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Sunday, Feb 25, 2024

Piers Morgan says he was not aware of phone hacking at Daily Mirror

Piers Morgan says he was not aware of phone hacking at Daily Mirror

Piers Morgan says he is not aware of phone hacking taking place while he was editor of the Daily Mirror.

A High Court case against its owners, Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN), brought by Prince Harry and several other high-profile figures, began on Wednesday.

Lawyers argue that executives at the publisher knew about widespread phone hacking, but failed to act.

Speaking before the trial, Mr Morgan said: "I've never hacked a phone. I've never told anybody to hack a phone."

The long-awaited case involves allegations that the publisher of the Mirror illegally gathered information about the Duke of Sussex and a number of other celebrities to generate stories.

In written arguments put before the court, the barrister representing Prince Harry said it was "inconceivable" that Mr Morgan and other editors did not know about MGN journalists instructing private investigators to obtain information.

Mr Morgan has always denied any knowledge of phone hacking or illegal activity at the Daily Mirror when he was editor.

He was editor of the Daily Mirror from 1995 to 2004


He was interviewed by the BBC's Amol Rajan before the trial began. In it, Mr Morgan said he thought phone hacking - the interception of mobile phone voicemail messages - was completely wrong.

He added it "shouldn't have been happening" and said it was "lazy journalists being lazy". He said there was no evidence that he knew anything about it.

Asked in the interview whether it stretched credulity that, as a hands-on editor, he didn't know what was going on, Mr Morgan replied: "I didn't. So I don't care whether it stretches people's credulity, or not."

The former editor pointed out that although there were civil cases happening, none of the journalists who worked with him at the Daily Mirror have been arrested in connection with phone hacking.

Mr Morgan worked at the Daily Mirror for nearly a decade, but he said none of the civil cases had anything to do with him.

"I've not been called to give evidence, I know nothing about it," he told BBC News. Asked if he was worried about Prince Harry's legal action, he said he "couldn't give a monkey's cuss".

"I don't give a damn what actions he wants to take," he said.

Piers Morgan told Amol Rajan he wasn't aware of any phone hacking while he was at the Daily Mirror


In 2015, MGN, which publishes the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Sunday People, paid out £1.2m in damages to eight phone hacking victims who refused to settle out of court, including Paul Gascoigne and the actor Sadie Frost.

Other cases have been settled out of court so damages to individuals remain unknown.

On Wednesday, MGN apologised to Prince Harry for one instance of unlawful information gathering in relation to a story which appeared in the Sunday People in 2004, but it denied allegations of voicemail interception in all the cases being examined.

Mr Morgan pointed out he only worked for the Daily Mirror and had no responsibility for the Sunday Mirror or Sunday People, or other titles.

A 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 and 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."

Mr Morgan presents a show on TalkTV following his controversial exit from ITV's Good Morning Britain. He left in March 2021, after saying he "didn't believe a word" the Duchess of Sussex had said in an interview with Oprah Winfrey.

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