Hacking: More proof against Murdoch

As recently as last week, News International, publisher of Murdoch’s remaining three British print publications, had maintained that phone hacking at the News of the World ceased in 2006, after police arrested the paper’s royal correspondent, Clive Goodman, and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire.

But during the opening session on Monday of the parliamentary Leveson Inquiry, an investigation set up by the British government to investigate alleged abuses by UK media, the inquiry’s chief counsel, Robert Jay, said British police investigating phone hacking at News International believed hacking had certainly begun by 2002 and continued “at least until 2009”.

Jay did not elaborate on the nature of the evidence police had, except to say that this did not include voluminous notebooks maintained by Mulcaire which were seized at the time of his arrest in 2006.

In his opening statement to the inquiry on Tuesday, Rhodri Davies, a lawyer representing News International, conceded that he could not offer any guarantees that phone hacking did not occur “by or for the News of the World after 2007.”

But Davies also said he believed the jailing of Goodman and Glenn Mulcaire had a “salutory” effect. Lessons had been learned, and whatever hacking culture might have existed at the company before their arrest did not thrive afterwards. A spokeswoman for News International said the company had no further comment.

Chris Bryant, a Member of Parliament for Britain’s opposition Labour Party who has followed the hacking controversy closely and was a hacking target himself, told Reuters he understood hacking occurred after 2006, and that evidence to that effect has already begun to emerge in hacking-related court cases.

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