- SUN journalist Nick Parker allegedly targeted health-scare Royal for story
- HE tasked medical records ‘blagger’ Christine Hart to investigate female Royal family member, court heard
- AS well as cancer, Ms Hart was allegedly instructed to investigate womb procedure
- IT comes after Prince Harry launched separate but connected hacking case against The Sun.
- BUT the Murdoch tabloid denies – or does not admit – ‘unlawful information gathering’
A SERVING Sun journalist paid a private investigator £500 to ‘blag’ the medical records of a member of the Royal family, the High Court in London has heard.
Nick Parker allegedly tasked a specialist hospital ‘blagger’ Christine Hart to illegally snoop on the royal, who cannot be named, while they underwent a hysteroscopy.
The serious allegations came to light today during an interim hearing in the cases of 48 people suing The Sun’s publisher News Group Newspapers for phone hacking.
They form the fourth wave of claimants in a five-year legal saga that has seen Rupert Murdoch’s British media powerhouse exposed to a torrent of allegations of endemic criminal newsgathering in the 90s and 2000s.
The alleged criminal activity involving the Royal came to light when Mr Parker’s emails and expenses forms – on which he recorded illegal ‘blags’ in his own handwriting – were disclosed, giving a window on his work activities.
Referring to an expense claim Mr Parker, (pictured above) who is The Sun’s serving Chief Foreign Correspondent submitted to his Managing Editor for approval, claimants’ barrister David Sheborne said: “You actually see that a managing editor has read a page which refers specifically to obtaining, for example, the medical records of a member of the royal family having a hysteroscopy.”
Although the blag did not result in a published story, Mr Sherborne said The Sun still paid for the surveillance – and asked judge Mr Justice Mann to order the disclosure of more documents like Mr Parker’s October 2005 expense form.
Describing the evidence, Mr Sherborne said: “At the top there’s the reference to a cancer scare of a member of the royal family.”
Along with this, the document showed Mr Parker had written: “Meet with specialist medical records contact dinner.”
The court head this was a blagger called Christine Hart, who worked extensively for The Sun.
Also in October 2005, the documents suggest, Mr Parker allegedly met Ms Hart again, this time to ask her to look into a hysteroscopy, which is a womb examination.
Mr Sherborne added: “If you look down at the bottom, on 17 5 October 2005 there’s a second meet with the specialist medical records contact: ‘Confirm details of the hysteroscopy procedure performed on a member of the royal family’.”
Lawyers for News Group Newspapers (NGN), Rupert Murdoch’s company that owns The Sun, deny, or do not admit, any unlawful information gathering at The Sun.
The case continues…
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