Police probe Times email hacking claim

 

Police are investigating allegations of email hacking at The Times.

Labour MP Tom Watson has received a letter from Scotland Yard informing him that the newspaper is being investigated after admitting that one of its reporters tried to access a private account.

The Times named Lancashire detective Richard Horton as the author of the award-winning NightJack blog in June 2009 after the High Court refused to grant him anonymity.

James Harding, the paper's editor, told the Leveson inquiry last month that one of his reporters - named as Patrick Foster - was issued with a formal written warning for professional misconduct for gaining unauthorised access to Mr Horton's email account.

In a further letter to the inquiry, Mr Harding said: "When the reporter informed his managers that, in the course of his investigation, he had on his own initiative sought unauthorised access to an email account, he was told that if he wanted to pursue the story he had to use legitimate means to do so.

"He did, identifying the person at the heart of the story using his own sources and information publicly available on the internet.

"On that basis we made the case in the High Court that the newspaper should be allowed to publish in the public interest. After the judge ruled that we could publish in the public interest, we did."

Mr Foster has since left the newspaper, Mr Harding said.

In a letter to the Metropolitan Police last month, Mr Watson - a long-term campaigner on the hacking issue - urged officers to examine whether a crime had been committed and whether the court had been given the full facts.

"In an attempt to protect his privacy, the police officer in question sought an injunction," the MP wrote. "Far from putting forward a public interest defence, lawyers representing The Times claimed that the information was obtained through entirely legitimate means...

"I must ask that you investigate computer hacking at The Times."

A letter from Detective Superintendent John Levett to Mr Watson, published on the MP's website, said: "I write to reassure you that the concerns raised within your letters are under investigation and officers from Operation Tuleta are dealing directly with the victim."

A Met spokesman said: "We can confirm that a letter was received on Monday January 23 from MP Tom Watson.

"Officers from Operation Tuleta are in contact with Mr Watson in relation to specific issues he wishes to raise and we are not prepared to give a running commentary on the Tuleta investigation."

A spokeswoman for The Times declined to comment.

PA

News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
musicBand's first new record for 20 years has some tough acts to follow
News
peopleAt least it's for a worthwhile cause
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Life and Style
Sexual health charities have campaigned for the kits to be regulated
healthAmerican woman who did tells parents there is 'nothing to be afraid of'
News
Shoppers in Covent Garden, London, celebrate after they were the first to buy the iPhone 6, released yesterday
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
fashion
News
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments