Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Met asks Guardian to help with hacking inquiry

The Metropolitan police has written to the Guardian asking the paper to supply it with any new material it has about phone-hacking at the News of the World, editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger revealed today.

Detective Inspector Dean Haydon, who is leading the Met's review of the phone-hacking case, has written to Rusbridger, asking for any new material that may have come to light.

In his reply, Rusbridger said the police already have access to evidence that would help with their inquiry, including transcripts of voicemail messages that were intercepted by News of the World employees from a mobile phone belonging to the PFA chief executive, Gordon Taylor.

"[The Guardian journalist] Nick Davies was able to reveal incontrovertible evidence of the involvement in phone hacking of other NoW reporters and executives: the material is sitting in you own files, and was obtained by lawyers acting for Gordon Taylor," Rusbridger wrote.

He said that Davies had been able to publish fresh revelations about the extent of the practice over the past year by "taking the trouble to interview a large number of people who were working at the News of the World at the relevant time". He suggested the police do the same.

"That, it seems to us, would be a more productive route than seeking to interview other journalists who have looked into the story," he said.

"It has been open to the MPS to [interview News of the World journalists] since your colleagues arrested Glenn Mulcaire and Clive Goodman in 2006," Rusbridger said. "But the MPS decided at the time that they would interview no other NoW journalists than Mr Goodman himself."

Rusbridger also criticised the Met for interviewing under caution ex-News of the World journalists who have come forward this year to talk about phone hacking at the paper. "Many external observers are troubled that the MPS is adopting the intimidatory approach of seeking to interview these whistleblowers under caution – ie treating them as potential defendants as opposed to potential witnesses," he said.

Rusbridger also told Haydon: "The fact that three separate news organisations have been able to uncover this story must give you hope that you, too, could got to the bottom of it without too much trouble."

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