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Phone hacking scandal: passing the blame

This article is over 12 years, 8 months old
The key players at the top of the phone-hacking saga have in effect accused each other of lying.
Issue 2266

The key players at the top of the phone-hacking saga have in effect accused each other of lying.

They include former News of the World editors Colin Myler and Andy Coulson, the paper’s ex‑lawyer Tom Crone, and Les Hinton, who chaired News International until 2008.

A number of letters released by the parliamentary inquiry into the scandal are incendiary.

One, written in March 2007 by Clive Goodman, the paper’s former royal editor, was handed to MPs by the law firm Harbottle and Lewis.

It said Coulson was aware that phone-hacking took place. Goodman said the practice had been openly discussed in editorial conferences until Coulson barred those attending from mentioning it.

The letter also alleges that Crone and Coulson offered Goodman his job back if he did not implicate the paper.

A second copy of the Goodman letter was sent to the committee by News International—but it was censored by the company so that references to discussion about hacking in editorial meetings were removed.

Goodman’s claims, if true, shatter repeated denials from Coulson that he knew nothing about phone-hacking.

Importantly, Coulson repeated his assertion to a Scottish court during the trial of socialist Tommy Sheridan in December 2010. Couslon was called as a witness and cross-examined by Sheridan himself.

Tommy’s lawyer, Aamer Anwar, has called for Coulson to be jailed. “If it is shown that people lied in the Glasgow High Court they should go to prison,” he said.

There are also serious implications for David Cameron.

Did the Tories even ask about Coulson’s knowledge of the phone-hacking when they hired him? Did they know of the Goodman letter?

And did they know about NotW involvement in Daniel Morgan’s murder?

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