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Ex-Mirror Group lawyer Marcus Partington probed by SRA over phone hacking knowledge after Prince Harry ruling | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker


The Solicitors Regulation Authority is investigating a former Mirror Group in-house solicitor named in the Prince Harry phone hacking judgment, the regulator has revealed. 

Marcus Partington was referred to repeatedly in the ruling handed down by Mr Justice Fancourt last month. The judgment stated that Partington ‘would have been aware’ of unlawful information-gathering from 1999 onwards and was aware of phone hacking activities from no later than the end of 2003.

This, the judge found, was as a result of his ‘legalling’ work – checking stories for legal issues before publication.

Fancourt went on to say that Partington had told group legal director and barrister Paul Vickers, who was a board director, so it could not be said that lawyers concealed what was happening from the company.

In a statement today, an SRA spokesperson said in relation to Partington: ‘We are aware of the issue and are investigating. We are gathering all relevant information before deciding on next steps.’

Partington, admitted in 1989, was in-house lawyer at The People from 1997 and then at the Mirror from 2002. He then became deputy group legal director of Trinity Mirror plc in April 2007 and group legal director from 2014 to 2021.

The Gazette has attempted to contact Partington for comment. He is listed on Linkedin as a freelance lawyer and has been a director of Ambersam Consultancy Limited since September 2020.

Like all practitioners, the 34,500 in-house solicitors in England and Wales must adhere to the SRA’s code of conduct.

The regulator has stressed that this part of the profession plays a key role in helping organisations to behave legally, fairly and ethically. The SRA said last year that in-house solicitors should ‘carefully consider how they can deliver organisational objectives while maintaining independence’.

Fancourt found that phone hacking and unlawful information gathering took place at Mirror Group Newspapers from the mid-1990s until 2011. Serial phone hackers used unlawful techniques ‘on a widespread and habitual basis’ and this ‘remained an important tool of the kind of journalism’ that was being practised at Mirror newspapers newspapers up to and to a limited extent even during the Leveson Inquiry into the conduct of the press. 

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