In two important articles over the Easter weekend, Nick Davies of the Guardian has reported that CPS papers in 2006 suggested that the Police investigation into Glenn Mulcaire and Clive Goodman focused on a small number of cases and suppressed names of more prominent victims. See the articles here and here. In the main article entitled “Police ‘ignored News of the World phone hacking evidence’.” Nick Davies reported;
“In a further blow to the official version of events, the Guardian has discovered that although police and prosecutors named only eight victims in court, material seized by police from Mulcaire and the paper’s royal reporter, Clive Goodman, contained 4,332 names or partial names of people in whom the two men had an interest, 2,978 numbers or partial numbers for mobile phones and 30 audio tapes which appear to contain an unspecified number of recordings of voicemail messages.”
Whatever the complexities of the police investigation in 2005 and 2006 and the subsequent public statements by the police, it is significant that this major news story has largely been ignored by other UK print media apart from the Independent.
Just before Easter the PCC responded to criticism in the recent report by the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee ( reported in previous posts) in its letter to the Chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee.
“The Commission also wished to comment on the Select Committee’s remarks on phone message hacking and the PCC’s work in this area. It believes that your report mischaracterises what the PCC actually sought to do, which was not to duplicate the police investigation but to seek to ensure a change in practice at the News of the World, as well as to confirm best practice within the industry as a whole. The Select Committee acknowledges that standards have risen in this area, and the PCC has played a part in that.
That said, the Commission will consider internally whether it could have clarified its intent and role better, and has taken due note of how its work has been received in some quarters.”
In July 2009 News Corp issued a detailed statement about this affair, under the title “News International Statement on the Guardian Article”, a copy of which is available here. News International categorically denied that the police had found evidence of hacking into thousands of mobile phones or that ,apart from Goodman, police officers found evidence that other members of News Group staff hacked into mobile phones or accessed individuals’ voicemails. It was also asserted that the police investigation had started nine months before the eventual arrest in August 2006 and that the police had been monitoring Mulcaire and Goodman over that period.