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The ex-CEO of Mirror unaware of the phone hack, tells Harry about the process

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By Sam Tobin

LONDON (RockedBuzz via Reuters) – The former chief executive of the publisher of Britain’s Daily Mirror newspaper said the wiretaps made by reporters she employed were hidden from her, as she testified on Monday in a lawsuit brought by Prince Harry against the newspaper.

Sly Bailey – managing director of Trinity Mirror, publisher of the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Sunday People, between 2003 and 2012 – told the High Court in London that the allegations of illegal intelligence gathering were “a matter of great regret “.

“It’s pretty devastating as a CEO, actually, to be sitting here hearing this, and I’m deeply sorry and I apologize on behalf of the company,” he said.

“I hope people will understand that I was unaware of these activities.”

Harry, the youngest son of King Charles, and more than 100 others are suing Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN), alleging its stocks of hacking and other illegal behavior between 1991 and 2011, with the approval of senior executives .

MGN, which is owned by Reach and was known as Trinity Mirror until 2018, strongly denies the allegations.

Bailey said in his testimony that “despite our robust governance systems, a number of people on the editorial side of national publications have concealed their illegal activities from me and other colleagues.”

Pressed repeatedly by David Sherborne, a solicitor representing Harry and other plaintiffs, about what she knew about illegal activity on her records and what action she had taken to address it, she said she was not specifically aware of the allegations while she was chief executive.

Sherborne referred to a 2006 article in which a former MGN reporter was quoted as saying “many of the Daily Mirror’s stories allegedly came from hacking into a celebrity’s answering machine”.

The solicitor told Bailey the allegations must have been discussed by the Trinity Mirror board.

Bailey said he could not recall that they were, and in response to questions about why executives had not investigated further after three reporters were questioned but not charged, he replied, “I’m not a cop.”

She, she and former board members had been subjected to “terrible slander,” he added.

The case, which is expected to last around seven weeks, initially focuses on generic allegations against MGN before moving on to the specific claims of Harry and three other test cases.

Harry is due to testify in person in early June, the first British royal to do so since the 19th century.

(Reporting by Sam Tobin; editing by John Stonestreet)