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08 February 2012, 15:32

Editor of The Times admits to unlawful email access by journalist

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At the ongoing Leveson Inquiry in London, the editor of The Times, James Harding, has apologised after admitting that a Times journalist had hacked the email account of police officer Richard Horton, and subsequently named him as the anonymous blogger behind the NightJack blog. It has not been revealed how the journalist, Patrick Foster, managed to gain illegal access to the email account.

The Times named Horton in 2009, having managed to overturn an injunction that sought to prevent it from doing so. Part of The Times's argument had been that the information was in the public interest and had been obtained by legitimate journalistic methods; however, according to a report on NakedSecurity, the attempt to overturn the injunction took place after The Times management had been informed that the reporter had accessed Horton's email account.

The injunction had been overturned in a ruling by Mr Justice Eady, to whom James Harding wrote yesterday apologising for the fact that the full details about the source for the story were not disclosed to the court at the time of the hearing. Harding claimed that he, and the deputy and managing editors of The Times, had been unaware of the improper email access at the time.

Horton's blog, in which he wrote under the pseudonym Jack Night about his experiences as a police officer, was awarded the Orwell Prize for Blogs in 2009.


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