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Mail On Sunday staff facing hacking probe

Mail On Sunday journalists may be asked to appear before the phone hacking inquiry over allegations made by actor Hugh Grant.

It would be a controversial departure from the agreed legal framework, but the journalists could appear before the Christmas recess to be questioned over their sources for a February 2007 article which claimed Grant's relationship with Jemima Khan was "on the rocks".

The judge heading the probe into the activities of some UK media outlets suggested the inquiry might ask the relevant journalists to give evidence.

While Associated Newspapers' (owners of the Mail) counsel Jonathan Caplan agreed, the Mail On Sunday's managing editor's office did not disclose those responsible when contacted by journalists yesterday.

While the Leveson Inquiry was set up to probe mainly phone hacking by the News Of The World, the Mail was brought into proceedings this week by Mr Grant who claimed the source for a story about his relationship with Ms Khan was most likely his phone messages.

Meanwhile, the former business adviser of supermodel Elle Macpherson offered an insight into the "collateral damage" caused by phone hacking at the News Of The World.



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Mary-Ellen Field was a specialist in intellectual property rights when she was appointed as Ms Macpherson's adviser in 2003. The model's businesses were rearranged by Ms Field.

As the business prospered, their friendship also grew.

But in 2005 details of Ms Macpherson's private life in London began to appear in newspapers. Initially Ms Field tried to help the supermodel find the leaks.

Ms Field told the inquiry that when the blame eventually fell on her, she was "astounded".

Lawyers acting for Ms Macpherson gave Ms Field an ultimatum: she was accused of being an alcoholic who had spoken to the press, but if she went to a rehab clinic in Arizona she would not be fired.

She told the inquiry of the horrors she had endured at the rehab centre, which declared her not to be an alcoholic.

But when she returned from the US, both the supermodel and her employers, the accountancy firm, Chilterns, fired her.

When Macpherson was named as a potential phone-hacking victim, she realised the source of the leaks.

hnews@herald.ie


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