Andrew Gilligan sued by businessman over email claims

Journalist Andrew Gilligan is being sued for damages over allegations he obtained confidential emails for a story published in the Evening Standard four years ago.

Businessman Peter Abbey accuses Gilligan of improperly obtaining passwords to access his emails, or receiving them from someone else with unauthorised access.

Abbey is a shareholder in Complete Leisure Group, a company set up to control Sebastian Coe’s business interests after London won the bid for the 2012 Olympic Games.

He is suing Gilligan and Associated Newspapers – former publishers of the Evening Standard – for £100,000, claiming Gilligan obtained a series of emails he had sent and received in August 2007.

Press Gazette understands that Gilligan and Associated will strongly contest the claims.

The story, which appeared in the paper in September 2007 and was taken down in August 2011, contained confidential information taken from some of the emails, he alleges.

Abbey contends the emails and information was obtained in breach of confidence and in breach of his reasonable expectation of privacy.

He argues that an email is inherently a private and confidential document and said each email contained a warning to third parties that the information within it was confidential.

Abbey claimed a quote from one email also amounted to a breach of confidence and that he suffered substantial distress and embarrassment.

Gilligan and Associated Newspapers have refused to hand over the emails, the writ states.

Abbey is demanding damages for breach of confidence and misuse of private information, has ordered forcing them to hand over the emails, and claims their actions constituted a breach of his confidence and misuse of his private information.

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