Phone-hack lawyer to sue News Int over spy claims

Phone-hacking lawyer Mark Lewis plans to sue News of the World publisher News International for breach of privacy after it admitted hiring a private investigator to spy on him and his family.

NI has admitted that it was “deeply inappropriate” that the now defunct News of the World hired private investigator Derek Webb to tail Lewis and fellow lawyer Charlotte Harris.

Lewis today told Victoria Derbyshire on BBC Radio 5 that he plans to sue the company for breach of privacy, and also claimed to have seen police evidence showing NI also placed politicians under surveillance, including the Labour MP and hacking campaigner Tom Watson.

He said the documents appeared to show the surveillance had been ordered by someone at the company, adding: “I have seen Tom Watson’s name, and other politicians’ names have featured. This is a report that I have been handed by the police.”

Lewis, whose clients include the family of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler and football agent Sky Andrew, yesterday said the spying had included following and filming his former wife and children.

“It’s disgraceful,’he said. ‘No father wants his child surveyed – this is wrong on so many levels. It thoroughly undermines any notion of fair play.

“I am sure they were doing it in order to stop me and Charlotte Harris representing our clients. It was undoubtedly a fishing exercise.”

The NoW surveillance has been condemned by the Shadow Culture Secretary Harriet Harman.

She said: ‘These revelations take the shame of the phone-hacking scandal to a new low.

“Illegal acts intended to intimidate the legal profession are a fundamental attack on the rule of law.

“I am calling on the Law Society to submit further evidence to the Leveson Inquiry to set out to them how this fundamentally undermines the rule of law.”

  • To contact the Press Gazette newsdesk call 020 7936 6433 or email pged@pressgazette.co.uk

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