Enquiry told about 'dark arts'
The Leveson Inquiry heard the first submissions on behalf of the victims of phone hacking on Wednesday, many of whom have brought civil claims against the publisher of the now defunct News of the World.
5RB’s David Sherborne, acting for the majority of the alleged phone hacking victims, said in his opening submissions that the practice of the “dark arts” by sections of the press was “systemic, flagrant and deeply entrenched”.
His submissions drew attention to some of the most egregious examples of that behaviour, including:
- The publication of Kate McCann’s private diary that she kept after her daughter Madeleine’s disappearance by the News of the World (NoTW), which left her feeling “mentally raped”.
- The hacking into, and deletion of Milly Dowler’s voicemails by Glenn Mulcaire, the private detective who worked for the NoTW, and was jailed in 2007 for phone hacking. Mrs Dowler was left with a tragically misplaced sense of “euphoria” when she finally managed to leave a voicemail, believing that her daughter was still alive.
- The newspaper’s “terrible intrusion” of photographing the Dowlers as they tried to re-trace the teenager’s last steps in a very “private moment”.
- The destruction of Chris Jeffries’ reputation, the man wrongly implicated in Joanna Yeates’ murder. Mr Sherborne described a section of the press’ behaviour as a “frenzied campaign to blacken his character and persuade the public that he was guilty, a frightening combination of smear, innuendo and complete fiction, involving gratuitous dirt-digging to the most shameless extent possible”.
- The irreparable intrusion into former FiA boss Max Mosley’s private life after the NoTW paid a prostitute to covertly film him engaging in an orgy.
The Inquiry continues on Monday 21st November, when it will hear from a number of alleged victims of phone hacking.