Piers Morgan, a prominent British broadcaster and former editor of the Daily Mirror tabloid, has been implicated in a phone hacking scandal, according to a recent ruling by a judge at London’s High Court.
This revelation came to light in a lawsuit filed by Prince Harry and others against Mirror Group Newspapers.
Morgan, known for his public criticisms of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, has consistently denied any involvement or knowledge of phone hacking or other illegal activities at the newspaper.
He stated that there was no concrete evidence to support such claims.
In the court’s ruling, Judge Timothy Fancourt confirmed that Prince Harry had indeed been a victim of phone hacking and other unlawful practices by journalists at Mirror Group Newspapers.
Furthermore, the judge asserted that the editors were aware of these illicit activities taking place within their newsrooms.
One key piece of evidence presented during the trial was the testimony of Omid Scobie, co-author of “Finding Freedom,” an unofficial biography of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
Scobie revealed that Morgan had been reassured about a 2002 story regarding singer Kylie Minogue and her then-partner James Gooding, which was sourced from voicemail interception.
Despite attempts to question Scobie’s motives for providing evidence, Judge Fancourt deemed him a credible witness, and no evidence was presented to dispute his claims.
The ruling also accepted the accounts of other witnesses who testified that Morgan was aware of phone hacking practices related to stories published by MGN newspapers.
Notably, David Seymour, a former political editor of the Daily Mirror, testified that Morgan had played a voicemail of Paul McCartney singing a Beatles song to his wife in the newsroom in 2001, suggesting Morgan’s knowledge of phone hacking activities.
Fancourt’s ruling underlined that there was compelling evidence indicating that the newspaper editors were fully aware of the widespread use of voicemail interception and other unlawful information gathering methods.
He also found that senior executives, including Sly Bailey, the former chief executive of MGN’s parent company, Trinity Mirror (now known as Reach), knew about these practices or turned a blind eye to them.
Additionally, the ruling revealed that Gary Jones, formerly a reporter for the Daily Mirror and currently the editor of Reach’s Daily Express newspaper, had instructed private investigators to unlawfully obtain information about individuals, including Prince Michael, the late Queen Elizabeth’s cousin.
In response to the ruling, Prince Harry called for regulatory and police investigations into potential criminal offenses related to the phone hacking scandal.
This ruling has significant implications for the British media landscape and raises questions about journalistic ethics and practices.