Royal editor suspended over bugging

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The Independent Online

The News Of The World has suspended Clive Goodman, its royal editor, following allegations of mobile phone hacking. The journalist is due to appear in court next Wednesday charged with one count of conspiring to intercept voicemail messages and eight counts of intercepting them.

The newspaper said it had suspended Mr Goodman, 48, from Putney, south London, pending the outcome of a police investigation, which was launched after members of the Prince of Wales' household reported alleged security breaches within the household's phone network.

The police inquiry, led by the Anti-Terrorist Branch, is now said to have widened and is examining whether public figures - including senior politicians, high-profile celebrities and footballers, or members of another royal household - had their mobiles hacked.

Goodman was held under Section 1 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 and faces up to two years in jail, a fine or both. Glenn Mulcaire, 35, from Sutton, has also been charged in connection with the allegations. Both men will appear at Horseferry Road magistrates' court on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the News of the World yesterday lodged an appeal against Tommy Sheridan's defamation victory. The move comes a week after the former Scottish Socialist Party leader was awarded £200,000 after winning his action against the newspaper over allegations he cheated on his wife Gail and took part in orgies.

Bob Bird, the editor of the Scottish News of the World, said he was was stunned by the verdict and that the jury's decision was "perverse". He said it suggested that 18 independent witnesses came to court and committed "monstrous" acts of perjury.

The outcome of the appeal may not be known for up to a year.

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