Sheridan's lawyer claims phone may have been hacked

Police are investigating whether Tommy Sheridan's solicitor's phone was targeted by a hacker during preparations for the Scottish Socialist's perjury trial arising from his libel victory against the
News of the World.

Aamer Anwar, who represented Sheridan throughout his legal fight with Rupert Murdoch's top-selling paper over stories about his sex life in 2005, said his mobile phone company warned him last June that an attempt had been made to access his mobile phone messages and change his password.

He reported the suspected hacking to Strathclyde Police a month ago, triggering an investigation.

According to Mr Anwar, the hacking came at a particularly sensitive time in the legal proceedings against Sheridan for giving false testimony during his successful defamation action against the NOTW in 2006 over claims he visited a swingers' club and had adulterous affairs.

During the perjury trial Sheridan, who was convicted and jailed for three years in January, claimed the NOTW's owner News International had set out to "destroy" him and had used the services of the private investigator Glenn Mulcaire to hack into his phone.

Mr Anwar, a human rights lawyer, is the third public figure to come forward with claims of being targeted by phone hackers in the past 24 months, long after the practice was exposed with the conviction in 2007 of Mr Mulcaire and former NOTW royal editor Clive Goodman for intercepting the messages of aides at Buckingham Palace.

Kelly Hoppen, the interior designer and step-mother of actress Sienna Miller, is suing the NOTW and one of its reporters, Dan Evans, for allegedly attempting to access her voicemail in 2009. The newspaper and Mr Evans, who claims "sticky keys" on his phone may have led to an apparent attempt to listen to messages, deny the claims.

Tessa Jowell, the former Labour cabinet minister, contacted Scotland Yard in January after receiving a warning from her mobile phone company that someone had tried and failed to access her voicemail messages.

Mr Anwar said the timing of the incident involving his mobile phone had coincided with pre-trial proceedings under the Scottish legal system called commission hearings, at which evidence to be heard in the full trial is presented, giving a clear indication of how both prosecutors and the defendant plan to conduct their cases. In particular, he was seeking disclosure from the Metropolitan Police and the NOTW of key documents relating to Mr Mulcaire and allegations that witnesses had received payments.

Mr Anwar said: "I received an alert from Vodafone saying there had been an attempt to hack my voicemail and change my PIN. I do not know who was responsible for this and the police are investigating. The incident happened at a time when we were still getting information about the documents that would be used against Mr Sheridan.

"If indeed my phone was hacked, then that obviously has important implications for the vital ability of a lawyer to speak to his or her client without being listened to."

There is no evidence about who might be responsible for the hacking. A Strathclyde Police spokeswoman said: "Inquiries are still ongoing in this matter."

The Independent understands that detectives are awaiting the transfer of phone records from Vodafone which will reveal the number used to make the suspected attempt to hack Mr Anwar's phone. The ability of detectives to identify any individuals linked with that phone will hinge on whether they used an untraceable pay-as-you-go handset, a so-called "burner".

Phone hacking was an important issue in the perjury trial because it emerged that details about Sheridan appeared on the notes of Mr Mulcaire, prompting Sheridan to claim he was the target of attempted hacking.

Detective Chief Superintendent Philip Williams, who led the original Scotland Yard investigation into Mr Mulcaire, confirmed that Sheridan's mobile phone number, address and two PIN codes appeared in the private detective's records but said there was no evidence that the information was used to access his voicemails.

Andy Coulson, the former editor of the NOTW who resigned twice over the hacking scandal by stepping down from the newspaper in 2007 and quitting as David Cameron's spokesman in January, told Sheridan's perjury trial that he had not ordered Mr Mulcaire to intercept the politician's messages. He said: "I had absolutely no knowledge of it and I certainly didn't instruct anyone to do it."

The Independent disclosed last month that the editor of the Scottish edition of the NOTW, Bob Bird, had given inaccurate evidence to the trial when he said that "lots of emails" between staff and executives at News International had been lost in a data transfer to India. News International has confirmed that all electronic records are stored safely in Britain. Police are expected to request access to the archive in efforts to discover the full extent of the scandal.

people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballStriker in talks over £17m move from Manchester United
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
boksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor