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Phone hack probe: woman arrested,& related information Private Investigators implicated - Uk

#261 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 04 August 2016 - 03:41 PM

Mirror publisher's profits leap after Local World takeover

Trinity Mirror also reports it has paid out £3.5m on phone-hacking settlements and legal fees in past six months


Jasper Jackson

Monday 1 August 2016 09.19 BST
Last modified on Monday 1 August 2016 14.14 BST

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The publisher of the Mirror has reported a 42% rise in pre-tax profits in the first half of the year, following its acquisition of regional newspaper group Local World.

Trinity Mirror also reported on Monday that it spent £5.3m on settlements and legal fees associated with phone hacking in the first six months of the year, taking its total expenditure on such claims to £10m.

The publisher – which owns the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and the People alongside regional and local newspapers such as the Manchester Evening News and Liverpool Echo – said adjusted pre-tax was £66.9m in the 27 weeks to 3 July, up from £47m last year.

Revenues across Trinity rose 30% to £374.7m due to both the impact of Local World and an additional week included in the trading period compared with 2015.

It took control of Local World last October in a deal worth £220m that made it the UK’s biggest regional newspaper publisher.

However, the acquisitions masked continued declines in the publisher’s core business. On a like-for-like basis calculated as if Local World had been part of Trinity from the start of 2015, revenues for the six months fell 7.8%, with an increase of of 14.4% in digital not enough to offset a fall in print revenue 10.3%.

Trinity also continues to cut costs, and plans to make savings of £15m this year. The cost cuts have angered the National Union of Journalists, with staff at titles in Merseyside, Newcastle and North Wales having taken industrial action at the end of last month.

The company’s £5.3m outlay on phone-hacking costs in the first six months is in addition to £4.7m in the previous year. It has put aside £41m to deal with the claims, and has £31m of that pot left.

In its report, Trinity said that “although there remains uncertainty as to how these matters will progress, the board remains confident that the exposures arising from these historic events are manageable”.

In March this year, the supreme court refused permission for the publisher to appeal the £1.2m payout to eight celebrities including Sadie Frost and Paul Gascoigne. The company is thought to be facing dozens more claims.

The company also managed to reduce its debt by almost half from £92.9m to £48m. However, its pension deficit rocketed by £120.8m to £426m, which Trinity said was the result of falls in long-term interest rates.

Trinity said it is launching a £10m share buyback programme, and would also increase its dividend to shareholders to 2.1p a share for the six months.

The company’s shares were up more than 10% immediately following the results announcement.

#262 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 16 September 2016 - 04:48 PM

Surrey Police: At least five officers knew NoW hacked Milly Dowler voicemails in 2002, 'deep regret' no action was taken
By Dominic Ponsford Twitter




A Surrey Police report has found that at least five police officers from the force were aware in 2002 that the News of the World had illegally accessed the voicemails of missing schoolgirl Milly Dowler.

One of the officers involved in the case has said that she was told by a senior manager at the time that no action was taken against the paper because they wanted to keep the media “on side”.

Journalists at the News of the World were finally prosecuted for their actions in 2011 when Operation Weeting was launched reopening the 2006 investigation into phone-hacking at the paper.

No police officers have been formally disciplined as a result of the failure to take action against the News of the World.

The Operation Baronet report has concluded: “A decision in 2002 to divert resources from the hunt for Milly to an investigation of NOTW would have been difficult to justify at that time.

“Some action could have been taken, however; either to defer the investigation until later, to refer the matter to another force, to complain to the Press Complaints Commission, or to write formally to the editor of the NOTW. None of these actions were taken.

“Though the hacking issue has become significant in recent years, in 2002 it was apparently considered a relatively minor aspect of the case and, once the issue regarding Mondays Recruitment Agency had been resolved, it is perhaps understandable that the attention and energy of the investigative effort was focused on finding Milly, and that the hacking issue did not resurface.

“There is circumstantial evidence to support this hypothesis.”

The report said however that “the failure to investigate remains a matter of deep regret to Surrey Police; primarily because it has added to the pain and anguish felt by the Dowler family”.

Milly, 13, went missing on 21 March, 2002, prompting the biggest investigation in the history of Surrey Police involving up to 100 full-time officers.

Surrey Police obtained a court production order on 26 March to access the phone messages on Milly’s mobile.

On 27 March a message was left on her mobile from Mondays Recruitment Agency in Telford relating to a job interview.

The Baronet report states how, on Friday 12 April, 2002, various News of the World staff made extensive inquiries with Mondays to establish whether Milly was on their staff. In one instance a female journalist from the paper apparently called the agency pretending to be Milly’s mother.

The report states that the following day, Saturday 13 April, then News of the World managing editor Stuart Kuttner contacted the Dowler investigation incident room at 3.11pm claiming to have significant information about the case.

When he was called back by Detective Sergeant McEntee, Kuttner revealed that he had a recording of a voicemail message from Milly’s mobile and provided police with her number.

Kuttner said the paper had confirmed the number with Milly’s school friends.

The delay of at least a day between the News of the World hearing the message from the recruitment agency on Milly’s voicemail and passing the information on to police was described as “unforgivable” by the judge in the hacking trial.

Later the same day DS McEntee received a call from then News of the World reporter Neville Thurlbeck (who was subsequently convicted of conspiracy to hack Milly’s phone along with private investigator Glenn Mulcaire).

Thurlbeck said that the following message was recorded on her voicemail: “Hello Mandy. This is Joe at Mondays Recruitment Agency. We are ringing because we are starting interviewing today at Epson. Call back on [number redacted]. Thanks, bye bye”.

Police at the time believed the message was the work of a hoaxer.

DS McEntee told the Baronet report: “It was the only time in my police service that I have considered cautioning someone over the telephone in relation to a criminal offence”. He further stated that: “I had very strong thoughts about the fact that Milly’s voicemails had been unlawfully accessed”.

Later than night, the NoW first edition went to press with a story (pictured above) about the phone message which included the following comment to Surrey Police: “We are intrigued, but believe the message may have been left by a deranged woman hoaxer thought to have hampered other police inquiries”.

The Baronet report says: “These words were not provided to the NOTW by Surrey Police.”

In later editions the story contained this official Surrey Police statement: “We are evaluating the claim that Amanda may have registered with a recruitment agency. At this stage there is the possibility that a hoaxer may be involved in generating this story”.

It later turned out that the voicemail call by the agency was in fact intended for someone called Nana and ended up on Milly’s voicemail by mistake.

Surrey Police did not access the relevant voicemail themselves until 17 April 2002.

The Guardian’s report of the Milly Dowler voicemail hacking from July 2011 said that the News of the World had deleted messages on her phone giving the family “false hope” she was alive.

The Baronet report underlines previous findings that the messages were probably deleted automatically by the voicemail system.

The report also notes that in April 2002 a man obtained details of calls to the Dowler’s home telephone by calling BT. No further action was taken by Surrey Police over this suspected crime either.

In May 2002, The Sun and News of the World jointly put forward a reward of £100,000 to find Milly Dowler.

An officer on the inquiry told the Baronet report that Surrey Police decided to work with the papers on the reward (despite reluctance to do so) because they were going to go ahead and offer it anyway.

They said: “Should NOW [NOTW] go ahead without our having appropriate resources in place, it is probable that we would alienate the public by virtue of not being able to respond to any demand”.

The offer reward reportedly led to more than 600 calls after it was launched.

In July 2014, following the hacking trial, Andy Coulson (who was deputy editor of the News of the World in 2002) was found guilty of conspiracy to hack phones along with former news editors Greg Miskiw and James Weatherup, former chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck, former private investigator for the paper Glenn Mulcaire and former reporter Dan Evans.

Another former News editor for the paper, Ian Edmondson, was also subsequently convicted of phone-hacking.

The News of the World editor in 2002 Rebekah Brooks (now chief executive of parent company News UK) was found not guilty by the jury, as was managing editor Stuart Kuttner.
Related Stories

Mr Justice Saunders' phone-hacking trial sentencing remarks in full
Hacking trial round-up: Enough scandal and intrigue to fill an edition of the News of the World
The accused: At least 64 UK journalists arrested and/or charged since April 2011
Surrey Police chief: 'We knew of Milly hacking in 2002'

#263 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 16 September 2016 - 04:54 PM


Operation Baronet

Surrey Police's report on Operation Baronet – the full internal investigation into the illegal interception of Milly Dowler’s voicemail messages.

Operation Baronet was set up in July 2011 to look at the circumstances surrounding the hacking of Milly’s mobile phone by, or on behalf of, the News of the World in 2002.

The primary focus of the investigation has been to establish who had knowledge within Surrey Police and what action was taken as a result.

The report is being published today to be clear and open about what the investigation has found.

Surrey Police accepted from the early stages of this investigation that the hacking of Milly Dowler’s voicemails should have been investigated and the Force has apologised to the Dowler family for the distress this has caused them.

When it became apparent that messages on Milly’s phone had been intercepted in April 2002, the primary focus of the investigation team was rightly on finding Milly and then bringing her killer to justice.

Her murder was the largest and most high-profile investigation in the country at the time and remains the largest enquiry ever undertaken by the Force who were dealing with thousands of calls from members of the public and the media.

However, senior officers would or should have been aware of the News of the World’s illegal actions and the matter of phone hacking should have been revisited and investigated at a later stage. The failure to do so was unacceptable and remains a matter of deep regret for the Force.

Operation Baronet has established that Surrey Police was contacted by News of the World staff on April 13, 2002. They advised they were working on a potential story relating to Milly’s whereabouts based on information gleaned from a message left on her voicemail. There is evidence that this was raised with investigating officers at the time however no evidence has been found of a policy decision recorded in relation to it.

There have been a number of challenges faced when investigating matters dating back more than ten years, including the inability of individuals to recall events from this time. Every effort has been made to locate all relevant materials from a murder investigation which spanned a decade and around 60,000 documents have been reviewed.

As part of Operation Baronet, in June 2012 Surrey Police and the then Surrey Police Authority voluntarily referred two senior officers to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. The IPCC carried out an independent investigation which concluded there was no case to answer for misconduct in either case.

The Force has made all evidence available and co-operated fully with the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Weeting investigation, the IPCC and Lord Leveson’s Inquiry.

The Operation Baronet report notes that although it is possible a decision was made not to pursue the newspaper because of the potential consequences, it is more likely the matter was simply not seen for what it was.

In 2002, ‘phone hacking’ was not a term used in the wider public or media and there was no indication at the time of the endemic use of this practice by the News of the World.

The investigation has found no evidence of any conspiracy or collusive relationship between officers and the News of the World or any other media.

Operation Baronet has highlighted a number of key issues for the Force from 2002 including the adequate keeping of records, minutes of meetings and policy files as well as appropriate training for Senior Investigating Officers.

Policing has evolved in the 14 years since Milly went missing and the Force does now have processes in place to ensure such issues have been addressed.

The report has been shared with the Dowler family.

Operation Baronet Report (pdf)


#264 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 16 September 2016 - 05:00 PM

NoW executives found in contempt of Commons over phone hacking

Parliamentary standards committee finds against newspaper’s former editor and legal manager over evidence they gave


Lisa O'Carroll and agencies

Wednesday 14 September 2016 14.39 BST
Last modified on Thursday 15 September 2016 10.01 BST

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A parliamentary committee has found the former News of the World editor Colin Myler and legal manager Tom Crone in contempt of the House of Commons over evidence they gave about the phone-hacking scandal.

But Les Hinton, the former executive chairman of News International – now known as News UK – was cleared of misleading the culture, media and sport select committee during its investigation.

The finding by the select committee of privileges follows an excoriating report in 2012 from the culture select committee at the height of the scandal, which ultimately led to the closure of the News of the World and criminal proceedings against several senior journalists, including its former editor Andy Coulson.

The culture committee’s 121-page report on phone hacking concluded that News International executives sought to “buy silence” and downplay the extent of hacking at the paper when summoned to give evidence before the committee over several years.

The company’s chairman, Rupert Murdoch, was accused of “wilful blindness” to phone hacking at the Sunday tabloid and was described as “not a fit person”.

His son James Murdoch was described as exhibiting a “lack of curiosity” and “wilful ignorance” at the time of negotiations to settle a potential legal claim by the head of the Professional Footballers’ Association, Gordon Taylor, following the hacking of his phone.

Hinton was accused of “inexcusably” misleading of parliament over a £243,000 settlement with the former News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman, who had been jailed in 2007 for his part in phone hacking.

Myler, the paper’s last editor before it closed in July 2011, and Crone were accused of deliberately avoiding the disclosure of critical information to the committee and answering questions falsely.

The culture committee referred its report to the privileges and standards committee to investigate complaints that it was grossly unfair to NoW executives, in what has become a test case for parliament on how it responds when witnesses allegedly mislead parliamentary committees.
Tom Crone (left) and Les Hinton.
Tom Crone (left) and Les Hinton. Photograph: PA

Crone has survived a series of investigations by police and was recently cleared of six professional misconduct charges over his use of a private detective to investigate his legal opponents’ sex lives.

The privileges committee found that:

Crone had misled the culture committee in 2009 by giving a “counter-impression” of the significance of the confidentiality of the Gordon Taylor settlement, the scale of which was later concluded to relate to the fact he had been hacked.
He had misled the committee by “answering questions falsely” about his knowledge of the involvement of the paper’s employees in hacking.

The report however cleared Crone of seeking to mislead the committee about the commissioning of surveillance on people of interest to the News of the World.

The penalties available to the house in cases of contempt include the power to summon a person to the bar of the house to be reprimanded, to imprison them and to fine them. In this case the committee recommended “formal admonishment”.

Crone immediately hit out at the report saying he did not accept the findings. He said it was “regrettable” that the culture committee had chosen to “ignore completely” the evidence he gave, which was that he had accepted “unequivocally” at the outset of his appearance that hacking went beyond the activities of the paper’s royal editor.

The committee concluded on Wednesday that Myler, who emerged unscathed from the phone-hacking scandal, had misled the culture committee by “answering questions falsely about [his] knowledge of evidence that other News of the World employees had been involved in phone hacking and other wrongdoing”.

Myler, who was editor of the News of the World between 2007 and 2011, said he was “extremely disappointed” with the committee’s findings, which he said were made despite evidence in its report which “plainly contradicts” its conclusions.

“It is profoundly disappointing that the privileges committee has chosen to act in a manner which serves to discredit parliamentary procedures rather than enhance the very authority and respect which they profess to command,” he said.

The committee found the allegation made by the culture committee that Hinton had sought to mislead it over the extent of a payoff to Goodman was “not significantly more likely than not to be true”.

It said the evidence that Hinton had also misled the committee over his knowledge of Goodman and phone hacker Glenn Mulcaire’s activities did not meet the “standard of proof set for a finding of contempt”.

It also criticised the committee’s scepticism about Hinton’s memory of events. Hinton resigned in 2011 after 52 years working with Murdoch because he felt the phone-hacking scandal was affecting the reputation of another of the tycoon’s titles, the Wall Street Journal.

In a statement, he described the findings as “too little and too late”, coming so long after he was “vilified” by the committee. “Parliament has a back-to-front idea of justice and fairness when it claims these standards after allowing the sham trial and free-for-all character assassination I experienced in 2012,” he said.

In a sign that the phone-hacking scandal has some way to run, Labour MP Paul Farrelly, who was on the culture, media and sport select committee, said he would want to re-examine the evidence of Rebekah Brooks, who was cleared of all criminal charges relating to hacking two years ago.

He also wanted to revisit the evidence of Coulson, who was jailed for phone-hacking offences.

Farrelly said he was pleased that the privileges committee had agreed that Crone and Myler had misled the culture committee. But he said the second half of the report was “disappointing”; that the committee had drawn confusing conclusions over Hinton; and that there was “plenty of evidence that the organisation long obstructed the search for the truth, yet the privileges committee finds itself unable to draw that conclusion”.

#265 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 29 September 2016 - 02:28 PM

Interesting, the role of cross border jurisdictions in this case should set a fine legal example, bearing in mind who has continued to publish unauthorized photographs of various persons and children over the years.

Those of you who know are behind these intrusions of privacy and unlawful acts, far and wide and that are not just limited to here in the UK, should make a stand and report it to the appropriate authorities.

Operation Skippy??


Pippa Middleton and James Matthews v Person or persons unknown
28 September 2016 |High Court|Civil

Neutral Citation Number: [2016] EWHC 2354 (QB)
Case No: HQ16X03369

In the High Court of Justice
Queen’s Bench Division
Royal Courts of Justice

28 September 2016


Mrs Justice Whipple

Between :

Pippa Middleton
James Matthews-Claimants
Person unknown or persons unknown-Defendant(s)


pdf | size: 0.03MB

Pippa Middleton 'has good reason to fear all iCloud information has been hacked'

The Duchess of Cambridge's sister has "good reason" to fear that all information held in her iCloud account has been hacked, a High Court judge has said.
Mrs Justice Whipple has heard that photographs from Pippa Middleton's iCloud account have been offered for sale to national newspapers.

She said Miss Middleton had told how the account contained "other private information" and feared that "material" had also been accessed.

The judge indicated that she thought Miss Middleton's fears were justified.

Miss Middleton - and her fiance, James Matthews - have taken civil court action against a "person or persons unknown" as a result of pictures allegedly being taken from the account.

The judge has made orders barring publication of photographs and other material held on the account after hearing lawyers representing Miss Middleton outline evidence at a hearing at the High Court in London.

"Someone has apparently accessed the First Claimant's iCloud account and the material held on it," said Mrs Justice Whipple in a ruling on the case.

"Photographs held on that iCloud account have been offered for sale to the national press.

"The person(s) offering the photographs for sale has/have sought to avoid being identified.

"He or she has, or they have, communicated with the press in ways which are designed to be untraceable.

"The photographs which have been offered for sale are personal to the Claimants. They include photographs of family, friends and places of personal importance."

Mrs Justice Whipple added: "(Miss Middleton) states that her iCloud account contains other private information beyond photographs. She fears that this material too has been accessed."

She went on: "(Miss Middleton) has good reason to fear that all the information held in her iCloud account has been accessed."

Police are investigating and Miss Middleton had told the judge that a man had been arrested on suspicion of accessing her iCloud account without authorisation.

Officers say a 35-year-old man has been released on police bail - pending further inquiries - after being arrested at an address in Northamptonshire late on Saturday on suspicion of an offence under the Computer Misuse Act.

Mrs Justice Whipple said the man had been named as Nathan Wyatt - and he had been represented at the High Court hearing by solicitor Richard Egan.

"However, it is as yet not clear who was responsible for accessing the (Miss Middleton's) account," said the judge.

"As things stand, the identity of the Defendants remains unknown."

She added: "For that reason, this application is made against 'Person or Persons Unknown'."

Mrs Justice Whipple said Miss Middleton and Mr Matthews had argued their right to respect for private life - enshrined in Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights - would be infringed if material from the iCloud account was published.

The judge said their arguments were "very strong".

"From the evidence before me, it appears that the information has been obtained by hacking into (Miss Middleton's) iCloud account," said the judge.

"If that has occurred, that would be a criminal act.

"On any view, it is an appalling intrusion into the claimants' private life."

She added: "Any use by publication or sale of the information would be misuse of private information."

Neither Miss Middleton nor Mr Matthews were at the High Court hearing - but Miss Middleton had given information to the judge in a written statement.

The couple's legal team had been led by barrister Adam Wolanski.

He told the judge that there may have been misuse of private information, breach of confidence, infringement of copyright and breaches of statutory obligations owed under data protection legislation.

Mr Wolanski said Miss Middleton thought that there had been a "genuine hack".

He said there had been a "flagrant", "dishonest" and "criminal act" which had caused Miss Middleton "considerable distress".

Mr Wolanski said photographs had not been published by English or Welsh newspapers

He said "Fleet Street" had alerted Miss Middleton to the issue.

Mrs Justice Whipple's order covers the legal jurisdiction of England and Wales.

Mr Wolanski said there were limitations to the effect her order would have on anyone based outside England and Wales.

Adam Wolanski

UK Judge Bans Publication of Hacked Pippa Middleton Photos

September 28, 2016 9:48 AM

Associated Press


A British judge on Wednesday banned the publication of stolen photographs of Pippa Middleton after allegations that 3,000 personal images were taken in a hacking attack on her iCloud account.

High Court justice Philippa Whipple made the order after Middleton, sister of the Duchess of Cambridge, and her fiancé James Matthews went to court against the "person or persons unknown'' who are responsible for the hack.

The Sun newspaper said Saturday it was contacted by a purported hacker seeking at least 50,000 pounds ($65,000) for the photos. It said the seller communicated using the pseudonym "Crafty Cockney'' on an encrypted messaging service and sent sample photos showing Middleton being fitted for a wedding dress in advance of her wedding next year.

The Sun said the hacker also claimed to possess Middleton's informal images of sister Kate with her children, Princess Charlotte and Prince George, and naked images of Matthews.

Police arrested a 35-year-old man Saturday on suspicion of offenses under the Computer Misuse Act. He was later released on bail pending further inquiries.

Middleton's lawyer, Adam Wolanski, said the alleged theft had caused Middleton "considerable distress.'' He said he believed the hack was genuine but the perpetrator had not been identified yet.


#266 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 29 September 2016 - 03:11 PM

? Different case or update, ?

Former Wellington police officer admits illegally accessing Facebook page

11:01 AM Wednesday Sep 21, 2016

A former Wellington police officer has pleaded guilty to illegally accessing another person's Facebook account.

The 31-year-old man, who has name suppression, appeared in the Wellington District Court today, charged with accessing the victim'sprivate account. The man was remanded to November 23.

- NZ Herald


View Posthukildaspida, on 24 January 2016 - 11:46 AM, said:

An interesting case involving alleged Facebook Hacking in New Zealand currently before the Courts with the person charged under the 1961 Crimes Act.

Former policeman charged with accessing Facebook account by deception


Last updated 21:06, January 11 2016

A former Wellington police officer has appeared in court, accused of illegally accessing a Facebook account that did not belong to him.

Legal experts say the prosecution is unusual, with one pointing out that police access people's Facebook accounts "all the time", through technology used to fight cyber crime.

Ex-police officer Simon Lindroos
appeared in the Wellington District Court on December 22 on a charge of accessing the Facebook account of another police staff member, communications adviser Melissa Weddell, by deception.

Lindross, 30, was charged under the 1961 Crimes Act, as the alleged offence was committed on August 1, three months before the enactment of the new Harmful Digital Communications Act.

The offence is punishable with a maximum of three years in prison.

Legal experts say the key issues likely to make the case different from people fooling around with their friends' Facebook accounts are those of consent and criminal intent.

Wellington barrister Michael Bott said the prosecution would have to prove that Lindroos illegally accessed the account without consent, and would also have to show criminal intent.

University of Otago law faculty professor Paul Roth
said he had never heard of that particular charge, of accessing a Facebook account by deception, being used in New Zealand.

"A lot of people access other people's Facebook account ... police don't go around charging everyone for this," Roth said.

He added that police accessed people's Facebook accounts "all the time" in the course of their duties.

He speculated that there were various ways in which Lindroos might have gained access: through technology used by police to fight cyber-crime; by more conventional means such as guessing or knowing Weddell's Facebook password; or simply by logging on while she was away from the computer.

He pointed out that, although the charge had been brought, it could still be thrown out.

NetSafe operations manager Lee Chisholm said the organisation had rarely heard of the Crimes Act being used in such a way.

"Where we've seen this section used before is where someone has perhaps gone into a computer system and been able to obtain, for instance, money by unlawful means."

Bott, a human rights lawyer, said there could be an "arguable claim" about guilt in this particular case, but most people should not be worried about being charged for activities such as practical jokes on their friends' Facebook accounts.

"Bear in mind that siblings set each other up all the time and make embarrassing posts ... it would be a very sad day when siblings can't do what they've done for centuries."

He said he had seen the charge used before, when he defended a person who set up an online dating profile using another person's details. That person was convicted.

Lindroos said on Monday that he was not at liberty to discuss the allegation and did not yet know the full details of the charge himself.

He knew Weddell, but had never worked with her, he said.

He has not yet entered a plea and has been remanded to appear again in Wellington District Court later this month.

Police said they could not comment on the case, as it was still before the courts.


Simon Lindroos is charged with having "directly accessed a computer system, namely the private Facebook account of Melissa Weddell and thereby by deception and without claim of right obtained benefit, namely access, to the private account of Melissa Weddell".

- Stuff


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Posted 07 October 2016 - 03:16 PM

Clifford Chance takes News of the World phone-hacking litigation work from Linklaters


Clifford Chance (CC) has replaced Linklaters as legal adviser to News Group Newspapers on litigation relating to phone-hacking at the News of the World (NoW).

The move marks the fourth time Rupert Murdoch’s media company has switched its lawyers on the case. The company initially instructed Farrer & Co after the hacking scandal broke, before moving the work to Olswang in October 2011, and then onto Linklaters the next year.

CC was appointed on Friday (23 September), when all claimants received notice of the change.

Linklaters took over from Olswang in 2012 after a number of civil cases were settled in January that year, leading to a drop in advisory work. The magic circle firm was appointed to handle any outstanding litigation against the company on top of its existing role advising parent company News Corporation’s management and standards committee.

Olswang was first instructed by News International in July 201,1 to draw up a new code of practice for the company when the NoW scandal broke.

The firm also took the lead for News International and subsidiary News Group Newspapers on civil litigation claims, with around 20 cases settling in January, including those of Jude Law, who was handed £130,000.

Around 11 law firms won roles on the proceedings, including Collyer Bristow, Mishcon de Reya, Bindmans and Atkins Thomson.

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Posted 07 October 2016 - 03:21 PM

'Fake Sheikh' Mazher Mahmood guilty of tampering with Tulisa trial evidence


Sun on Sunday undercover reporter was accused with his driver of perverting course of justice in pop star’s collapsed drug trial
Fake Sheikh Mazher Mahmood leaves the Old Bailey in London, where he and his driver Alan Smith have been found guilty of conspiring to pervert the course of justice in the case of pop star Tulisa Contostavlos.
Fake Sheikh Mazher Mahmood leaves the Old Bailey in London, where he and his driver Alan Smith have been found guilty of conspiring to pervert the course of justice in the case of pop star Tulisa Contostavlos. Photograph: Hannah McKay/PA

Caroline Davies

Wednesday 5 October 2016 13.01 BST
Last modified on Wednesday 5 October 2016 16.56 BST

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The undercover reporter Mazher Mahmood has been found guilty of tampering with evidence in the collapsed drug trial of the singer Tulisa Contostavlos.

The investigative journalist and self-styled “king of the sting” was charged, with his driver Alan Smith, 67, with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice over a statement Smith made to police before the former N-Dubz singer’s 2014 trial for allegedly helping supply cocaine to Mahmood. Smith was also found guilty.

Neither defendant reacted as the guilty verdicts were delivered. Judge Gerald Gordon adjourned sentencing until 21 October and allowed the defendants continued bail.
Mazher Mahmood, known as the ‘Fake Sheikh’.
Mazher Mahmood, known as the ‘Fake Sheikh’. Photograph: BBC

As he was leaving court, Mahmood declined to comment to journalists or say whether he would be launching an appeal.

Mahmood could face a series of court cases following the conviction. Mark Lewis, media lawyer and partner at Seddons solicitors, has been instructed by 18 people to pursue civil claims against Mahmood which could top £800 million.

Lewis said: “Over the last 25 years, innumerable lives have been ruined by the dishonest actions of Mazher Mahmood. People have lost their livelihoods, their homes and relationships, with some spending time in prison.

“Following today’s verdict, there will be a significant number of civil claims made against Mazher Mahmood. We anticipate the total sums involved could easily reach 800 million, with some awards dwarfing those seen in the phone-hacking scandal.”
Mazher Mahmood.
Mazher Mahmood. Photograph: Metropolitan Police

The case stemmed from an exposé in the Sun on Sunday that claimed Contostavlos, a former judge on ITV show The X Factor and aspiring actor, had allegedly arranged for a contact to supply Mahmood, 53, with cocaine worth £800 believing he was a Bollywood producer keen to cast her in a film alongside Leonardo DiCaprio.

The jury heard that Smith, Mahmood’s driver for 20 years, had chauffeured the singer and her two associates to her Hertfordshire home following a late-night meeting with Mahmood at London’s Metropolitan hotel, during which the three drunk cocktails.

Mahmood, best known as the defunct News of the World’s “Fake Sheikh”, later ran a story about Contostavlos in the Sun on Sunday, and she was charged with being concerned in the supply of a class A drug.
‘The real liar has been exposed’: Tulisa Contostavlos speaks outside Southwark Crown Court after the drugs case against her collapsed

The court heard before her trial that Smith told police that during the car journey home an argument over drugs had broken out between Contostavlos, who described herself as “hyper-drunk”, and her two associates, who were also intoxicated. During the argument, the singer had expressed her disapproval of hard drugs because a relative was an addict, Smith told police.

Smith changed his statement the following day to remove the anti-drugs comment, telling officers that as the car journey had been 13 months previous, he could not be sure who had said what.

The prosecution alleged Mahmood and Smith discussed his original statement and then attempted to “airbrush” the anti-drugs comments to protect Mahmood’s reputation and because he feared it might weaken the case against the singer. Mahmood had a vested interest in the prosecution against Contostavlos not collapsing due to any unfair entrapment by him, jurors were told.

The defence claimed Mahmood did not discuss the contents of Smith’s statement with him, nor asked him to change it. The anti-drugs comments made by Contostavlos were “not earth-shattering” and would have done “nothing to displace the evidence from the singer’s own lips” when she was secretly recorded by Mahmood, therefore he had no motive to conceal it.
Mazher Mahmood arrives at the Central criminal court in London.
Mazher Mahmood arrives at the Central criminal court in London. Photograph: Hannah Mckay/EPA

The case against Contostavlos at Southwark crown court was thrown out in July 2014 when it was alleged Mahmood had misled the judge by giving conflicting answers on oath to questions over whether he and Smith had discussed the statement.

A police investigation following the collapsed Contostavlos trial led to Mahmood and Smith being charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, which both denied.

Speaking after the verdicts, Ben Rose, Contostavlos’ defence lawyer, said: “The real scandal in this case is that Mahmood was allowed to operate as a wholly unregulated police force, ‘investigating’ crimes without the safeguards which apply to the police.

“It was obvious from the outset that Tulisa should never have had to go to court. If Mahmood’s evidence had been properly stress-tested instead of accepted wholesale by the CPS, we are confident it would have come to the same conclusion.

“Investigative journalists do important work, but Mahmood clearly went too far. That he and his driver have now been convicted of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice will hopefully deter other journalists from using entrapment to drive celebrity gossip stories.

“Mahmood’s actions brought his profession into disrepute and ruined hundreds of lives in pursuit of better circulation figures.
“The Crown Prosecution Service should not be so credulous in future.”

But the CPS expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the trial. Simon Ringrose, specialist prosecutor in the CPS’s Special Crime Division, said: “Mr Mahmood portrayed himself as the master of subterfuge and as the ‘King of the Sting’, but on this occasion it is he and Mr Smith who have been exposed.

“Mahmood and Smith tampered with a statement and then attempted to cover their tracks through lies and the destruction of evidence.

“By piecing together the various strands in this matter, the CPS was able to present a compelling case to the jury.”

A News UK spokesman said: “We are disappointed by the news that Mazher Mahmood has been convicted. We do not have further comment at this time.”

#269 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 02:44 PM

For our international followers, you may or may not be aware that Wellington lawyer and privacy expert John Edwards is now New Zealand's Privacy Commissioner.
He has his own Personal Twitter account

The official feed of The Office of The Privacy Commissioner is

One should never stop learning and we all have much to learn with cross border jurisdictions and legislation.

View Posthukildaspida, on 04 August 2015 - 04:54 PM, said:

Using the mouse to rat on celebrities: [A Edition]
RICHARDSON, Amie. Sunday Star - Times [Wellington, New Zealand] 10 Aug 2003: A.8.

High-profile New Zealanders are about to be targeted by a new tabloid website.

AMIE RICHARDSON investiagtes whether anyone can fight back.

A NEW website dedicated to exposing the "true stories" about our hottest celebrities and politicians has sparked fears about protecting the privacy of all Kiwis.

But despite high-profile agents saying the privacy laws are too lax, celebrities say they will not hide from the cameras.

Dumped Queer Nation pair, presenter Jonathan Marshall and director David Herkt--sacked for "stalking" TVNZ presenter Mike Hosking--invented the concept and have sold the website to a US investor. Marshall, who works as a paparazzo photographer, and Herkt will provide material for the website.

With more lenient rules governing the internet, the pair plans to have special investigations and celebrity gossip and scandals, including photographs of celebrity garbage--a concept made famous by Londoner Benjamin Pell who spent almost a decade sifting through rubbish for confidential documents and selling the resulting stories to national newspapers.

The website, which went live last night, is being launched with a "Mike Hosking special"--featuring photographs of Mike and Marie Hosking's toddler twins, despite a court order preventing women's magazine New Idea from publishing photos of the girls, and sensitive correspondence involving the estranged couple.

With the internet, the concept of privacy--a hotly-debated topic since the Hoskings began their fight for the protection of their children's privacy--affects not celebrities, but any individual.

Anyone with computer skills and an internet connection can destroy an individual's good name with the click of a mouse.

There are no international rules around internet use--instead the laws of the country where the website is hosted stand. However, international court cases have established defamation rules cross the borders of each country--if a New Zealander is defamed on a US- owned website, the individual can still sue in New Zealand.

The same applies with a breach of privacy--legally New Zealand's privacy laws apply to an overseas-owned website while name suppression orders or other New Zealand court orders can be bypassed on overseas-owned sites. But the practicality of making a complaint may prove impossible against a site hosted offshore.

Privacy and internet lawyers believe the tabloid website will be safe from legal action, unless the content breaches defamation laws or the material for the website was collected using unlawful means.

"Somebody could make an argument that getting rubbish is unreasonably intrusive, but I don't know if they would win," Wellington lawyer and privacy expert John Edwards said.

"When you place your rubbish on the street, you take a risk. I don't know if the exemption of the news media from aspects of the Privacy Act would apply to this. Is going through people's rubbish a news-gathering exercise?

"If any complaint is made, it would be against the collector of the information, not the website hosted overseas.

"If celebrities are interested in protecting their rubbish they should make other arrangements for their rubbish."

But TV personality Charlotte Dawson is not concerned about having her rubbish ransacked.

"I just think it's silly," she said.

"I've never been subject to a Jonathan Marshall-style attack and I've got nothing to hide. I'm very open. I'm not going to hide away and be fearful of intrusion."

Dawson had been only hounded by the Australian press after her marriage to former Olympic swimmer Scott Miller ended, she said.

While in New Zealand, she had been treated well by the media. She said there were a "couple of websites" where she had been criticised, but she didn't know of anything "too bad" on the internet about her.

"I just don't check enough, I don't often look."

Rugby star Jonah Lomu's manager Phil Kingsley-Jones believes privacy laws in New Zealand are too relaxed.

"There's people making money out of the photos taken (of Lomu) all the time. There needs to be tougher regulations," he said.

"He (Lomu) puts up with it.

"(Celebrities) have an obligation to be out there but it doesn't give people the right to take over their lives.

"Of course I believe in freedom of speech but I don't believe people have the right to take pictures (of Lomu) any time."

Comments made about Lomu on the internet were screened by his management before Lomu saw them, but Lomu had not been defamed on the internet, Kingsley-Jones said.

Leading athlete manager Rob Brady, whose Australasian company manages eight All Blacks including Tana Umaga and Jerry Collins, agreed that New Zealand privacy laws--which allowed anyone to be photographed in a public place--needed to be stricter.

"Just because you've got a public profile, it doesn't make you public property.

"It's an individual's choice whether they want to make their private life known."

He said a tabloid website which focused on the lives of New Zealand celebrities, many of whom were sports stars, would heighten the problem of protecting privacy.

Real estate agent and former television personality Michael Boulgaris, although never a victim of email or internet gossip, had been at the centre of a mass text message exchange about a relationship he was supposed to be having with a well-known New Zealander.

Boulgaris said several thousand text messages about the alleged relationship were sent out within a day.

He said there was nothing he could do--tracing the original texter would have been impossible.

"It's better to be spoken about, than not spoken about. You've got to keep your sense of humour about this sort of thing."

But, with the internet, it is not only celebrities who may be targeted. Internet safety groups are concerned anyone can be photographed and put on a website, and with the introduction of mobile phones with cameras, the chances of being snapped discreetly have increased.

Auckland lawyer Rick Shera said "spoofing" or stealing someone's identity was a new risk opened up by the internet. People could send emails pretending to be someone else, or set up websites which did not necessarily defame an individual, but gave a different impression of the person involved.

Unless the information was defamatory, it was not illegal, Shera said. "It was not such a problem in an offline world because the information would not have been likely to reach many people. Now there's a way to put that information out globally almost for free."

Chris Patterson, an Auckland lawyer specialising in computer misuse, said the internet was still a lawless territory.

"The internet is an extremely powerful tool. Never before has a person been able to defame someone so quickly. If an individual wanted to defame someone before, they would have had to have lots of money or lots of contacts in publishing," he said.

"Whereas now, anyone with a bit of (computer) knowledge can set up a website for free that could defame on a grand scale. There are no set rules for the internet, instead it's the laws of each country that apply."

The posting of the Hoskings' toddlers' photo will not be the first time the internet has provided a medium to do something other New Zealand publications did not.

In May 2001, a photograph and details of the policeman who shot dead Steven Wallace in Waitara were posted on an internet website, when police had fiercely protected the identity of the officer and other publications had not named him after suppression was lifted.

At the time, the site's creator, Dermot Nottingham, argued the public had a right to know who the policeman, Keith Abbott, was.

The website carried a report by lawyer Peter Williams QC and another by Nottingham pushing for a private prosecution. Nottingham defended his decision last week, saying he chose to publish the name and photograph of Abbott because he believed New Zealanders had the right to all the facts of the case, including Abbott's identity.

"It showed the internet has an appropriate place. Other media were not accurately reporting the details of the report. I was bringing the facts to New Zealanders," Nottingham said.

"You don't have to own a newspaper any more. People have to be accountable for what they publish on the internet, but I was breaking no rules and was never sued for anything I said."

However, Police Association president Greg O'Connor said there needed to be tougher rules regulating disclosure of officers' identities. When Abbott's name and photograph were posted globally, the threat against him increased.

"It is not about publication any more, it is about identification.

"The media has been bypassed with the internet. Identification of people who need protection must be protected. All you've got to do is put it on an Australian-owned website (and New Zealand jurisdiction has no power)."

Nottingham plans to launch a "whistleblower" website in about six weeks. It will give individuals from any government or other department an opportunity to email the site discreetly and disclose information. It will also include a register of people wrongly convicted and information about court cases.


Do an internet search ( is one site) on your name to see whether you're being written or talked about.

If you find something you don't like, print it out, make a note of the address and seek legal advice.

Your lawyer will get a forensic specialist to obtain all the defamatory material to be used as evidence.

The service provider will be contacted by your lawyer to have the website closed down.

The creator of the site will be contacted to say that any repeat of the defamatory material will result in proceedings being issued or proceedings could be issued immediately.


#270 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 02:46 PM

UK news
Phone-hacking victims win House of Lords support over legal costs

Peers vote to require media companies to pay claimants’ legal expenses, after government accused of betraying victims on the issue


Alan Travis and Jane Martinson

Tuesday 11 October 2016 20.31 BST
Last modified on Wednesday 12 October 2016 10.56 BST

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Peers voted by a majority of 102 to bring into force legislation requiring newspapers and media organisation to pay the costs of any claims made against them by phone-hacking victims.

A cross-party coalition of peers voted by 282 to 180 for the implementation of a key recommendation of the Leveson inquiry that the victims of hacking by newspapers and other media should be protected from paying the costs of bringing their claims in the civil courts.

The scale of the government defeat – by a majority of more than 100 – on an issue that is so contentious among MPs and peers may make it difficult for ministers to overturn in the Commons, where the Conservatives only have a majority of 12.

Peers had been debating the report stage of the “snooper’s charter” legislation – the investigatory powers bill, when an amendment was put following complaints that the provision had been put on the statute book three years ago but had not been implemented by John Whittingdale when he was culture secretary.
John Whittingdale case is not an obscure issue | Letters
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The Lords’ vote reprises the prospect of a “Leveson-lite” regime for press regulation. The 2013 Crime and Courts Act proposes that the government can force publishers who aren’t signed up to a regulatory regime recognised by the royal charter-backed press recognition panel to pay both sides’ costs even if they win any libel and privacy cases brought to it.
Lord Justice Leveson with the Report from the Inquiry into the Culture, Practices and Ethics of the Press in 2012.
Lord Justice Leveson with the Report from the Inquiry into the Culture, Practices and Ethics of the Press in 2012. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA

No newspaper is signed up to a royal charter-backed regulator. Ipso, which handles complaints for the Daily Mail, the Times, the Sun and the Daily Telegraph said it had no intention of doing so. The Guardian has its own readers’ editor and is not a member of Ipso.

Lord Prescott, the former Labour deputy prime minister, told the House of Lords that Whittingdale had “cheered up the press” when he announced last October at a Society of Editors dinner that he did not intend to introduce the costs measure despite the fact it had been passed by parliament in the Crime and Courts Act in 2013.

One Liberal Democrat peer, Lord Strasburger, said after the vote:

Ministers had tried to resist a vote on the issue with the leader of the Lords, Earl Howe, appealing to peers not to press the issue, arguing that the Leveson vote was unrelated to the main thrust of a bill on surveillance by the security services.

The minister said he understood peers’ frustration with the lack of progress in implementing the Leveson inquiry report and the government continued to look at the issue closely and was “actively considering” it. He argued it wasn’t “unreasonable for new ministers to take time to understand the issues at play”.

But crossbench peer Baroness Hollins pressed the issue to a vote arguing that it would be an injustice to the victims of phone hacking to pass up the opportunity to make the change. Hollins said the protection for victims proposed was equivalent to that which would have existed if the government had put into effect section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013.

She complained there had been no explanation why ministers had announced last year that they were not minded to implement the section – a change of policy which broke the cross-party agreement and “betrays promises made to both houses and to press abuse victims”.

Independent crossbencher Baroness O’Neill of Bengarve said protecting journalistic sources was a profoundly important liberal purpose: “But the misuse of those sources whether by invention or by illegal interception of private communication or by forms of blackmail and the like is not a good liberal cause.”
Onora O’Neill philosopher academic and writer pictured at Hay Festival 2011C4817B Onora O’Neill philosopher academic and writer pictured at Hay Festival 2011
Baroness O’Neill. Photograph: Alamy

She said additional protection for journalistic sources needed to be balanced with additional protection for those “abused” by journalists.

Prescott also supported the move, insisting the Lords did not want to change government policy but implement legislation already agreed. He said it would ensure justice for “people who cannot afford to get justice in a case in which they have been offended against by phone hacking”. They were backed by former Tory lord chancellor Lord Mackay of Clashfern.

The royal charter proposal infuriated the newspaper industry, leading the Telegraph’s editorial director, Guy Black, to warn it would create “probably the harshest press regime anywhere in the free world, and much of the developing world”.

When Whittingdale announced the delay in implementation in October 2015 he told newspaper executives: “Given the changes under way within the industry, the introduction of the new exemplary damages provisions, and the pressures on the industry, I question whether this additional step, now, will be positive and will lead to the changes I want to see.”

No press regulator has yet won the backing of the press regulation panel so the threat to any newspaper groups with outstanding phone-hacking claims could be only theoretical as the costs measure will not apply until a body is first recognised as an approved regulator.

• This article was amended on 12 October 2016. An earlier version said Baroness Hollis had pressed the issue to a vote. The peer was Baroness Hollins.
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#271 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 03:29 PM

Former BOA chief executive reaches financial settlement over phone hacking

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By Liam Morgan Saturday, 19 November 2016


Former British Olympic Association (BOA) chief executive Simon Clegg has reached an undisclosed financial settlement with Mirror Group Newspapers after he was the victim of phone hacking, it has been announced.

Clegg, a key figure in inspiring London's successful bid for the 2012 Olympics who was also British Chef de Mission at the Salt Lake City 2002 and Beijing 2008 Winter and Summer Games, was among 29 well-known names to settle damage claims with the company, which owns British daily newspaper The Mirror.

Olympic gold medallist Audley Harrison and former England international footballer Sol Campbell have also agreed a compensation package.

Clegg, a former soldier, was given a public apology at the London High Court and has also received a written apology.

The 57-year-old initially reported potential phone hacking to police following the launch of Operation Weeting, an investigation into the actions of the now defunct News of the World.

Metropolitan Police informed him "some time later" that his name and mobile number had been found in the notebook of self-confessed hacker Dan Evans, a previous employee of Mirror Group Newspapers who was spared jail in 2014 for his role in The Sun phone hacking scandal.

"I am pleased and relieved that this matter has finally come to a close," said Clegg.

"It's been a long and sometimes difficult road, though necessary given my privacy had been illegally compromised.

"As well as a financial settlement I have also accepted both the public and private apologies offered by Mirror Group Newspapers.

"Since I consider this matter now closed I will not be making any further statements related to this case."
Simon Clegg has also accepted a written personal apology at the London High Court ©Baku 2015
Simon Clegg has also accepted a written personal apology at the London High Court ©Baku 2015

Clegg’s case against The Sun continues.

He was given permission to carry on with a High Court action in London against The Sun over allegations of phone hacking earlier this year.

It came after the newspaper failed to get the civil litigation thrown out at a pre-trial stage.

News Group Newspapers, the owners of The Sun, has settled more than 800 hacking claims against the News of the World so far.

The News of the World was closed down in 2011 following phone hacking allegations.

Clegg, who went on to become chief executive of Ipswich Town Football Club between 2009 and 2013, served as chief operating officer of last year's European Games in Baku.

It was announced in March that he had been appointed as the chief operating officer at Expo 2020 in Dubai.
Related stories

May 2016: Former BOA chief executive allowed to carry on with legal action against Sun over phone hacking allegations
March 2016: Former Baku 2015 chief operating office to join Expo 2020 in Dubai
January 2016: Former British Olympic Association chief executive gives evidence in High Court phone hacking trial
April 2014: Alan Hubbard: Baku 2015's new chief operating officer has the pedigree to face his biggest challenge
April 2014: Scherr quits as Baku 2015 chief operating officer and replaced by Clegg

#272 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 03:34 PM

Mirror publisher pays out £500,000 to settle phone-hacking claims

Claims by 29 people including Les Dennis, Natasha Kaplinsky, Steve McFadden and Sol Campbell are settled at high court
Natasha Kaplinsky and Les Dennis


Thursday 17 November 2016 15.57 GMT
Last modified on Thursday 17 November 2016 16.16 GMT
Jasper Jackson

The publisher of the Daily Mirror has paid out more than £500,000 to settle phone-hacking claims by 29 people including the entertainer Les Dennis, presenter Natasha Kaplinsky and EastEnders actor Steve McFadden.

The former footballer Sol Campbell, retired boxer Audley Harrison and model Victoria Hervey were also among those whose claims against Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) were settled at the high court.

Many of the claimants were friends or family of the famous people targeted by journalists. They included David Beckham’s father, Ted, and singer Charlotte Church’s ex-boyfriend Steven Johnson, his father – also called Steven Johnson – and his mother, Yvonne Kearle.

In all but one case – that of the Emmerdale actor Jayne Walton, who received £40,000 damages and her legal costs – the details of the agreements were not made public.

McFadden, who plays Phil Mitchell in EastEnders, was said to have been caused “significant distress”. Kaplinsky, the TV presenter who won Strictly Come Dancing in 2004, was said to have been “heartbroken” when private details of her wedding and honeymoon were published.

Kim Waite, acting for Trinity, accepted that unlawful interception of voicemail or other privacy breaches had occurred, and offered her “sincere apologies” to all 29 claimants. She said Trinity “deeply regrets the wrongful acts” and would not do the same in the future.

The other people who had their claims settled included the actor Neil Morrissey’s partner Emma Killick, the actors William Mellor, Sarah Parish and Abigail Titmuss, the musician Lee Ryan, Barry Smith, ex-boyfriend of the actor Sadie Frost, and the sports injuries doctor Mark Waller.

The TV presenter Jeff Brazier, Simon Clegg, former chief executive of the British Olympic Association, the Big Brother contestant Victor Ebuwa, James Gardner, a friend of the footballer Paul Gascoigne, and George Best’s agent Philip Hughes were also among the 29.

Others included Best’s son, Calum, the former real estate agency director Sandy Armstrong, the singer-songwriter Samuel Preston and his ex-fiancee.

A number of those who settled their claims with MGN, a subsidiary of Trinity Mirror, including Dennis and Clegg, are involved in a separate civil case against the Sun publisher News Group Newspapers.

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