21 Dec 2011

Hacking denial made by Morgan

8:44 am on 21 December 2011

CNN anchor Piers Morgan has denied sanctioning phone-hacking when he was editor of the Daily Mirror tabloid in Britain.

He was giving evidence on Tuesday to the Leveson Inquiry into hacking and the behaviour of the press.

Mr Morgan told the inquiry he did not believe phones were hacked by the paper while he was in charge between 1995 and 2004.

However, he mentions the trick of phone-hacking in his own memoirs, so was challenged on whether that meant he had known about it for some time.

In The Insider: The Private Diaries of a Scandalous Decade, Mr Morgan says he became aware of phone hacking in 2001.

Mr Morgan was also editor of the Daily Mirror between 1995 - 2004. He told the inquiry via video link from the United States that he does not believe phone hacking took place at the paper while he was in charge.

Inquiry council Robert Jay QC asked about a recording of a voicemail message left by Sir Paul McCartney for his then-wife Heather Mills when the couple were suffering marriage problems.

Mr Morgan said he had listened to a tape of Ms Mills' message, but repeatedly refused to give details of how he came to listen to it.

He said: ''I can't discuss where was played that tape or who played it - it would compromise a source.''

The BBC reports Inquiry chairman Lord Justice Leveson said he was happy to call Ms Mills to see whether she had granted permission for the message to be listened to.