Court forces Mulcaire to say who hired him at NOTW
Private investigator loses his appeal in case brought by Max Clifford's PR consultant
James Cusick is political correspondent of The Independent and The Independent on Sunday. As an experienced member of the lobby, he has previously worked at The Sunday Times and the BBC. His career as a journalist has been split between print and television, including senior positions as producer with Sir David Frost and at BBC Newsnight. He is also an award-winning golf and travel writer, working for over a decade as the UK contributing editor for one of the USA’s leading golf magazines. He broadcasts regularly for the BBC and CNN. He lives in London.
Tuesday 31 July 2012
The names of senior journalists at the News of the World (NOTW) who commissioned the private investigator Glenn Mulcaire to hack phones must be handed to police, the High Court ruled yesterday.
The order by Mr Justice Vos means Scotland Yard will have full access to Mulcaire's witness statement in the case brought against him and the now defunct newspaper by Nicola Phillips, a former assistant to the PR consultant Max Clifford.
The ruling was made at a pre-trial hearing of the latest tranche of 50 civil actions filed against News International over phone hacking. It follows the decision by the Supreme Court to refuse an appeal from Mulcaire, who claimed that revealing who hired him would amount to self-incrimination.
The Met Police's counsel, Jonathan Dixey, revealed that further charges against Mulcaire and others could soon follow. Although Mr Justice Vos said that giving Mulcaire's witness statement to Scotland Yard would "not be duly unfair", he admitted it did contain "positive information" that may benefit current police investigations.
New charges were brought against Mulcaire by the Crown Prosecution Service last week in a list that included: the NOTW's former news editor, Greg Miskiw; the former head of news Ian Edmondson; and the former news editor and chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck. News International's former chief executive, Rebekah Brooks, and the paper's former editor, Andy Coulson, were also charged.
Ms Phillips began her legal battle against NI and Mulcaire in May 2010. She claims voice messages left by her clients during the time she worked for Mr Clifford were unlawfully hacked.
Although her case was one of the first brought against Rupert Murdoch's company, she has still to settle. Yesterday she told The Independent that after three years of stress and living with the continuing legal battle, she'd had enough. "I'm leaving the UK in January or February and moving to Los Angeles. Immigration papers are being finalised and I'm shifting my business to LA," she said.
In a separate development yesterday, The Sun's chief foreign correspondent became the eighth person to be arrested by the Met's Operation Tuleta probe into computer hacking and privacy breaches. Nick Parker, 51, was held on suspicion of handling stolen goods after arriving by appointment at a central London police station. He was arrested and questioned in February in connection with the Met's anti-corruption investigation into alleged payments to public officials. He was still on bail yesterday from the earlier arrest.
Scotland Yard said the arrest related to a suspected conspiracy involving the gathering of data from a stolen mobile phone. In July another Sun journalist, Rhodri Phillips, 35, was arrested by Operation Tuleta. His arrest is believed to be related to an order given to Mr Phillips by the paper's news desk, which told him to go and pick up a mobile phone alleged to have been left on the train by an MP and found by a member of the public.
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