Piers Morgan issues phone-hacking denial after UK High Court ruling

Piers Morgan Issues Phone-Hacking Denial After Uk High Court Ruling
Piers Morgan outside his home, © PA Wire/PA Images
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By Tom Pilgrim, PA

Former Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan has said he “never hacked a phone or told anyone else to hack a phone”, after a UK High Court judge accepted evidence that he knew journalists were involved in the practice.

Speaking outside his home in London on Friday, the broadcaster said he had “zero knowledge” of an article about Britain's Prince Harry published in his time as editor which may have involved unlawful information gathering.


His comments came after a ruling over phone-hacking claims brought against the newspaper’s publisher, Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN).

Mr Justice Fancourt concluded that “there can be no doubt” that editors of MGN’s titles knew about voicemail interception, but did not tell the company’s board or chief executive about it.



Mr Morgan was The Daily Mirror’s editor between 1995 and 2004.

The judge ruled that unlawful information-gathering was “widespread” at MGN publications The Daily Mirror, The Sunday Mirror and The People from 1996 onwards, and phone hacking became “habitual” from 1998.

The judge’s findings came after a trial of cases brought against the publisher, including a partially successful claim by the Duke of Sussex.


Mr Morgan said of the article about Harry: “I had then and still have zero knowledge of how that particular story was gathered.

“I also want to reiterate, as I’ve consistently said for many years now, I’ve never hacked a phone or told anyone else to and nobody has provided any actual evidence to prove that I did.”

The TalkTV host described those giving evidence in the Duke of Sussex’s High Court case as “old foes of mine with an axe to grind”, singling out author Omid Scobie and journalist Alastair Campbell.



He said he was not called as a witness for the trial earlier this year, nor asked to provide a statement, which he “would have very happily agreed to do”.

“Nor did I have a single conversation with any of the Mirror Group lawyers throughout the entire legal process,” Mr Morgan said.


“So I wasn’t able to respond to the many false allegations that were spewed about me in court by old foes of mine with an axe to grind, most of which, inexplicably, were not even challenged in my absence by the Mirror Group counsel.”

In his ruling, Mr Justice Fancourt said he accepted the evidence of royal biographer Mr Scobie, who told the trial earlier this year that Mr Morgan was told about a use of phone hacking.

The court previously heard that Mr Scobie did work experience at The Daily Mirror in spring 2002, and overheard Mr Morgan being told that information relating to Kylie Minogue and her then-boyfriend James Gooding had come from voicemails.

In his judgment, the judge said an article about them in May 2002 carried the byline of James Scott “who was one of the showbiz journalists and a known phone hacker”.

The judge added that there was a £170 invoice from private investigator firm TDI to Mr Scott from earlier that month, for “extensive inquiries carried out on your behalf”, and the mobile telephone numbers of both people were in Mr Scott’s PalmPilot.

“These documents bear out Mr Scobie’s recollection,” the judge said.

He said Mr Scobie was “pressed hard about the likely veracity of these accounts” while giving evidence, adding: “I found Mr Scobie to be a straightforward and reliable witness, and I accept what he said about Mr Morgan’s involvement in the Minogue/Gooding story.

“No evidence was called by MGN to contradict it.”

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