LONDON — Phone hacking was rife at U.K. tabloid the Daily Mirror under the editorship of Piers Morgan, a former employee testified Wednesday.
James Hipwell, a former business journalist at the paper, told the Leveson Inquiry, which is investigating press ethics and practices in the U.K., that Morgan was an extremely hands-on editor, and it was “very unlikely he did not know what was going on.”
Hipwell conceded that he had no evidence that Morgan, who now hosts CNN talkshow “Piers Morgan Tonight,” was involved in phone hacking, but said it was unlikely that Morgan had been kept in the dark.
“Nothing happened at the newspaper without him knowing,” Hipwell said, speaking under oath a day after Morgan gave evidence to the inquiry via video-link from Los Angeles.
Hipwell claimed that phone hacking was a “standard journalistic tool for gathering information” at the paper.
Hipwell was convicted in 2005 of illegal share dealing, after it emerged that he had made money by buying shares that were promoted in the next day’s paper. Morgan had also been investigated in same inquiry, but was cleared of wrong-doing.
In a further development Wednesday, Heather Mills, the former wife of Paul McCartney, stated on her official website that she had never disclosed to Morgan voicemail messages left for her by her husband. Morgan told the inquiry Tuesday that he had listened to a message left on Mills’ voice mail by McCartney, but refused to say how it had been obtained.