The UK Times of London has been sued for hacking e-mail, Bloomberg reported.
As we have written, the Times of London has admitted to hacking the e-mail of a man named Richard Horton, a UK detective who anonymously ran the blog Night Jack. The Times of London outed Horton and overrode his injunction bid for anonymity in 2009. The Times of London claimed it was in the public interest to report his identity, and revealed the use of e-mail hacking in an early 2012 session of the UK Leveson Inquiry into press standards and practices.
In February, Horton announced he planned to sue, and now he has carried through. According to Bloomberg, Horton’s “suit was filed after the Times failed to respond to a letter describing the claims.” His lawsuit is for “aggravated and exemplary damages,” News Corp-owned The Wall Street Journal reported.
The BBC noted that Horton’s Night Jack blog “won the Orwell Prize for blogging in 2009, but he has not written since his identity was exposed.” The blog, as the BBC explained, “chronicled his working life in an unnamed UK town with descriptions of local criminals and his struggle with police bureaucracy.”
In February 2012, the Times of London’s editor James Harding apologized for hacking Horton’s e-mail account. According to Harding’s account, reporter Patrick Foster hacked Horton’s e-mail and told the Times’ “legal manager” Alastair Brett” about the hacking.
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Harding claimed he wouldn’t have let the story progress if he knew at the time that Foster hacked e-mail, as we wrote, and apologized for the Times of London’s failure to provide the court “the full details about how the story was obtained” three years ago when it fought Horton’s injunction.
In a January session of the Leveson Inquiry, Harding referenced the Nightjack case but without details or identifying that the case he was addressing was the Nightjack case.
In March, Lord Leveson described the Times of London’s “legal manager” Alastair Brett’s 2009 statements about the case “utterly misleading” and “not accurate,” as we wrote.
In the March 15 session of the inquiry, Brett argued he couldn’t tell anyone about the use of e-mail hacking to get Horton’s identity because it was “confidential” and “legally privileged.”