Who’d be a high profile tabloid journalist these days or even a tabloid paper owner? Scores of former News International staff have been charged with a range of offencess including phone hacking and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice (the latter carries particularly stiff penalties) while owner News Corporation has, so far, forked out over £220m in legal costs and damages.
Now the waters, to no-one’s great surprise, are wetting the feet of Trinity Mirror and its staff as four claimants, including former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson and David and Victoria Beckham’s former nanny, are taking High court action against TM’s Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and People alleging “breach of confidence and mis-use of private information,” in other words phone hacking.
This is clearly a potential problem for media owner Trinity Mirror, now headed by former HMV boss Simon Fox, as its market capitalisation is only £180m, rather less than NI has paid out in legals.
It’s also a problem for highest of profiles former Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan (left) who was in charge when the Mirror ran a series of stories about Eriksson’s affair with TV presenter Ulrika Jonsson, informatiom she has always maintained could only have come their way through illegal means.
Morgan has always denied involvement in phone hacking, latterly to the Leveson Inquiry into media ethics which is due to report soon, but it’s pretty clear from his memoir The Insider that he knew what it was. One plank in his defence has been that no-one had taken action against the Mirror.
But they have now.