Bloomberg News

U.K. Lawmakers Criticize Police, News Corp. Over Phone Hacking

July 20, 2011

(For more coverage of News Corp., see EXT3 <GO>.)

July 20 (Bloomberg) -- A panel of U.K. lawmakers said it “deplored” News Corp.’s News International unit for obstructing a 2006 police probe into phone-hacking and is “appalled” that detectives gave this as a reason for not investigating further.

The Home Affairs Committee’s report into the News of the World phone hacking scandal published today, was released within hours of the committee’s final hearing into the scandal yesterday. The committee wants the report, which focuses on police investigations into the scandal starting in 2006, to inform a parliamentary debate on the scandal later today, the report said.

Paul Stephenson, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, and one of his deputies, John Yates, resigned this week over their force’s handling of the case. As well as criticizing the police, the report censured News International for not fully assisting with the investigation.

“We are astounded at the length of time it has taken for News International to cooperate with the police,” the report said. “But we are appalled that this is advanced as a reason for failing to mount a robust investigation. The failure of lawbreakers to cooperate with the police is a common state of affairs.”

Original Probe

Following the 2006 arrests of Clive Goodman, the News of the World’s royal reporter, and Glenn Mulcaire, a private investigator who worked with him, the police asked News International for details about who Mulcaire had worked for and reported to, and a record of his work, according to the committee’s report. While the company’s lawyers replied that they wished to assist, “very little material was produced,” the report said.

The report said that Peter Clarke, the detective who led the original investigation, told the committee: “I was as certain as I could be that they had something to hide.”

A telephone message left with News International outside business hours was not immediately returned.

The committee said the government needed to give more resources to continuing investigations into the scandal, saying that with 12,800 phone numbers identified as potential hacking targets, it will take police “at least a decade” to notify all victims.

--Editors: Ben Livesey, John Simpson

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Hutton in London at rhutton1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net. NWSA US <Equity> BSY LN <Equity>


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