Coronation Street star Michael Le Vell has alleged a “complete violation” of his privacy amid the ongoing phone hacking trial.
Le Vell, who plays Kevin Webster on the soap, is among a number of individuals who have alleged phone-hacking by journalists at the Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN), which publishes titles such as The Mirror, Sunday Mirror and the Sunday People, with MGN contesting the allegations at a seven-week trial at the High Court.
Le Vell – real name Michael Turner – is expected to give evidence on Monday (June 19), though his lawyer David Sherborne has outlined his case ahead of time, alleging that MGN published “highly private details” about his life by targeting him with unlawful activity over a number of years (via Sky News).
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Le Vell’s lawyers alleged that private information was published “for which there was no legitimate explanation as to how it had been obtained, but at the time he wrongly suspected those close to him”.
Among the stories highlighted as part of the case was one in the Sunday Mirror in October 1996 with the headline “Street star’s safe house”, which concerns the actor moving house after being burgled.
Sherborne told the court the story “contains highly private details about the burglary that occurred at Mr Turner’s family home”, alongside details of “financial assistance” from his niece to “buy a new house”.
Related: Hollyoaks star Nikki Sanderson receives apology from newspaper over private investigators
Another story published in October 2011 concerned Le Vell’s arrest on suspicion of a sexual offence, which he was later acquitted of, and quoted a “pal” of the actor commenting on what he had allegedly said.
Sherborne told the hearing that it was “incredibly upsetting”, and Le Vell “was blaming every Tom, Dick and Harry” for leaking information. The lawyer alleged the situation “bears all the hallmarks of unlawful information gathering”, and made Le Vell “feel sick”.
However, MGN’s lawyer Richard Munden described Le Vell’s case as “particularly weak”, saying some articles were published before phone hacking began or when it had “significantly dropped off”.
MGN has also claimed in its submissions to the court that call data evidence for the case is “a wholly inadequate basis on which to seek an inference of (voicemail interception) of the claimant”.
Related: Coronation Street star Michael Le Vell discusses long-term future on soap
Journalist Paul Martin also gave evidence this week, with one of his articles – which concerned Le Vell and some Coronation Street co-stars being refused entry to a Westlife concert – forming part of Le Vell’s complaint.
Martin, a former showbiz editor at the Irish Sunday Mirror, said he had “never hacked a phone in his life” and that it “wasn’t the culture in Ireland”. He said that the information for the story came from Westlife’s Shane Filan, who heard it as “gossip” from the group’s head of security.
As part of the trial, last month the court heard that Le Vell was accused of being a “mole” by his co-stars over his position as a union rep, which left the actor “absolutely devastated”.
The trial continues.
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