Court says PI must name phone hacking execs at News International

This could spell big trouble for some. The High Court has ordered the private investigator, Glenn Mulcaire, to reveal identity of executives at News International who commissioned him to hack Steve Coogan’s phone.

The Guardian reports that the court ruled that Mulcaire, the private investigator at the centre of the News of the World phone-hacking case, “could not refuse to answer questions about his work on the grounds of self-incrimination”.

“In legal actions brought by the comedian Steve Coogan and the former Sky Sports presenter Andy Gray, Mulcaire must now respond to inquiries about the names of News of the World journalists who ordered his services and the identity of celebrities whose phones were hacked.

“Coogan is suing Mulcaire and the News International subsidiary News Group for breach of privacy for allegedly hacking into voicemail messages left on his mobile phone,” the Guardian reports.

The judge, Mr Justice Vos, has also ordered Scotland Yard to disclose the information it holds on the latest public figures. These include former MP George Galloway, Paul Gascoigne, and Mick McGuire, former deputy head of the Professional Footballers’ Association.

According to the Independent: “Voicing concern that there was likely to be a steep increase in the 14 phone-hacking claims already before the courts, the judge said more needed to be done to prevent multiple court hearings on often identical issues and said “names of people who may be employees of the News of the World … or associated with the News of the World” should no longer be removed when Scotland Yard hands over Mulcaire’s documents to his claimed victims. Jeremy Reed, the barrister acting for Mr Galloway and Mr Gascoigne, said it was ‘ridiculous’ that such information was being routinely redacted by the Yard.”

Interestingly some Fleet Street veterans can not see what all the fuss is about when it comes to phone hacking, according to post on Roy Greenslade’s blog.

Many veteran Fleet Street reporters cannot see what the phone-hacking fuss is all about. I’ve had several emails from former colleagues telling me that I’ve lost the plot (nothing new there!) because intercepting voicemail messages is no different from the things they, or their staffs, got up to back in the day.

“The only difference is the technology,” wrote one. “I’m damn sure if we’d had mobiles when I was on the road we’d have been listening in.”