News: Home Affairs Select Committee Publishes Phone Hacking Evidence

5 02 2011

On 4 February 2011, “because of the continuing public interest” in the subject, the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee published all the written evidence it has received to date.  The short written evidence of former “News of the World” journalist Paul McMullan has received publicity in some newspapers.  There were reports in the Guardian, the Independent, the Daily Telegraph, and in the Financial Times.   As usual, there was no mention of this “phone hacking” story in the “Sun”, “The Times” or the “Daily Mail”.

Mr McMullan’s evidence directly concerned Andy Coulson.  After saying that phone hacking was easy in the 1990s and that “many particularly showbiz journos did it” he went on to say:

Andy Coulson knew a lot of people did it at The Sun on his bizarre column [sic] and after that at NOTW.  As he sat a few feet from me in the newsroom he probably heard me doing it, laughing about it etc and told others to do it. I worked under Coulson for a year and a half at NOTW.

There are also “Memoranda of Evidence” from nine other individuals and organisations: Amberhawk Training Ltd, Nick Davies, Mark Lewis, the Information Commissioner’s Office, Keir Starmer QC,  Everything Everywhere (T Mobile and O2), Vodafone, Ofcom, Max Mosley,

In his evidence Nick Davies states that

Paperwork held by the CPS shows that police began their investigation in January 2006 by analysing data held by phone companies; that this revealed “a vast number” of victims and indicated “a vast array of offending behaviour”; but that prosecutors and police agreed not to investigate all of the available leads

He also draws attention to the fact that

Police chose not to seek a production order requiring the News of the World to disclose internal records. Instead, as evidence to the media select committee disclosed, they wrote a letter to the newspaper asking them for disclosure of a list of items. The newspaper refused to comply, and Scotland Yard accepted this without further action.

He also says that the police “chose not to interview any reporter, editor or manager at the newspaper other than Clive Goodman”.

In his evidence, Mark Lewis suggests that the Met approach to requests from potential victims “seems deliberately obstructive” and that they have made misleading public statements.

Max Mosley summarises his own evidence as follows:

“On the face of it, there appears to be endemic criminality on a significant scale within the News Group organisation and a failure by the Metropolitan Police to investigate, despite having extensive evidence of wrongdoing in their possession.  … what has happened is so disquieting that a full independent enquiry has become essential“.

This evidence was submitted as part of a continuing inquiry by the Committee into the issue of unauthorised tapping into or hacking of mobile communications announced on 7 September 2010. The inquiry is focused on the issues of:

  • The definition of the offences relating to unauthorised tapping or hacking in the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, and the ease of prosecuting such offences; and
  • The police response to such offences, especially the treatment of those whose communications have been intercepted; and
  • What the police are doing to control such offences

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5 02 2011
Tweets that mention News: Home Affairs Select Committee Publishes Phone Hacking Evidence « Inforrm's Blog -- Topsy.com

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10 02 2011
Midweek media law mop up: Twitter in court consultation; PCC’s Twitter ruling; Twitter in Supreme Court (bored yet?) | media law & ethics

[…] Inforrm>>News: Home Affairs Select Committee Publishes Phone Hacking Evidence […]

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