Private Investigator Must Reveal Who Gave Phone Hacking Orders

News of the World - logo - 2011
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The U.K.'s Supreme Court has ordered Glen Mulcaire to hand over details of who told him to carry out the hacking at News Corp.'s now-shuttered News of The World.

LONDON – Glen Mulcaire, the private investigator convicted and jailed for phone hacking, has been ordered to reveal - at least in one case - who instructed him to intercept voicemails for News Corp.'s now-shuttered News of the World.

The U.K.'s Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that Mulcaire must pass on the previously secret details concerning phone hacking in a case brought by Nicola Phillips, the former assistant of PR impresario Max Clifford. Britain's highest court opted to discard Mulcaire's claim for privilege against self-incrimination, ending a 20-month legal appeal by the former investigator over his "legitimate legal interests," according to a report in The Guardian.

Mulcaire must now share potentially incriminating details – including who at the News of the World allegedly instructed him to hack phones, the journalists he is alleged to have passed intercepted messages to, and how victims were allegedly targeted.

It was not immediately clear when he would provide the information on who ordered the hacking, but other reports mentioned the information could be shared within a few weeks. The information is scheduled to go to a so-called "confidentiality club" made up of the lawyers and litigants in the civil phone hacking case.

The private investigator had earlier challenged two rulings by the high court, in 2010 and in 2011, and the court of appeal in February, which found that the hacked voicemails were confidential.

Judge Lord Walker said in the judgment: "The supreme court unanimously dismisses Mr Mulcaire's appeal...the proceedings brought by Ms Phillips are 'proceedings for … rights pertaining to…intellectual property' and the conspiracy proceedings to which Mr Mulcaire would expose himself on disclosure of the information amount to a 'related offense'."

A lawyer for Phillips called the ruling as a precedent and said other potential suitors could now apply for the same information.

The Guardian quoted Mulcaire as saying in a statement that he would comply with the decision, but review his legal options beyond the case. "I will comply with the supreme court's ruling to answer questions in Ms Phillips's case," he said. "I will consider with my lawyers what the wider implications of this judgment are if and when I am asked to answer such questions in other cases."