Sun ‘cover up’ – Political Editor Newton-Dunn sent ‘MP phone hack’ email

THE POLITICAL Editor and Editor of The Sun allegedly became involved in the cover-up of phone hacking, the High Court in London has heard.

Tom Newton-Dunn told his boss Dominic Mohan in a 2011 email that an MP was alleging his voicemails had been illegally intercepted.

However, Mr Newton reassured Mohan that the alleged victim wasn’t going to tell anyone – because he liked the paper.

In response, Mohan – Sun Editor between 2009 and 2013 – allegedly did not express surprise, or deny that phone hacking took place. 

Now lawyers for 49 claimants currently suing Rupert Murdoch’s publisher News Group Newspapers, say this absence of response shows illegal activities were a Sun newsroom cultural norm.

Yesterday, Byline Investigates reported how Mohan – who went on to ‘crisis manage’ TV presenter Caroline Flack’s PR before she killed herself in February this year – alleged used illegal private investigators as far back as 1995.

Dominic Mohan  in 2012 (inset) Tom Newton-Dunn in 2003 (c) PA
Dominic Mohan in 2012 (inset) Tom Newton-Dunn in 2003 (c) PA

In documents deployed at a virtual court hearing in the case of Various vs NGN Claimants’ barrister David Sherborne said Newton-Dunn’s email showed hacking was going on right up until 2011.

Five months after the email, it emerged sister paper the News of the World had hacked the phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, leading to its closure amid public outrage after 168-years in print.

If the Claimants’ inferences are true, it suggests Mohan knew of or participated in illegal activities for at least 16 years between 1995 and 2011.

Newton-Dunn’s employers NGN deny or ‘non-admit’ any wrongdoing has gone on at or on behalf of The Sun newspaper, as alleged extensively in litigation that has dogged Rupert Murdoch since 2011, and which this website has reported on throughout.

The matters are due to be tested among many more detailed in court in October in a ‘Generic Case of Concealment and Destruction’ that alleges a top-level mass cover-up of crime at the company.

The incident in question happened in March 2011 when Tom Newton-Dunn went out for dinner with the then Labour shadow defence minister Jim Murphy.

Excerpt:  Tom Newton-Dunn is mentioned in the legal case Various vs News Group Newspapers
Excerpt: Tom Newton-Dunn is mentioned in the legal case Various vs News Group Newspapers

Describing the email, obtained through disclosure in the long-running NGN phone hacking litigation, of which Prince Harry and Johnny Depp are part, David Sherborne said: “16 March 2011, the date is obviously significant.

“Mr Newton-Dunn, Political Editor of The Sun, to Mr Mohan, the Editor, in which he reports on the meal he had with the Shadow Defence Secretary, Jim Murphy, the night before.”

Mr Sherborne told how Mr Murphy allegedly revealed to Mr Newton-Dunn that his phone had been hacked just three weeks earlier – however he had decided to stay quiet about it.

Newton-Dunn allegedly wrote to Mr Mohan that Mr Murphy had: “revealed (v discreetly to us) that his phone answerphone was hacked three weeks ago, and he’s called the police.”

Former Defence Secretary Jim Murphy (c) Southbanksteve/ Flickr
Former Defence Secretary Jim Murphy (c) Southbanksteve/ Flickr

And then Newton-Dunn added: “Being a decent bloke who likes us he is not planning on telling anyone or making a big deal.”

The fact that Mr Mohan reacted without surprise to the revelation, said Mr Sherborne, was suspicious.

Mr Sherborne added: “We rely on…the absence of any response, (from) Mr Mohan, not least any response from Mr Mohan, saying, ‘What on earth are you talking about? We haven’t done anything..’ as being evidence that these activities were continuing, even until at least March 2011, and that is consistent with other material.’ 

More will follow on this developing case tomorrow.

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