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In the High Court in London today the Sun "newspaper", part of Murdoch's News(sic) International, admitting accessing personal information, including messages, on a mobile (cell)phone stolen from a Labour party Member of Parliament in 2010. Their lawyers offered an unreserved apology and a "substantial" payment is being made to the M.P.

Note this is a new twist in the phone hacking saga. Previously investigations and court cases were based on illicit accessing of the voicemail computers through the use of default passcodes. It must also be said that the Sun did not admit involvement in the theft of the phone itself.

The MP - who represents London constituency Mitcham and Morden - had her phone stolen from her car in south west London.

David Sherborne, representing Ms (Siobhain) McDonagh, told Mr Justice Vos that in June 2012 police notified her that they had "obtained evidence that The Sun newspaper had accessed her text messages from about October 2010" and "appeared to have accessed and/or acquired her mobile phone".

A Sun lawyer said the newspaper accepted that her mobile phone "should not have been accessed" and added: "There has been a serious misuse of her private information".

The admission came as the court heard potentially hundreds of people could seek damages from News Group Newspapers following a new Metropolitan Police investigation.

It also looks like overnight an all (three main) party agreement was reached on the body that will replace the Press Complaints Commission as recommended by the Levenson Report.
Lord Justice Leveson's inquiry into press ethics in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal called for a new, independent regulator backed by legislation designed to assess whether it is doing its job properly, which prompted months of political wrangling.

The Liberal Democrats and Labour wanted a royal charter backed by legislation, while Prime Minister David Cameron supported a royal charter without a law.

A Commons debate and vote were scheduled for Monday, but after overnight talks between the Lib Dem and Labour leaders and a senior Tory minister resulted in a deal, the vote was cancelled. A statement from the prime minister is expected in the Commons later.

The regulator is likely to be able to force a newspaper to issue corrections and apologies, and could also have the power to impose fines.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/...

From reports, it appears that Cameron has caved in by agreeing that Royal Charters established after today could only be amended by a super majority of two thirds in both houses of Parliament is separate legislation from the establishing of the Charter itself. This should be clearer later as Cameron's spokesperson has just issued a statement claiming this does not represent statutory underpinning of the new body.

Originally posted to Lib Dem FoP on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 05:32 AM PDT.

Also republished by Murdochgate Investigators.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (23+ / 0-)

    "Who stood against President Obama in 2012?" - The trivia question nobody can answer.

    by Lib Dem FoP on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 05:32:34 AM PDT

  •  Clegg's position (7+ / 0-)

    This is from an email sent to all members of the Liberal Democrats by Nick Clegg, Leader of the Lib Dems and Deputy Prime Minister. The position of Ed Milliband, the Labour Party Leader was more or less the same.

    We need a careful balance. On the one hand, we must vigorously defend our free press. On the other, we must protect people from harassment and bullying by powerful interests in the media.

    The Prime Minister is arguing for a Royal Charter, but it falls short of meaningful reform. The other option, backed by some campaigners, is a full legislative approach. I’ve always agreed with them that this approach could work, But on an issue as sensitive as press freedom, we need as much agreement across the parties as possible. So I’ve been working for a middle way, one which I believe supporters of all three parties can back.

    It simply takes the Prime Minister’s proposal Royal Charter and strengthens it in five specific ways.

    One: editors would not be granted a special veto over the individuals sitting on the regulatory body.

    Two: whilst editors, journalists and independent members of a standards committee will hold the pen in drafting any changes to the Press Code, those changes would require the consent of the regulator’s board.

    Three: under David Cameron’s proposal, when mistakes are made newspapers would decide how to apologise to the individuals involved. Even if that meant the apology for an offensive front page was just a few sentences hidden away in the paper. Under our proposal, the regulator would ensure apologies are proportionate and fair.

    Four: the regulator would have greater discretion in accepting complaints from third parties. So, for example, if a domestic violence charity wanted to voice its concern over the portrayal of a woman in a story about abuse, it would be easier for the regulator to consider that complaint.

    Finally, we would put in place an explicit safeguard against future governments playing around with the Royal Charter – a crucial guarantee for both the public and the press.

    It looks like the last point has been conceded by Cameron and probably the rest with the separation of the two pieces of paper - the Royal Charter that does not need a formal bill and the regulation that charters amending needs a super majority - is a face saving exercise for him.

    It should also be said that the SNP is proposing rather stricter full legislation for Scotland

    "Who stood against President Obama in 2012?" - The trivia question nobody can answer.

    by Lib Dem FoP on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 05:42:52 AM PDT

  •  Thanx! Published as Murdoch Investigators (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean, Creosote

    You might consider kosmailing the other MIs so we are all on the same page/thread. I alas have to keep.me my fingers off the keyboardfor a while. Back in a bit.

    "Are you bluish? You don't look bluish," attributed to poet Roger Joseph McGough, for the Beatles' Yellow Submarine (1968).

    by BlueStateRedhead on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 06:48:51 AM PDT

  •  more court (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    virginislandsguy, Creosote, Sandino

    Former boxer Chris Eubank promises 'gargantuan battle' over phone hacking - Press - Media - The Independent

    Retired boxer Chris Eubank told the High Court today that he was looking forward to a “gargantuan battle” in the phone-hacking litigation.

    The former world champion took the ring at the 14th case management conference before Mr Justice Vos in London to say that he was not accepting a “derisory offer” of £21,000 to settle his case.

    Reading from notes in a room packed with around 100 lawyers and media, he said that the newspaper group had “made a mockery of the justice system here in the UK”.

    Interviewer: What do you believe is behind this recent increase in terrorist bombings? Helpmann: Bad sportsmanship

    by ceebs on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 08:05:35 AM PDT

  •  and on (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BlueStateRedhead, Creosote

    the Mail's attack on Hacked off

    Twitter / davidleigh3: Usual conspiracy rubbish from ...

    Usual conspiracy rubbish from the Mail, which passionately believes in the stupidity of its readers http://bit.ly/WxwhOf  via

    Interviewer: What do you believe is behind this recent increase in terrorist bombings? Helpmann: Bad sportsmanship

    by ceebs on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 08:13:56 AM PDT

  •  and further comments (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BlueStateRedhead, Creosote

    Leveson’s legal backstop is aimed at a rogue press – not a free press - Comment - Voices - The Independent

    I was the lunch guest of a roomful of journalists the other day, most of them retired now, a few of them old acquaintances from Fleet Street days.

    I believe I disappointed some of them. Thanks to a few lines from my 35 year-old play Night and Day, flatteringly recalled among the company and recently dusted off in theLeveson hubbub, they had me down as an all-or-nothing man on press freedom. “No matter how imperfect things are”, says my young reporter, “if you’ve got a free press everything is correctable, and without it everything is concealable.” As for what he calls “junk journalism”, that’s “the price you pay for the part that matters”.

    Simple enough. We all know what we mean by the part that matters. Back in 1978 I was probably thinking of the Sunday Times’s campaign for thalidomide victims. Now I’m thinking of the Daily Mail’s campaign following the murder of Stephen Lawrence, capped triumphantly only three days ago when one of the murderers abandoned his appeal; but there are many stories I could cite right across the spectrum of newspaper titles.

    Interviewer: What do you believe is behind this recent increase in terrorist bombings? Helpmann: Bad sportsmanship

    by ceebs on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 08:17:06 AM PDT

  •  In the first block quite in the diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BlueStateRedhead, glitterscale

    I noticed the word "telephone" and it reminded me of earlier discussions here on the possibility that some information was so hotly desired that "loss" of a phone got stretched into theft, possibly carried out by elements that then sold the phones to the media -- with the media making it known they were up to buy.

    in June 2012 police notified her that they had "obtained evidence that The Sun newspaper had accessed her text messages from about October 2010" and "appeared to have accessed and/or acquired her mobile phone".
    The loss of this phone seems to be a matter of forgetting, but I thought I'd add this here as a reminder of earlier posts on these phone questions.
    •  Your are 10k times right, we need a refresher on (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Creosote, glitterscale

      phone theft. IANAL, less so a British one, you seem to be rightly reminding us that

      1. there are lots.
      2.  out and out stealing and then hacking thereof must raise the number and perhaps seriousness of criminal offences
      3. so we should focus on these.

      FWIW, here's what I remember

      1. an ex-MP (also female) who testified to Leveson about the stealing of her brief bag and thus phone while travelling for the Commons....long ago under Labour..not found...

      2. another case, a  phone turned in as "found" belonging to male MP still sitting  ...who had a special HP encoding...had attempted tampering...

      more I cannot remember

      "Are you bluish? You don't look bluish," attributed to poet Roger Joseph McGough, for the Beatles' Yellow Submarine (1968).

      by BlueStateRedhead on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 09:01:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I can think (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BlueStateRedhead, Creosote

        of 4 or 5 off the top of my head

        older articles are interesting on this one however

        Sun ordered to explain what happened to phone allegedly stolen from MP | Media | guardian.co.uk

        McDonagh's phone was allegedly stolen in October 2010. But it did not emerge that it had been handed over to the Sun by an unidentified individual until the Metropolitan police discovered the connection this summer as part of its Operation Tuleta investigation into alleged computer hacking and other criminal breaches of privacy bynewspapers.

        Details on the case have so far been scant, but in a 45-minute hearing at the high court on Wednesday, it became evident that the phone had not been handed back to McDonagh and News Group Newspapers, the News International subsidiary that publishes the Sun, has been given 21 days to explain what happened to it.

        Vos said the paper might say "we chucked it away in a bin or never had in the first place" but that it needed to provide the court with details either way.

        Interviewer: What do you believe is behind this recent increase in terrorist bombings? Helpmann: Bad sportsmanship

        by ceebs on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 03:05:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  4-5 phones, why not 4-5 criminal charges (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Creosote

          ...for just plain receiving stolen goods against said journalists? Is it possible to explain that  to the poor Yanks without risk to your estimable self?  As the Google tells me that you no longer need a body to bring murder charges in England, certainly one does not need the cell phone to bring theft charges.

          BTW, it led me to learn that one of the bodies never found and yet charges were brought was that of a woman kidnapped in belief she was Rupert Murdoch's wife when she was in fact the spouse of his assistant....

          BBC on murder charges w/o bodies

          "Are you bluish? You don't look bluish," attributed to poet Roger Joseph McGough, for the Beatles' Yellow Submarine (1968).

          by BlueStateRedhead on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 08:12:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  well thats (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Creosote

            phones and laptops that have gone missing, who they have bee stolen by may be a different matter.

            Interviewer: What do you believe is behind this recent increase in terrorist bombings? Helpmann: Bad sportsmanship

            by ceebs on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 08:00:55 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  some fat fingered busy be[e]n up to no good? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Creosote

              For those joining us late, fat-fingered refers to the gremlin or murdoch associate who makes been come out bee when ceebs types on his phone.

              "Are you bluish? You don't look bluish," attributed to poet Roger Joseph McGough, for the Beatles' Yellow Submarine (1968).

              by BlueStateRedhead on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 12:42:32 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

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