Tag Archives: private detective

Daily Mirror publisher faces ‘three to four’ phone-hacking cases, says lawyer

Announcing the launch of an internal review of editorial controls and practices last week, Trinity Mirror, publisher of the Daily Mirror, was keen to stress that the review was not connected to recent phone-hacking allegations levelled against its tabloid.

The publisher issued a statement in response to the claims that the Mirror was implicated in the use of the so-called dark arts, calling them “totally unsubstantiated”.

But allegations concerning the paper have since mounted. Lawyer Mark Lewis, who has represented a number of celebrities in phone-hacking suits against News International, said in yesterday’s Sunday Times that the Mirror is facing “about three or four cases which will start within the next few weeks”.

Another report, in the Independent on Sunday, claims that “top investors” in Trinity Mirror, undoubtedly concerned by the steep share-price drop the company saw last week, “want to know more” and have quizzed chief executive Sly Bailey.

Former Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan, who was fired by Bailey in 2004, has come under scrutiny as the spotlight shifts from News International to Trinity Mirror, although he denies any knowledge of criminality at the Mirror during his time there. Conservative MP Louise Mensch was forced to apologise to Morgan in parliament last week, after incorrectly stating he had admitted being aware of phone hacking at the tabloid.

Citing evidence collected by the Information Commissioner’s Operation Motorman report, blogger Guido Fawkes has alleged that Morgan signed off on £442,000-worth of invoices submitted to the paper by a private detective. It is important to note, however, that the use of a private detective does not necessarily involve any criminality.

According to a report in yesterday’s (31 July) Sunday Telegraph, Trinity Mirror is planning to increase its cost-cutting target for the year from £15 million to £25 million, triggering further job losses.

The company is due to publish its annual financial results on 11 August.

BBC: ‘We do use private detectives occasionally and exceptionally but never illegally’

The BBC’s director of editorial policy and standards David Jordan this week revealed that the broadcaster does use private detectives “occasionally and exceptionally” to help with programmes, but stressed that it is not aware of any BBC programme ever having commissioned a private detective to carry out illegal activity.

His comments on the BBC Editors blog followed this interview in the Sun this week, in which a private detective who was featured in Tabloid Hacks Exposed on Panorama this week, reportedly claimed he had previously worked as an inquiry agent for the documentary series.

In a statement, published here by Jon Slattery, the BBC responded to say it had searched archives dating back 25 years and can find no record of the programme described ever being broadcast.

Seeking to clarify the BBC’s stance Jordan said the broadcaster has used private detectives in some cases, such as for consumer programmes which aim to expose “rogues” and wrongdoing.

We might employ third parties to carry out the necessary surveillance to find out where they are and where they might be approached and, on occasion, to obtain a photograph of them. Usually we track down individuals we want to speak to ourselves. But in very hard cases we might employ the specialist skills of a private detective to help us find someone.

He added that the editorial guidelines are clear: intrusions into privacy need a strong public interest justification.

Suggestions that the BBC might use private investigators for political stories are wide of the mark and those who are “genuinely surprised the BBC used private investigators to stand up stories” should remain surprised. The BBC validates and stands up its own journalism wherever facts and information come from.