The Legal Action Against the Daily Mail Publisher: Some Notes on Sources

A much discussed press release from the law firm Hamlins:

Today a group of people have launched a legal action against Associated Newspapers, publishers of The Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday and the Mail Online.

The group behind this legal offensive are: Baroness Doreen Lawrence of Clarendon OBE; Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex; Sir Elton John and David Furnish; Elizabeth Hurley; and Sadie Frost.

These individuals have become aware of compelling and highly distressing evidence that they have been the victims of abhorrent criminal activity and gross breaches of privacy by Associated Newspapers.

The allegations include bugging, corrupt payments to police officials, impersonation to gain medical details (Hamlins declines to use the word “blagging”) and accessing financial records illicitly. Further:

It is apparent to these individuals that the alleged crimes listed above represent the tip of the iceberg – and that many other innocent people remain unknowing victims of similar terrible and reprehensible covert acts.

In response, the Daily Mail has released its own statement, although rather than just put it online it is presented in the form of a story as told to the paper’s chief reporter, Sam Greenhill:

The publisher of the Daily Mail last night unambiguously rejected ‘groundless’ and ‘preposterous smears’ after legal claims were lodged by a group including Sir Elton John, Prince Harry and Baroness Doreen Lawrence.

…Associated Newspapers said: ‘In Doreen Lawrence’s case, not only are these appalling and utterly groundless smears, they appear to rely on the word of Jonathan Rees, a man jailed for seven years for attempting to pervert the course of justice by conspiring to plant cocaine on an innocent mother in a child custody battle. As such they are, at once, totally untrue and highly defamatory.

‘According to a recent article by investigative journalist Michael Gillard, Jonathan Rees was paid an unknown sum of money to make these allegations by private investigator and self-confessed phone hacker Gavin Burrows.

‘He was, in turn, being instructed by ‘a group of lawyers with a pot of money to buy dirt about the Mail’.

The article by Gillard (on his Substack The Upsetter) can be seen here. Here’s his version of the detail that the Mail has seized on:

Gavin Burrows is the private investigator who approached Rees. He confirmed to The Upsetter that he paid Rees to download his brain but will not say how much, where that money came from and the identity of the female lawyer who he said instructs him.

Rees has not signed a statement about the alleged bugging of the Lawrences but has given Burrows details to investigate further.

Of course, this suggests that Rees has a financial motive to come up with material that might be untrue, but that’s hardly the same thing saying that he has been “paid to make these allegations”. Burrows has responded on Twitter:

the only time I ever paid Jonathan Rees was for information in regards to another paper. The Mail are already lying and embellishing which just shows you how low they will go. I have received a warning they are gunning for me!

Burrows appeared in the news last year, after saying that he had been involved with phone-hacking Prince Harry’s former girlfriend Chelsy Davy and supplying information to the Sun and the News of the World.

Gillard also now writes:

Mail still not responded to The Upsetter’s questions but have relied on aspects of The Upsetter’s investigation into the bugging claims in an official statement from the newspaper denying any involvement with notorious private investigator Jonathan Rees.

It should be noted that Gillard is not associated with press reform activists, and indeed is quite scathing about them.

It is not currently clear to what extent, if any, Hamlins are relying on Rees’ testimony, or what their evidence is.

The suggestion that Mail titles may have been involved in phone hacking was raised at the Leveson Inquiry in 2011 in relation to 2007 story in the Mail on Sunday about Hugh Grant and Jemima Khan. As reported in the Telegraph:

Mr Grant told Lord Justice Leveson about a “bizarre, left field” story about him, which featured in the newspaper in February 2007.He added: “I would love to hear what the (Mail on Sunday’s) explanation of that is, if it wasn’t phone hacking.”

…Mr Grant said the story claimed that his relationship with then girlfriend Jemima Khan was on the rocks because of his “late night phone calls with a plummy-voiced studio executive”.…The only explanation he could think of was that messages had been left on his phone by an executive’s assistant, who had a voice which could be described as “plummy”.

Grant sued for libel following the 2007 article and the paper (perhaps tellingly) decided to settle rather than defend its story in court. However, on the subsequent phone-hacking allegation, Liz Hartley, the head of Associated Newspapers’ editorial legal services, provided a counter-statement to Leveson that can be seen here. Grant has now Tweeted that he did not find the Mail‘s explanation to be plausible.


Jonathan Rees, of course, is notorious as the main suspect in the unsolved murder of Daniel Morgan in 1987, and his brother Alastair states that “the fallout could be nasty” from Rees’s involvement in the new allegations. Ironically (and as previously discusssed here), in 2014 the Mail ran an article that expanded on Rees’s defence narrative in relation to the killing.

The Daily Mail‘s crime editor Stephen Wright recently brought Doreen Lawrence together with Alaistair and other figures in a campaign against corruption and incompetence within the Metropolitan Police, as I discussed here.

One Response

  1. Did the institutionally anti-White police ever investigate, or the systemically anti-White “justice” system ever investigate, never mind prosecute, the Lawrence killers for the myriad crimes they committed against White victims?

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