Phone-hacking: criminal trial update – week beginning 14/04/2014

This week has seen the following developments in the phone-hacking case:

• Andy Coulson, Rebekah Brooks’s deputy editor at the News of the World (and later the paper’s editor), said that he did not remember ever using private detectives. However, Mr Coulson added the “small caveat” that some people who he thought of as journalists could also be private investigators.

• Mr Coulson said he was “shocked” and “angry” when he was told by the News of the World’s chief reporter, Neville Thurlbeck, that Mr Thurlbeck had listened to voicemail messages which revealed that David Blunkett was having an affair with Kimberly Fortier.

o Mr Coulson confirmed that he heard the voicemail messages in August 2004. He said he decided to publish a story using information obtained from the voicemails because he felt there was some “public-interest justification” in the story.

o Mr Coulson said he was not aware at that time that intercepting voicemails was illegal.

o Mr Thurlbeck has pleaded guilty to phone hacking.

• Mr Coulson said he had no knowledge that the News of the World’s private detective, Glenn Mulcaire, had accessed Milly Dowler’s voicemail.

o Mr Coulson said he thought that hacking was “intrusive and a breach of privacy”.

o Mr Mulcaire was jailed for phone hacking in 2007.

• Mr Coulson denies conspiring to hack phones. The case continues.

• No win, no fee compensation for phone-hacking victims is being sought by Hamlins A number of new victims, notified under Operation Pinetree, have instructed our team of experts over the past two weeks.

If you would like to discuss any issues concerning the trial or think that you may have been a victim of phone hacking please contact Christopher Hutchings.