Lawyer: Phone Interception 'Much More Widespread' Than News of the World

Mark Lewis, who was put under surveillance himself by News International, said the action was "despicable."

LONDON -- Mark Lewis, the lawyer who has represented phone-hacking victims including the family of murdered teenager Milly Dowler, told the Leveson Inquiry Wednesday that phone-hacking was far more widespread than the News of The World.

Lewis told Lord Justice Leveson’s Inquiry into press standards, ethics and practices that it was a matter of misfortune that the News of the World investigator Glenn Mulcaire had kept such rigorous notes connecting him to the newspaper.

“The absence of written evidence in other cases does not mean that it did not happen.”

“It was a much more widespread practice than just one newspaper,” he told the Inquiry.

Lewis told the newspaper that illegal voicemail interception in the early days of wide-scale mobile phone use was “too easy”

“I don't think they [journalists] necessarily thought of it as any worse -- certainly at the beginning -- than driving at 35 [miles per hour] in a 30 [miles per hour] zone,” he said.

Lewis, who was put under surveillance by News International because of his role representing phone-hacking victims, said in his witness statement that the practice was “intimidating” and “despicable.”

However, the Inquiry will not look at the specific activities involving the News of the World and its alleged criminal activities until the second phase of its inquiry.