NightJack blogger Richard Horton to sue The Times over email hacking


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The Independent Online

A detective unmasked as the writer of an anonymous blog after a Times journalist hacked into his email is suing the paper for damages, his solicitor has said.

Lancashire policeman Richard Horton, who was exposed by the News International title as the author of the award-winning NightJack blog in 2009, filed a civil claim with the High Court on Wednesday.

He is claiming aggravated and exemplary damages from Times Newspapers for breach of confidence, misuse of private information and deceit, according to his lawyer Mark Lewis, of London-based Taylor Hampton Solicitors.

News International declined to comment.

The Leveson Inquiry into press standards has heard that former Times reporter Patrick Foster hacked into Mr Horton's emails in May 2009 to discover he was behind the NightJack blog.

Mr Foster told the paper's then-legal manager Alastair Brett what he had done.

Mr Brett told the inquiry he was furious when he learned what the young reporter had done.

He said he told him he had to find a way of establishing that Mr Horton was the author of the blog through sources in the public domain, which Mr Foster subsequently did.

Mr Horton sought an injunction preventing publication when he learned that The Times was planning to name him as the anonymous blogger.

The paper fought a High Court battle to go ahead with the story, which it won in June 2009.

Mr Brett admitted that legal documents filed by The Times as part of the case - one of which stated that Mr Foster established Mr Horton's identity using "publicly available materials, patience and simple deduction" - did not give the "full story".

Times editor James Harding told the Leveson Inquiry in February that he "sorely regretted" the intrusion and "expected better" of his paper.