Elton John was named among several celebrities who’ve launched a lawsuit against the owners of the Daily Mail newspaper.
Journalists at the British paper are accused of “gross breaches of privacy” in the legal documents, which follow a series of high-profile court cases in the U.K. that saw several publications found guilty of phone hacking. News of the World even shut down in 2011 as a result of the scandal.
John, his husband David Furnish, Prince Harry, and actors Elizabeth Hurley and Sadie Frost were named in the lawsuit. Hamlins, a legal firm representing some of the claimants – although not John – listed a series of accusations, including “the hiring of private investigators to secretly place listening devices inside people’s cars and homes. … The commissioning of individuals to surreptitiously listen into and record people’s live, private telephone calls whilst they were taking place. … The payment of police officials, with corrupt links to private investigators, for inside, sensitive information. … “The impersonation of individuals to obtain medical information from private hospitals, clinics and treatment centers by deception … [and] The accessing of bank accounts, credit histories and financial transactions through illicit means and manipulation.”
The Hamlins statement noted, “It is apparent to these individuals that the alleged crimes listed above represent the tip of the iceberg – and that many other innocent people remain unknowing victims of similar terrible and reprehensible covert acts. They have now therefore banded together to uncover the truth and to hold the journalists responsible fully accountable, many of whom still hold senior positions of authority and power today.”
Associated Newspapers Ltd. responded with a statement saying that “we utterly and unambiguously refute these preposterous smears which appear to be nothing more than a preplanned and orchestrated attempt to drag the Mail titles into the phone-hacking scandal concerning articles up to 30 years old. These unsubstantiated and highly defamatory claims – based on no credible evidence – appear to be simply a fishing expedition by claimants and their lawyers, some of whom have already pursued cases elsewhere.”
John has made no public comment, but media lawyer Jonathan Coad told the BBC that the alleged illegal acts were “highly intrusive” and a “means of delving into the private lives of people and private lives which are protected by statute and the human rights act and by the European convention on human rights. … So it is a gross invasion of privacy if these things occurred, and it would be absolutely right and proper if they did occur, that Associated Newspapers and hopefully some of their senior figures are held to account.”
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