Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Top judge says anyone who lied to phone hacking inquiry should be prosecuted for perjury

He also accused TV presenter and former Mirror editor Piers Morgan of ‘shameful reaction’ to court ruling

Kate Devlin
Politics and Whitehall Editor
Saturday 16 December 2023 12:31 GMT
Prince Harry’s lawyer condemns phone hacking ‘cover-ups’ by Mirror publisher

A top judge has said anyone who lied to the phone hacking inquiry should be prosecuted for perjury after a court found there could be “no doubt” editors at Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) knew about intercepted voicemails.

Sir Alan Moses, a former chair of press regulator the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso), also hit out at the former Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan, accusing him of epitomising the “shameful reaction of people who used to be editors”.

After an extraordinary High Court ruling on Friday, Hollywood actor Steve Coogan also called for a police investigation.

Prince Harry accused MGN of “vendetta journalism” after the judge in the case found that he was the victim of phone hacking and awarded him damages.

The findings accepted evidence by royal author Omid Scobie that Mr Morgan had been aware of voicemail interception over a story about pop star Kylie Minogue.

In response Mr Morgan launched a stinging attack on the prince, accusing him of attempting to “destroy the British monarchy”.

In a statement outside his home, he also said: “I’ve never hacked a phone or told anyone else to and nobody has provided any actual evidence to prove that I did.”

The judge also ruled that “extensive” phone hacking took place at the Daily Mirror, the Sunday Mirror and the Sunday People, from 2006 to 2011.

In his judgment, Mr Justice Fancourt concluded “there can be no doubt” that editors of MGN’s titles knew about voicemail interception but did not tell the company’s board or chief executive about it.

Sir Alan, a former lord justice of appeal, warned: “The whole system has never held to account those in charge, the proprietors and the editors [… because they] poured money into settlement and only people like Prince Harry had the resources to pursue the case.”

Prince Harry accused MGN of ‘vendetta journalism’ after the judge in the case found that he was the victim of phone hacking and awarded him damages (AP)

He told the BBC’s Today programme: “If people lied to Sir Brian [Leveson, the chair of the official inquiry into phone hacking], then they ought to be prosecuted for perjury”.

Mr Coogan also called for a police investigation. He told the same radio programme: “The police should investigate, they should do their job.”

He also questioned what action Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer would take. “What is Keir Starmer going to do about it? Because let’s face, it he is going to be the next prime minister. Is he going to fold like a deckchair?” he said.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in