid Sunday Mirror columnist John Prescott, usually so vociferous about press failings, has nowt to say about events at his current employer.

HAPPY CHRISTMAS FROM THE MAIL
Diarist James Hughes-Onslow is sacked after complaining too loudly about the Mail spiking his story following a threat from Labour’s Emily Thornberry.

THE MELLOR-ON-SUNDAY
The foul-mouthed tirade of ex-Tory MP turned Mail on Sunday music critic David Mellor proves to be music to the ears of the rival Daily Mail.

HEAVEN SCENT OPPORTUNITY
Mail columnist Sarah Vine gives a handy pre-Christmas namecheck to Chanel – as does the beauty website Get the Gloss (co-founder: er, S. Vine).

WILL IT ALL BE OVER BY CHRISTMAS?
There’s widespread belief at the Telegraph that ‘chief content officer’ Jason Seiken and his wrecking ball will both be gone by Christmas.

private eye issue 1381
To read more from issue 1245 you can order a copy from our archive of back issues here.
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