Glenn Mulcaire challenges hacking rulings

 

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The Independent Online

The private investigator at the centre of the phone-hacking scandal today launched an appeal against orders that he cannot rely on privilege against self-incrimination in the proceedings.

Glenn Mulcaire is challenging rulings that he did not have the right to refuse to answer any question put to him - and will have to name who asked for information about voicemail numbers and who received the information.

The orders were made in response to applications made by comedian and actor Steve Coogan and PR consultant Nicola Phillips in the run-up to their civil damages claims for breach of confidence against both News Group Newspapers and Mulcaire, whom NGN had exclusively retained.

Mulcaire, who was jailed for six months in January 2007 for illegally accessing the voicemails of members of the royal household, was not at the Court of Appeal in London for the start of the two day case, which hinges on the construction of a section of the Senior Courts Act 1981.

A panel headed by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, has been told by lawyers for the Secretary of State for Business Skill and Innovation, an interested party in the proceedings, that the arguments in the appeal had a wide potential impact.

The appeal could affect the integrity and efficacy of civil enforcement in the many areas where potential parallel criminal liability for fraud or theft existed.

Information theft or fraud was an escalating problem, whether in conventional business or in those trading in celebrity, said counsel Thomas de la Mare.

The pressing social need addressed by the 1981 Act was the need to enable effective civil redress against this form of wrongdoing, notwithstanding its potential criminality.

The judges are expected to reserve their decision to a later date.

PA