British investigator gives hacking names to suspected victim
A British private detective has passed the names of staff at the News of the World paper who instructed him to illegally access phone voicemails to the legal team of a suspected hacking victim, his lawyer said Friday.
But the names of employees of the Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid, which was axed last month, would not be made public so lawyers for investigator Glenn Mulcaire have time to apply for a court order blocking their release, the lawyer said.
Mulcaire, who was jailed for six months in 2007 for intercepting messages on royal aides' phones, was ordered by a London court last week to reveal who instructed him to illegally access the voicemails of several people.
Media law firm Schillings won the disclosure order in February at the request of comic actor Steve Coogan, who believes his own phone was hacked, but Mulcaire had sought to appeal.
His solicitor Sarah Webb, from law firm Payne Hicks Beach, confirmed that the names had been passed on in a letter to Coogan's lawyers but said she could not reveal who the employees were because of "confidentiality issues".
Schillings, which is representing Coogan, has agreed not to reveal the names yet to allow Payne Hicks Beach to apply for a court order stopping their release.
A spokeswoman for News of the World publisher News International said the firm had no comment.
The phone-hacking scandal at the tabloid erupted into a full-blown crisis last month after allegations emerged that the paper hacked the phones of a murder victim and the relatives of dead British soldiers.
Murdoch took the shock decision on July 7 to axe the paper.
After Mulcaire and the News of the World's royal editor Clive Goodman were jailed, News International insisted that the practice of hacking was confined to the two men.
But evidence to the contrary prompted police to reopen their investigations into hacking in January and since then 14 people have been arrested by officers from the hacking probe and a related inquiry into alleged bribery of police.
© 2011 AFP