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LONDON – Mark Lewis, the lawyer who represented a number of phone-hacking victims in legal cases against News International, has told the Leveson Inquiry of his horror at finding his family had been put under surveillance by the newspaper publisher.
The father or four described how earlier this month he was shown a video by police — commissioned by News International — that included covertly-shot footage of his 14-year old daughter.
“That was truly horrific,” he said. “That shouldn’t happen to anybody’s child. I do my job but I don’t expect my children to be followed.”
The lawyer said the surveillance had taken place in April or May of 2010. The Inquiry heard it was used by former News of The World legal manager Tom Crone and Julian Pike, a partner at the respected legal firm Farrer & Co, and had been carried out by private investigator Derek Webb.
Calling the action “sickening” Lewis went on: “That video was sat in the office [of News International] at Wapping. They should be ashamed of themselves. They had no right. [Seeing it] was a horrific moment.”
Lewis went on to comment on a number of documents shown to the Leveson Inquiry, apparently showing that News International had tried to find information about Lewis’ private life so that it could be used to put pressure on him to drop cases acting for hacking victims.
He was shown documents which suggested the same was true of other solicitors, Charlotte Harris and Mark Thomson, who were also taking cases to court accusing in News International of phone hacking.
One of the documents submitted to the Inquiry said, ‘The News of The World is planning to use these tensions and motivations as a way to force compromise and settlement.”
Lewis said that the lengths News International had gone to try to destroy his career were “staggering.”
“They sought to destroy my life and very nearly succeeded, “ Lewis told the Inquiry.
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