Taylor Hampton advises as NightJack launches action against The Times

Taylor Hampton partner Mark Lewis and consultant Patrick Daulby are representing hacked NightJack blogger Detective Constable Richard Horton in legal action against The Times.

Mark Lewis
Mark Lewis

The Lawyer understands Horton, who works for Lancashire Police, has filed a legal claim against the publisher of the newspaper after a reporter illegally accessed his email account to reveal his identity as an anonymous, award-winning political blogger.

Lewis, who is currently in the US as he pursues separate action on behalf of American citizens who claim to have had their phones hacked by News International (12 April 2012), is acting on the case, with consultant Daulby. Lewis declined to comment.

Daulby said: “We’ve instructed Jeremy Reed of Hogarth Chambers who is now going through the particulars of the claim which will be served shortly. Then they’ll have to serve their defence.

“We’re dealing with a lot of cases like this. We have the expertise for this type of litigation. It’s similar to the phone-hacking claims.”

Daulby confirmed that Horton is claiming aggravated and exemplary damages from Times Newspapers for breach of confidence, misuse of private information and deceit.

Daulby said there was no figure put in the claim and added: “This concerns the circumstances in which the computer was hacked and the misleading information that was filed in the original action.”

He also confirmed that the claim is just against the newspaper and not the individual reporter Pat Foster or the paper’s then-legal director Alastair Brett.

After Horton was outed as the NightJack blogger in 2009 he was disciplined by his force and sidelined into a smaller department.

“It hasn’t helped his career,” said Daulby.

Daulby said he was confident of succeeding in a case where The Times had already made certain concessions in front of the Leveson Inquiry.

Reed at Hogarth has been involved in several phone-hacking cases. He is currently acting for Paul Gascoigne, Steve Coogan, Sky Andrew, George Galloway, Kieren Fallon and David Davies in phone-hacking claims against the News of the World and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire.

Last year it emerged that former TheTimes reporter Foster had admitted to bosses, including lawyer Brett, that he had hacked into Horton’s private email account before publication and that the paper had not made the High Court aware of that when it succeeded in overturning an injunction preventing it from naming NightJack.

Brett now works as a media law consultant and managing director at not-for-profit libel litigators Early Resolution CIC.

The Lawyer understands that The Times is currently dealing with the claim in-house.

Today Horton said: “I’m leaving all of this to my lawyers. I have no further comment.”