News of the World’s Dan Evans now also in the frame
I’m indebted to a senior Fleet Street contact who last night pointed out to me this excellent blog at a specialist legal site. The piece – by Dominic Crossley – does confirm the view of many around Britain (following yesterday’s £100,000 hacking settlement between Sienna Miller and Newscorp) that as The Slog asserted last night, the fat lady is a long way from singing – and Ms Miller is as delightfully slim as ever. The queue to sue keeps getting longer….and with each case, further details will be teased out.
Any Met investigators at yesterday’s session in the Court of Justice Vos will have been intrigued to hear about the behaviour of NotW’s Dan Evans, for example. As Crossley writes, the Hackgate saga….
‘took a leap forward yesterday with the explosive evidence that Dan Evans’ computer contained the same private mobile numbers as those found in Mulcaire’s papers. The full impact of this revelation has yet to be fully played out, but the suggestion is that this journalist made ongoing use of Mulcaire’s information when Mulcaire was removed from the picture by way of his conviction and prison sentence in 2007.’
In short, knowing full well that Mulcaire was a criminal whose data had been obtained illegally, Evans calmly carried on his hacking practice well past what The Slog has dubbed Murdoch’s ‘inclusion zone’ for litigation – viz, 2004-6. Andy Coulson told a Scottish Court under oath during the trial of left wing politician Tommy Sheridan that neither he nor any of his journalists “would knowingly work with anyone with a criminal record”. Pedantically, that just misses being perjury, because Glenn Mulcaire was actually doing porridge at the time. But for many people, this will be seen as further evidence that Mr Coulson has been lying his head off for the last five years.
Given that Newscorp suspended Evans following complaints about his methods last year, the Murdoch empire won’t be unduly worried about Dan going down now. But they might, I understand, be a tad concerned about Mr Evans turning Queen’s Evidence at some point.
Further public figures stepped forward to sue Murdoch’s privacy invaders yesterday, and it is now alleged that some 3,000 celebrities’ names are in the Mulcaire documentation. James Hewitt’s litigation plans are well advanced – as are those of George Galloway. The Galloway case is of special interest because Gorgeous George is a one for the wild allegation, and furthermore he will reintroduce shadowy Hayman-related Fake Sheikh Mazher Mahmoud. The Slog has tried every method short of carrier pigeons to talk to Mr Mahmoud about his life and times as a cooperator on joint Met/Newscorp stings, but so far without success. However, it now seems Galloway will claim in Court that Mr Mahmood tried and failed to implicate him in Holocaust denial and financial irregularities. There is also talk of Mahmoud himself facing cross-examination – although personally I would’ve thought George will struggle to prove the reporter is a material witness.
Either way – as predicted here long ago – the focus of electronic surveillance may be about to broaden out from just Newscorp. Max Clifford now claims Koo Stark, a former girlfriend of Prince Andrew, is also poised to sue a tabloid over phone-hacking during her relationship with the Prince; and although it is unclear which title he was referring to, Clifford asserted yesterday, “She wanted her to put me in touch with lawyers, and she has been taking legal advice. I won’t say who she thinks it was, but it isn’t News International”.
Once again, the trail leads back to the Duke of York and his family. Long before his marriage, it seems, the Duke’s friends were being hacked. His relationship with Koo Stark ended in the mid 1980s, so here too is a suggestion of how long the practice has been going on. Thus, the tiff between Newscorp and the Independent Group last month may well have been nothing more than an innocent case of mistaken identity. Both the Indie and The Slog recently ran stories about the alleged hacking of Princess Eugenie’s phone during her holiday in 2009. The Royal Family’s assumption (after the hacking of Prince William’s phone) was that Rupert Murdoch – specifically The Sun – had been behind it. This new dimension introduced by Ms Stark brings another twist to the tale.
I understand that way over on the other side of the Pond, a popular TV personality is now fretting somewhat about where the Stark case may lead. And at the Daily Telegraph site this morning, the Miller settlement is covered in a 500 word piece of generic news. Gallagher’s team of former Mailites has yet to run a single scoop about Hackgate…..although they have run a concerted and vindictive campaign to get the Duke of York thrown out of his envoy job.
Perhaps they Mail boat-people are reticent after being censured over the Holly Watt-Vince Cable secret taping incident. The one that cost Cable his place on the committee discussing Newscorp’s fitness to be a major media player in the UK. The same one, in fact, that catapulted Jeremy Hunt into his seat on that committee.
This is the same Hunt who then approved the Newscorp/BSkyB merger without referral. Proving yet again that Rupert can always find a Hunt when he needs one.