The media specialist law firm Harbottle & Lewis has taken a pummelling from newspapers this week over alleged attempts, while acting for Rolf Harris, to keep the disgraced entertainer’s name secret after he was first quizzed by police.
Gerrard Tyrrell, the firm’s leading media lawyer, threatened the Mail on Sunday with “highly damaging” legal consequences if it published Harris’s name.
In an editorial, The Sun said: “Harris’s lawyers argued that there was no ‘public interest’ in anyone knowing Harris had been quizzed under Operation Yewtree.”
The same Harbottle & Lewis was used by News International, publisher of The Sun, to investigate the extent of phone hacking at the News of the World in 2007. Rupert Murdoch later enraged the firm by telling MPs he had relied on its findings, and accusing it of a “major mistake”.
The lawyers defended their investigation, but clearly the animosity continues.
Harbottle & Lewis argued there was no public interest in knowing Harris’s identity