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Rupert Murdoch and the Corruption of the British Media

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It has gradually emerged why the police decided not to bring charges against other journalists working for the News of the World. In the originally investigation in 2005 the police discovered that Vodafone, Orange and O2 had evidence that over 100 customers had their phones hacked by the News of the World. This evidence would have resulted in the conviction and imprisonment of several journalists. Instead, the police decided not to prosecute and encouraged the phone companies to destroy the evidence. They have now agreed to reopen the case but are unlikely to get convictions because the evidence has now been destroyed.

About a week ago I watched a video interview of a stakeholder in the wiretapping scandal who said that he was resigned to the fact that the wrongdoers had been given four years to get their stories right and destroy the evidence. For these reasons he thought that the chances of successful prosecutions had been greatly reduced. However, one never really knows in a situation like this what may suddenly emerge and change the outcome. [Two examples: Whittaker Chambers hid his evidence in the Alger Hiss case in a hollowed out pumpkin in a field on his Maryland farm. Robert Merritt placed his evidence of government agents' wrongdoing in COINTELPRO in his mother's casket just before it was lowered into the ground in April 1972.]

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Just posted on the BBC Website:


MPs have been briefed on the legality of phone hacking as they conduct an inquiry into claims that the practice has been widespread among journalists.

The Home Affairs Select Committee has published written evidence it received...

The former editor of News of the World, Andy Coulson, quit his job as the prime minister's director of communications last month, blaming the phone-hacking scandal at the paper for making it hard to focus on his government role.

Ex-News of the World staff say hacking was rife when Mr Coulson was editor, but he has repeatedly denied that he was aware of the practice.

Freelance journalist Paul McMullan said he worked at News of the World for 18 months. In his submission, published on the Home Affairs Select Committee website, he wrote: "For what it is worth Andy Coulson knew a lot of people did it at The Sun on his "Bizarre" column and after that at NOTW. As he sat a few feet from me in the newsroom he probably heard me doing it, laughing about it etc and told others to do it."

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Andy Coulson knew about phone hacking, ex-colleague told MPs

Former News of the World executive said ex-editor probably told others to use illegal technique

By James Robinson and Nicholas Watt

guardian.co.uk, Friday 4 February 2011 20.30 GMT

Andy Coulson was aware that phone hacking was taking place at Rupert Murdoch's newspaper empire and "told others to do it", a former executive at the News of the World told MPs.

In written evidence given to the home affairs select committee and published for the first time today, Paul McMullan, a former features executive and investigative journalist at the title, said former editor Coulson "knew a lot of people" used the technique when Coulson worked at sister paper the Sun. He joined the News of the World in 2003, where he worked alongside McMullan for 18 months.

McMullan said: "As he sat a few feet from me in the [News of the World] newsroom he probably heard me doing it, laughing about it … and told others to do it".

Coulson, who last month quit as David Cameron's director of communications, worked at the Sun for more than a decade before joining the News of the World.

"Andy Coulson knew a lot of people did it at the Sun on his Bizarre [showbiz] column and after that at the NOTW," McMullan claimed.

McMullan, who is now a pub landlord, also described a flourishing trade in private information at the News of the World, which he said was regularly supplied with details of celebrities' medical records and mobile phone pin numbers.

"People who worked for Vodaphone [sic] etc would sometimes ring up the newsdesk offering to sell numbers and codes of stars' phones," he said, "as indeed people at the tax office, people in doctors' receptions."

In separate evidence also published today, Vodafone told the committee: "A small minority of customers were targeted by unscrupulous individuals."

The company said it had passed all evidence to the police during their 2006 investigation into phone hacking carried out by former News of the World journalist Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire.

McMullan told the Guardian last year that Coulson must have been well aware the practice was "pretty widespread".

Coulson has continued to deny this.

The director of public prosecutions, Keir Starmer, also confirmed in written evidence to MPs he has instructed the Crown Prosecution Service to adopt a far broader definition of what constitutes illegal phone hacking. This decision makes fresh prosecutions more likely. The CPS announced a new investigation into phone hacking last month. News International says McMullan's evidence is unreliable and will demand evidence is withdrawn or corrected.

The home affairs committee will publish its report into unauthorised phone hacking in the spring.

David Cameron was, meanwhile, accused tonight of "breathtaking arrogance" for refusing to answer questions about his links

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Phone hacking: Coulson taped backing sacked News of the World executive

Former No 10 PR chief Andy Coulson caught on tape saying Ian Edmondson was 'a great operator' who was 'doing a brilliant job'

By James Robinson guardian.co.uk,

Monday 7 February 2011 10.44 GMT

Andy Coulson told a reporter at the News of the World he had "total and complete faith in" Ian Edmondson, the news executive sacked by the paper last month for ordering a private investigator to hack into mobile phones.

Coulson describes Edmondson as "a great operator" who is "doing a brilliant job" in a conversation with an unnamed reporter at the title, a recording of which has been obtained by Channel 4's Dispatches, to be shown tonight.

Coulson edited the News of the World for four years until January 2007. He resigned after the paper's royal editor, Clive Goodman, was jailed for illegally intercepting voicemails left on mobile phones belonging to members of the royal household. Glenn Mulcaire, an investigator on the paper's books, was also sent to prison.

The tape, made by a former journalist without Coulson's knowledge at some point during his editorship, also records Coulson telling the reporter: "I need more stories. I need more exclusives and I need it to be self-generated stuff." The two men do not discuss phone hacking, but Dispatches says other recordings exist which "might provide damning evidence".

Coulson stepped down as David Cameron's communications director last month, saying coverage of the phone-hacking affair had made it impossible to do his job. He maintains he knew nothing about phone hacking at the paper.

The News of the World last month gave emails retrieved from Edmondson's computer to the Metropolitan police, which reopened an investigation into alleged phone hacking at the title the same day.

Separately, the News of the World's chief reporter, Neville Thurlbeck, has been named in evidence submitted to parliament as an executive who organised "endemic" phone hacking at the paper.

Max Mosley, former president of the FIA, the motor racing governing body, told the home affairs select committee that Thurlbeck was one of several senior journalists at the title who issued "instructions to hack phones". He told MPs that Thurlbeck, who is still employed by the paper, "commissioned potentially illegal investigations" by Mulcaire.

In written evidence published on the committee's website, Mosley said the Metropolitan police had recovered documents from Mulcaire's home in the course of the 2006 investigation leading to his arrest and that they proved Thurlbeck had instructed the private investigator to hack into phones belonging to public figures.

"Even a cursory examination of these papers will have identified a number of NoW journalists who had commissioned potentially illegal investigations by Mulcaire," Mosley said.

"There appears to be endemic criminality on a significant scale within the News Group organisation."

He added: "It must have been clear to [the police] on the face of the papers seized from Mulcaire, that instructions to hack phones came from journalists other than Goodman, including the NoW news editor, Ian Edmondson, and the NoW chief reporter, Neville Thurlbeck."

A growing number of well-known figures are suing the paper's owner News Group, part of Rupert Murdoch's media empire. They include actor Sienna Miller, comedian Steve Coogan, former Sky Sports pundit Andy Gray and sports agent Sky Andrew.

Evidence of Thurlbeck's involvement in the practice has emerged previously. The Guardian published an email 18 months ago that was sent to Mulcaire by a reporter on the News of the World which contained a transcript of hacked voicemails and the message: "Hello, this is the transcript for Neville."

A spokesman for News International said: "If presented with any evidence of further wrongdoing, we will act quickly and decisively on it."

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Phone hacking: more public figures may have been victims, say police

Scotland Yard announces 'important and immediate new line of inquiry' in investigation into News of the World case

By James Robinson

guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 9 February 2011 18.08

The Metropolitan police has announced that more public figures may have been the victims of phone hacking than previously thought.

After reviewing existing and new evidence, Scotland Yard admitted it may have misinformed potential hacking victims by telling them they had not been targeted by the News of the World.

Scotland Yard said in a statement it had begun reviewing new evidence handed over by the paper's owner News International. It is also looking again at the contents of notebooks seized in 2005 from Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator employed by the title.

"As a result, the team have... identified some individuals who were previously advised that there was little or no information held by the MPS [Metropolitan Police Service] relating to them within the case papers", the force said.

It added it was unclear at this stage if mobile phones belonging to those individuals had been hacked by Mulcaire, but it would be notifying them all as a matter of urgency as it begins what it described as an "important and immediate new line of enquiry".

The evidence handed over by News International includes emails sent by Ian Edmondson, the news editor it sacked last month, and retrieved from his work computer during an internal inquiry.

The Met also said it would contact everyone who it believed may have had their phones hacked. That marks a dramatic change of policy for the Met. Previously, only a handful of people had been informed they were targeted by Mulcaire, who was jailed for illegally intercepting voicemail messages on phones belonging to members of the royal family.

Scotland Yard is now taking a more proactive approach by undertaking to contact all those who it believes may have been hacked, which could include hundreds of well know people.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers, who is leading the new police investigation, said: "We will be as open as we can be and will show them all the information we hold about them, while giving them the opportunity to tell us anything that may be of concern to them".

She added: "In time, we will go beyond this group of individuals and make contact with everyone who had some of their personal contact details found in the documents seized in 2005. This will ensure all of those who have been affected in some way are made aware of the information we have found relating to them."

A freedom of information request submitted by the Guardian revealed Mulcaire's notebooks contain the mobile phone numbers belonging to thousands of individuals.

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Now Met Police probes 'The Sun' after union chief raises concerns

By Cahal Milmo, Martin Hickman and Louise Sheridan

The Independent

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Detectives are looking into allegations that a second newspaper at Rupert Murdoch's News International may have used hacked voicemails to publish stories about the private life of a prominent public figure.

Andy Gilchrist, a former union leader, has asked Scotland Yard to investigate his belief that interception of his mobile phone messages led to negative stories about him appearing in The Sun at the height of an acrimonious national strike by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU).

He is the first public figure to suggest that the illegal technique was carried out for stories that ran in News International's best-selling daily title, rather than its Sunday red-top, the News of the World (NOTW).

One of the stories, headlined "Fire strike leader is a love cheat", appeared in The Sun during the first week of its editorship by Rebekah Brooks following her transfer from the NOTW.

As News International's chief executive, Ms Brooks, née Wade, is leading the company's defence against claims that phone hacking was rife at its headquarters in Wapping, east London.

Publicly vowing to root out wrongdoing, News International last month passed new evidence about the practice at the NOTW to the Met, prompting Acting Commissioner Tim Godwin to open a new inquiry which he said would leave "no stone unturned".

So far The Sun has been untainted by the scandal. News International said yesterday there was no evidence to support Mr Gilchrist's suspicions.

Mr Gilchrist, former general secretary of the FBU, contacted the Yard last year to ask whether his details had been logged by Glenn Mulcaire, a private detective employed by the NOTW who was jailed in 2007 for hacking the voicemails of aides to the Royal Family.

The Met told Mr Gilchrist in October 2010 that searching Mulcaire's hacking notes for his name would be problematic. But the force took a more urgent approach in a second letter to him dated 24 December, apologising for the delay and saying it would contact him with its findings as soon as possible. Mr Gilchrist is waiting to hear its response.

He told The Independent he had strong suspicions that The Sun's coverage of his extramarital affair was written after his voicemails were accessed during a long pay dispute in 2002 and 2003 which led to a strike.

In a strident campaign, The Sun criticised him for leading the strike, which resulted in soldiers being drafted in to cover in the run-up to the Iraq War.

"I have no doubt that during the 2002 and 2003 dispute I was the subject of a considerable amount of newspaper skulduggery," Mr Gilchrist said.

"It was a highly politically-charged situation at the time, very personal, and I have well-founded suspicions that information was obtained from my voicemails that led to stories in The Sun about my private and professional life. I have asked the police to investigate whether my name appears on the information they hold from Mr Mulcaire and they have said they are now consulting those records."

A front page on 20 January 2003 revealed his relationship with Tracey Holland, a former firefighter in North Wales. Published six days after Ms Brooks became editor of The Sun, the article included an account of the year-long affair by Ms Holland.

Ms Holland told The Independent this week that when she was approached by The Sun, the paper already had considerable detail about her relationship with Mr Gilchrist. "When they first came to me it was made clear that they knew all about it," she said.

"They had lots of information about how long we'd been together. Messages would have been left but I don't know if that is how knowledge of us got out."

A News International spokesman said there was no substance to Mr Gilchrist's claims: "There is absolutely nothing to suggest the appearance of these articles was linked to the interception of voicemail. News International has made it clear that, if there is any evidence of wrongdoing, swift and decisive action will be taken."

Fireman who felt heat of the media

For Andy Gilchrist's pursuers in the right-wing press it was manna from heaven. The leader of striking firefighters decried in headlines as a "Flaming Idiot" had spent £817 on a sumptuous Indian meal with companions and used his union debit card to pay for it.

Critics were quick to point out that the £200-a-head meal in February 2003 at the Cinnamon Club restaurant in Westminster took place when some firefighters were accepting food hand-outs during a rancorous five-month pay dispute by the Fire Brigades Union.

It turned out, however, that although Mr Gilchrist had used his FBU Visa card to pay for the dinner, he contacted the finance department the next day and repaid the full sum within a matter of days – all before any media coverage. Rather than being a blow-out for Mr Gilchrist and union cronies, the meal was a private gathering of family and friends. Each participant refunded their share.

The story was one of a succession of "revelations" about Mr Gilchrist, the son of a merchant seaman and a dinner lady, during a bitter strike which saw him elevated to the status of socialist bogeyman. The Sun, a strident detractor, set the tone, saying he "talks and acts like a left-wing militant dinosaur from the Seventies".

Although claims that Mr Gilchrist attended a private school (he was a grammar school boy) and stayed in five-star hotels (he preferred Travelodge-style accommodation) did not stick, he was frank in his admission that he was a member of the union movement "awkward squad" that had little time for New Labour.

This made him enemies not only in the right-wing media but also the Labour government, where some senior figures took satisfaction from his discomfiture at the disclosures about his private life.

In 2005, Mr Gilchrist was ousted from the leadership of the FBU but he can look back on 17 years as a firefighter with some pride. He was hailed as a hero in 1991 when he rescued a family of three from a burning flat, entering the building four times to ensure no one was trapped.

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The reopened police investigation into phone hacking by News of the World journalists has identified a number of new potential victims. This includes John Prescott, who was a government cabinet minister at the time. Since the scandal broke Prescott has been trying to find out if his phone was hacked. This idea was dismissed by Assistant Commissioner John Yates. Now it seems, Yates was aware of documents seized from Glen Mulcaire that named Prescott as a victim. He also told a House of Commons committee that there was no evidence Prescott and other Labour politicians had their phone's hacked. Yates is clearly guilty of misleading parliament (in other words he lied).

Why would Yates be willing to risk his career in order to cover-up the phone-hacking story? Is it the same reason why Cameron was willing to employ Andy Coulson after he had been disgraced as editor of the News of the World? Is it possible that Coulson was also working for the Conservative Party in this phone-hacking operation. Remember, this was the point that Murdoch had decided to change his support from New Labour to the Conservative Party. The problem for Yates is that once you become involved in a cover-up there is no way out. The same is true of Cameron. Both men must be very nervous if this reopened police investigation is in fact determined to get to the truth.

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New head of hacking investigation 'critical of previous inquiry'

By Cahal Milmo and Martin Hickman

The Independent

Friday, 11 February 2011

The officer in charge of the new investigation into phone hacking told one of its highest-profile possible victims that she was "not satisfied" with the original police inquiry. John Prescott, the former deputy prime minister, said that Assistant Deputy Commissioner Sue Akers had expressed her dissatisfaction of the initial inquiry during discussion of the failings that led to officers not warning him that his messages may have been illegally intercepted while he was helping to run the country.

Lord Prescott, who has been told by police there is evidence that he may have been a target of the private investigator Glenn Mulcaire who was working for the News of the World in 2005 and 2006, heavily criticised the initial Metropolitan Police inquiry.

He also claimed that "hundreds" of journalists from across the newspaper industry had been engaging in phone hacking. "The papers have been at it for years," he told BBC Breakfast. "There have been hundreds of journalists hacking phones in all the newspapers."

After they went through the findings of the first investigation, officers from Scotland Yard working on the new investigation disclosed on Wednesday that they had identified individuals who had wrongly been told that there was little or no evidence about them in paperwork seized from Mulcaire's house in 2006. They are in the process of notifying up to 20 people that they may have fallen victim to the scandal.

The Metropolitan Police launched the new investigation last month after receiving new evidence from Rupert Murdoch's News International relating to the News of the World's former head of news, Ian Edmondson, who has been sacked by the newspaper. He denies any wrongdoing. Mulcaire and the NOTW's royal editor Clive Goodman were jailed in 2007 for illegally accessing the voicemails of members of the royal household.

Ms Akers visited Lord Prescott to outline the evidence found about him, which indicates he may have been targeted in 2006, about the time he admitted having an affair with his diary secretary, Tracey Temple. Lord Prescott – who has been seeking a judicial review of the initial police investigation – told Sky News that Ms Akers had told him she was "not satisfied" with the original police investigation. "She showed me substantial evidence to show the judgement that she wasn't satisfied with the previous inquiry," he said.

"She showed me evidence that my phones were involved in a hacking process, with messages from different people. It convinced her and me, as I've always suspected, that not all the evidence had been properly investigated."

He added: "If [the police] had my name on a list, why didn't they warn me? I was the deputy prime minister talking to the PM and the Chancellor and many other important people

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Slight tangent, but still Murdoch.


They announced a few weeks ago here, that they want to turn the flagship Sky News channel into "Fox News UK".

Thank the lords it's a pay service, and it's not inflicted on us if we don't want it.

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High court judge criticises police failure to fully investigate phone hacking

Comments come at pre-trial hearing for legal actions by Andy Gray and Steve Coogan against News of the World

By James Robinson

guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 15 February 2011 18.44 GMT

A high court judge has criticised the Metropolitan police for failing to adequately investigate allegations of phone hacking by the News of the World.

Mr Justice Vos made the comments at a pre-trial hearing for the legal actions by former Sky Sports commentator Andy Gray and actor Steve Coogan. They allege that the tabloid ordered private investigator Glenn Mulcaire to hack into their mobile phone voice messages.

"The Metropolitan police had not done an appropriate job in analysing phone-hacking... information in their possession," Vos said. "They didn't disclose highly relevant information."

He added that Scotland Yard had failed to fully comply with court orders requiring it to produce copies of Mulcaire's notes relating to the two men.

The Met reopened its investigation last month after fresh evidence emerged about the extent of phone hacking at the paper.

Vos also criticised the News of the World for doing "absolutely nothing" to shed light on which journalists at the title might have worked with Mulcaire.

"They may have been hacking into Mr Gray's phone for months and months," he said. "I don't know. We just don't know the full extent of it."

He said the paper's publisher News Group, part of Rupert Murdoch's media empire, had failed to hand over any material, including reporters' notebooks, in the course of the police investigation.

News Group argued in court that the case bought by Gray and Coogan is "speculative" because it cannot be proved Mulcaire listened to voicemail messages belonging to either of them. The company concedes he made notes of their numbers and account details.

"To say the whole case is speculative is frankly nonsense... to say there is not a shred of evidence is going too far," Vos said.

He cited evidence handed by the Met to Gray which showed Mulcaire kept detailed notes of his mobile phone account number, pin number and password.

Vos said: "Give me one possible reason why Mr Mulcaire would have held those pieces of information for any other reason [than to hack into Gray's phone]."

Mulcaire was jailed for six months in January 2007 for illegally intercepting voicemail messages belonging to members of the royal household and several other well-known figures.

The paper's former royal editor Clive Goodman also received a shorter jail term after pleading guilty to the same charge.

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Phone hacking: police hand over evidence they claimed did not exist

Lawyers for interior designer Kelly Hoppen claim material 'drives coach and horses' through News International's defence

by Nick Davies

guardian.co.uk, Thursday 17 February 2011 18.51 GMT

The Metropolitan police have been accused of misleading behaviour in the phone-hacking scandal after handing over evidence they had twice claimed did not exist.

The latest embarrassment for Scotland Yard was disclosed in the high court in the case of Sienna Miller's stepmother, Kelly Hoppen, who claims that a News of the World journalist, Dan Evans, attempted to hack into her voicemail. The court heard she was a tabloid target because of her friendships with the former England footballer Sol Campbell and with Madonna's former husband, film director Guy Ritchie.

The case also threatens to embarrass the NoW because the alleged hacking occurred in June 2009 – three years after the arrest of its then royal correspondent, Clive Goodman, who was jailed with the paper's private investigator, Glenn Mulcaire, on the basis that he was the only journalist involved in intercepting mobile phone messages. News International, which owns the paper, has repeatedly said that it does not allow illegal news gathering.

Hoppen's barrister, David Sherbourne, told the court: "This case is enormously important because it drives a coach and horses through the claim that has been persisted in by News International and its executives, that the criminal activities of Goodman and Mulcaire were purely historic, the isolated actions of one rogue journalist and his private investigator associate."

The court heard that Hoppen suspected her voicemail was being intercepted in 2009 because private information was being published while some phone messages were recorded as "old" even though she had not listened to them. After the Guardian disclosed the scale of hacking at the NoW in July 2009, her lawyer, Mark Thomson of Atkins Thomson, wrote to Scotland Yard to ask if the evidence which they had gathered from Goodman and Mulcaire included any sign that Hoppen had been the object of unlawful interception. After three months, the Yard replied that they held no such evidence.

In April 2010, after receiving several alerts from Vodafone about unsuccessful attempts to access her messages, Hoppen's lawyer wrote again to Scotland Yard asking if Mulcaire had held her phone number or other personal details. After a delay of more than eight months, they finally replied in January of this year, once again claiming that they held no such evidence.

But last week, Sherbourne told the court, deputy assistant commissioner Sue Akers, who is leading a new investigation into the hacking, had contacted Hoppen to disclose that, in reality, the Metropolitan police had found hand-written notes which were kept by Muclaire detailing her phone numbers and two addresses, her mobile phone account number and the four-digit PIN code which was needed to access her voicemail. "This is the work of a professional hacker," said Sherbourne. Police had now handed over six different pages of Mulcaire's notes about Hoppen which they had been holding since they raided Mulcaire in August 2006.

Sherbourne said it was "regrettable, to put it mildly" that the police had twice denied that this material existed. "It could and should have been provided earlier," he said. "The simple and unavoidable fact is that they misled Ms Hoppen." Edwin Buckett, representing the Metropolitan police, told the court that police had acted in good faith. He said the material taken from Mulcaire was in a chaotic state and some of it was indecipherable.

In March 2010, her lawyers also had obtained a court order requiring Vodafone to hand over material relating to unsuccessful attempts to access her voicemail. This disclosed that on 22 June 2009 – the day after the Mail on Sunday claimed she was having a relationship with Guy Ritchie – her mobile had been called twice by a caller who witheld their own number; hung up the first call when Hoppen answered; then called back, got no answer and dialled into her voicemail for 25 seconds. Vodafone disclosed that the calls were made from a mobile phone registered to News International in the name of Dan Evans, a feature writer.

Mr Sherbourne told the court that in the summer of 2009, past and present News International executives had told a House of Commons select committee that they knew nothing of illegal activity by their reporters. He added: "It was at the very time that News International executives were giving this evidence to the select committee that Mr Evans made his attempts to access Ms Hoppen's voicemail using a News International telephone."

Michael Silverleaf QC, representing Dan Evans, said the evidence clearly showed that Dan Evans had dialled Hoppen accidentally. Evans remembered nothing of the calls. The keys on his phone were inclined to stick and to dial numbers accidentally. The use of his own phone to do something which he knew to be illegal would have been "quite unbelievably stupid". A search of his office and home computers had yielded no sign that he was interested in Hoppen until he was told of the allegation against him. The one occasion on which he appeared to have dialled into her voicemail was "one rogue call which nobody has yet explained", Silverdale told the court.

Mr Justice Eady made an order for Scotland Yard to disclose to Hoppen all relevant material, redacting only the detail of PIN codes. Hoppen has also applied for disclosure orders against Dan Evans and the NoW

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Phone-hacking intercepts 'passed to more than one person'

Private investigator's statement 'blows apart' paper's defence

By Cahal Milmo and Martin Hickman

The Independent

Saturday, 19 February 2011

The News of the World yesterday faced damaging new allegations about how many of its senior executives knew about phone hacking, after the private investigator convicted of intercepting messages told a court that he supplied illegally obtained voicemails to its news desk, which was manned by "different people".

Glenn Mulcaire, who was jailed in 2007 for hacking the voicemails of aides to Prince William while on a £100,000-a-year contract with the Sunday red-top, said in a statement that he could no longer recall to whom on the news desk he had passed the intercepts.

The High Court in London heard that, if true, the private investigator's evidence suggested the involvement of several NoW journalists in hacking and was "devastating" to the paper's long-held insistence that the practice was restricted to a "lone rotten apple" reporter.

Mr Mulcaire said, in the previously unpublished statement to lawyers for the football agent Sky Andrew: "Information was supplied to the news desk at The News of the World. This was manned by different people, [Mr Mulcaire] cannot now recall who in respect of this claimant [Mr Andrews] he passed the information to."

Until last month, the NotW had insisted that the hacking was restricted to the former royal editor Clive Goodman, who was jailed along with Mr Mulcaire. The paper appeared to abandon that stance when it sacked its head of news, Ian Edmondson, who the private detective has now said instructed him to hack Mr Andrew's phone. Mr Edmondson, a close lieutenant of the NotW's former editor Andy Coulson, has denied any wrongdoing.

Lawyers for Mr Andrew, one of five public figures whose mobile phones Mr Mulcaire admitted to hacking between 2005 and 2006, said that, if proved correct, the private investigator's new testimony "hit for six" the defence of the NoW, whose parent company News Group Newspapers (NGN) is being sued by the football agent for breaches of confidence and privacy over the unlawfully-intercepted messages.

Jeremy Reed, the barrister representing Mr Andrew, whose clients include the the former Arsenal and England player Sol Campbell, said: "I would argue this is devastating for NGN's defence. It strongly suggests the involvement of several other News of the World journalists. Put bluntly, it hits the NGN defence for six."

Mr Reed, who was applying for further evidence seized from Mr Mulcaire's Surrey home to be disclosed by the Metropolitan Police, said Mr Mulcaire's confirmation that he passed hacked voicemail messages to the NoW news desk – the part of the paper responsible for sifting and managing stories prior to publication – was a "mantra" which he repeats twice in his statement.

Following his arrest in August 2006, Mr Mulcaire, a former amateur footballer, formally admitted to hacking the phones of eight public figures: three senior members of the royal household; the publicist Max Clifford; the model Elle Macpherson; Liberal Democrat MP Simon Hughes; the former chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, Gordon Taylor; and Mr Andrew.

During the private detective's sentencing hearing at the Old Bailey in 2007, the court heard that the hacking victims who were not linked to the royal family would have been of little or no interest to Mr Goodman, raising the question of just who Mr Mulcaire was eavesdropping his other victims for. Lawyers at the hearing for Mr Mulcaire, who was on a £2,000-a-month contract to the NotW to provide legally obtained information but received separate payments for his hacking activities, said he was intercepting Mr Andrew's voicemails for "persons" at NGN other than Mr Goodman.

In a separate case being brought by Nicola Philips, a former employee of Mr Clifford, Mr Mulcaire has refused to say who at The News of the World instructed him to allegedly hack into her phone on the grounds that to do so would compel him to risk incriminating himself. The case is due to go before the Court of Appeal later this year.

In a statement responding to the Sky Andrew proceedings, News International said: "News International is aware of the information provided to the court and continues to be pro-active and cooperate fully with the relevant authorities regarding any ongoing investigations."

Earlier this week, it emerged that Kelly Hoppen, the interior designer who is a former partner of Mr Campbell, had been told by the Metropolitan Police that it held six pages of information on her from Mr Mulcaire's files, despite previously telling her on two separate occasions that she did not feature on the private detective's databank.

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Phone hacking: Mulcaire must reveal who hired him in Coogan case

Court orders private investigator to divulge identity of executives who commissioned him to hack Steve Coogan's phone

By Owen Bowcott guardian.co.uk,

Friday 25 February 2011 12.09 GMT

Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator at the centre of the News of the World phone-hacking case, has been ordered by the high court to reveal the names of executives who commissioned him.

The court ruled that Mulcaire, whose contract with the Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid was worth £100,000 a year, could not refuse to answer questions about his work on the grounds of self-incrimination.

In legal actions brought by the comedian Steve Coogan and the former Sky Sports presenter Andy Gray, Mulcaire must now respond to inquiries about the names of News of the World journalists who ordered his services and the identity of celebrities whose phones were hacked.

Coogan is suing Mulcaire and the News International subsidiary News Group for breach of privacy for allegedly hacking into voicemail messages left on his mobile phone.

Mulcaire has already admitted passing phone intercept information to several individuals working on the News of the World news desk.

Delivering judgment, Mr Justice Vos accepted that there was now "abundant evidence that Mr Gray's voicemails were intercepted and a strong inference that some misuse will have been made of the confidential information thereby obtained."

He added: "The 12 calls that have already been proved may well not be the whole story."

In terms of revealing the identities of the News of the World journalists who instructed them and the extent of Mulcaire's target list, the judge ruled that the convicted private investigator must answer virtually all the questions submitted by Coogan's and Gray's lawyers.

"These requests are relevant," Vos said. "It is alleged that [the News of the World and Mulcaire] were intercepting telephone voicemail on an industrial scale.

"It will be important to the claimant's case to establish the pattern of the ... interception activities. The general practice that Mr Mulcaire adopted in taking instructions from and reporting to journalists in admitted cases will... be relevant to the existence of the conspiracy alleged.

"The identity of the other targeted names and the people who helped identify those names and the manner in which it was done will be relevant to the conspiracy between News Group Newspapers [owners of News of the World] and Mr Mulcaire."

Mulcaire, he said, could not rely on "the privilege against self-incrimination" to refuse to respond to the questions. Only one request put by the claimants was disallowed on the grounds that it constituted a "fishing expedition".

Vos granted Mulcaire's lawyers leave to challenge the ruling on self-incrimination in the appeal court. The judge, however, refused permission to appeal over the issue of identifying Mulcaire's other victims.

Mulcaire was jailed in 2007, along with the News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman, for hacking into phones belonging to staff at Buckingham Palace. Mulcaire received a six-month sentence, while Goodman was sentenced to four months.

Lawyers for the Metropolitan police have claimed so many messages are being examined by the force's phone-hacking inquiry that it is difficult to identify every mention of a celebrity's name among "hundreds of intercepts".

The proliferation of legal actions generated by complaints against the News of the World is also in danger of congesting the courts with "parallel claims", the judge hearing applications for disclosure in three other cases has suggested.

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Doug, you seem to have missed the article by Nick Davies published on the 23rd February. The Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) have insisted on the publication of private meetings between senior police officers and leading figures in Rupert Murdoch's organisation during the phone-hacking investigation.

A month after the arrest of News of the World's Clive Goodman, Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Paul Stephenson, had a private dinner with the newspaper's deputy editor Neil Wallis. This took place at the time when Assistant Commissioner, Andy Hayman, the lead investigator in the case, decided not to interview any NoW employee other than Goodman, despite evidence that several journalists at the newspaper were involved in phone-hacking. After he retired, Hayman went onto work for Murdoch.

Since the investigation began Paul Stephenson had a series of dinners with Murdoch's chief executives. These continued after Stephenson was appointed as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.

In July 2009, Assistant Commissioner John Yates, was asked to reopen the investigation, following revelations in the Guardian about the case. Later that month Yates and Stephenson had a private dinner with Rebekah Brooks, former editor of the NoW and the Sun and now a senior executive with News Corporation.

In November, 2009, Yates had a private dinner with the NoW's new editor, Colin Myler and the crime editor, Lucy Panton. Soon afterwards, despite several new revelations in various newspapers, including the New York Times, Yayes decided to close the inquiry.

Commissioner Stephenson continued to have regular dinners with senior executives at News Corporation. The last of these took place in June, 2010. Two months later, despite the best efforts of Stephenson and Yates to cover up the story, it was announced that a new investigation into phone hacking was to take place. This time it was to be led by Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick. Because of the court-rulings quoted above, this time I think the investigation will probably lead to further arrests. This should include the arrests of Stephenson, Hayman and Yates for the perversion of justice - but unfortunately, such is the power of Metropolitan Police, this will not happen.

I wonder what would have happened if it was discovered that senior members of the Metropolitan Police were having private dinners with criminals they were investigating? Or maybe they do that as well.

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