Tuesday, 21 May 2024

No evidence of voicemail interception in the four claims, says publisher

Four people, including Prince Harry, are bringing claims against MGN Ltd over allegations about the Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Sunday People.

Coronation Street actors Nikki Sanderson and Michael Le Vell and comedian Paul Whitehouse’s ex-wife Fiona Wightman are also named as “representative” cases.

Allegations include voicemail interception, securing information through deception and ­hiring private investigators for unlawful activities.

On the second day of the case today, Andrew Green KC, for MGN, said the four people have made “extraordinarily wide claims” about voicemail interception and unlawful information gathering.

He added: “The claimants now seek to make sweeping allegations of unlawful information gathering against a vast number of third party suppliers, private ­investigators or otherwise.

“Despite the obvious seriousness of these allegations, and the range of third parties against whom they are made, the claimants have served barely any evidence to support them.”

Earlier, David Sherborne, representing the four, discussed an article which claimed Prince Michael of Kent was in debt to a bank, on the front page of the Daily Mirror in January 1999.

Mr Sherborne said the article claimed Prince Michael – the late Queen’s cousin – owed more than £2.5million to Coutts & Co.

He said: “The story had been published with sufficient ­confidence in the face of a denial from Prince Michael.”

MGN settled Prince Michael’s claim, Mr Sherborne said.

An MGN spokesman said: “Where historical wrongdoing has taken place we have made admissions, take full responsibility and apologise unreservedly, but we will vigorously defend against allegations of wrongdoing where our ­journalists acted lawfully.

“MGN is now part of a very different company. We are committed to acting with integrity.

“Our objective in this trial is to allow both the business and our journalists to move forward from events that took place many years ago.”

The trial continues.

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