UK’S CHAMP: Harrison is taking on a different kind of fight (photo credit: Emily Goodman)
NORTH WEST London-born boxing icon and Olympic champ Audley Harrison MBE has just been awarded financial damages, legal costs and a public promise that no future attempts to hack his voicemail messages would be made; during a case against MGN Ltd; publishers of the Daily Mirror newspaper and other titles.
Defendants MGN apologised for the actions of former employee and then-Sunday Mirror journalist Dan Evans which preceded Harrison’s 2004 admission to hospital on suspicion of a heart attack; as well as his permanent split from the BBC.
The evidence read, out in open court revealed;
“After hacking and listening to a BBC executive’s voicemail, The Sunday Mirror published a story indicating Audley was going to leave the BBC and join a Sky channel.”
Before these facts came to light, Harrison rightly describes himself as “unbeaten” and undergoing “intense” conversations with BBC Sport around the continuation of the three-fight contract which was in place at the time. For reasons unknown to Harrison in 2004, the publically-funded media giant broke negotiations by saying;
”We have decided to end our association immediately, there will be no more future fights on BBC.”
In response to the memory of this unpleasant news, the Heavyweight says;
“My heart sank to the floor…I was never the same.”
A later tip-off by the Metropolitan Police led Harrison to speculate that interference from MGN was the direct cause of the abrupt end to his relationship with BBC Sport and subsequent health issues.
The lawyer for MGN admitted there was “no legitimate justification” for the hacking or the employment of a private investigator; which Evans employed in order to learn more about the boxer.
Planning an in-depth interview with The Voice to discuss the impact of the case and what lies next, the 45 year-old sportsman shares with us that he is considering additional legal options that may be available to him.
This story is developing.