The Metropolitan Police has today provided a news briefing updating the position in relation to its new phone hacking investigation “Operation Weeting”. The briefing makes clear that investigators have identified “some individuals who were previously advised that there was little or no information” held by the police relating to them. The position of these individuals is being reviewed.
It seems likely that a number of cases will be reopened. The news briefing says that the inquiry team is has been able to make “new links”:
“The new evidence recently provided by News International is being considered alongside material already in the Metropolitan Police Service’s (MPS) possession to determine which lines of enquiry should be pursued as priorities. … Having begun an analysis of the documents seized in 2005 alongside the new evidence, the team have been able to make some links not previously identified“.
The news release goes on to say that, “at this stage”, there is no evidence to suggest that voice mails were hacked but this is “an important and immediate new line of enquiry”. As a result, detectives are taking urgent steps to advise individuals of this development “at the earliest opportunity”.
The head of the new investigation, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers, is quoted as saying that the police will show everyone who they have reasonable evidence to believe may have been hacking “all the information we hold about them”. She went on to say that
“In time, we will go beyond this group of individuals and make contact with everyone who had some of their personal contact details found in the documents seized in 2005. This will ensure all of those who have been affected in some way are made aware of the information we have found relating to them”.
Meanwhile, a number of other phone hacking stories have featured in the press in recent days. Tthe Evening Standard has reported that the police are examining claims that the “Sun” intercepted the telephone messages of the head of the Fire Brigades Union, Andy Gilchrist, in 2002 and 2003.
ABC News in Australia has an interview another apparent victim, with Mary-Ellen Field, who worked closely with Elle McPherson (one of those named at the original trial of Glenn Mulcaire).
On Monday 7 February 2011, the Independent reported that the former Home Secretary David Blunkett also believes he was a victim of phone hacking. Roy Greenslade points out on his blog, that Mr Blunkett is the fifth former Cabinet Minister to raise the possibility that his voicemails were intercepted.
Finally, the Press Gazette reports that former minister John Prescott is to renew his application for permission to judicially review the police handling of the phone hacking investigation after Mr Justice Mitting refused permission on the papers.