John Prescott launches phone-hack judicial review claim

Lord Prescott is to launch a claim for a judicial review of the Metropolitan Police’s handling of the News of the World phone-hacking case, he said yesterday.

The former deputy prime minister said he is taking the action after the Met refused to provide all information relating to him found during a search of jailed private investigator Glenn Mulcaire.

“It has always been my intention to discover the truth behind this case and whether the Metropolitan Police fulfilled its duty to follow all the lines of evidence,” Lord Prescott said in a statement on his website.

“It is my belief they didn’t and I hope the judicial review will finally reveal why justice not only wasn’t done but wasn’t seen to be done.”

Lord Prescott said he will ask the courts to declare that his human rights were breached, at the same time ordering the Met to disclose fully any information relating to his personal details.

The peer is also seeking damages which he said would be given to charity.

“I have finally received a reply from the Metropolitan Police refusing my request to supply all the information relating to me from the search of the office of convicted phone hacker Glenn Mulcaire,” the statement said.

“It was only after repeated requests that started on July 9, 2009, and repeated denials, that the Metropolitan Police eventually informed me on December 15, 2009 that it had obtained from Mulcaire’s office a piece of paper that said the words ‘John Prescott’ and ‘Hull’ and two self-billing tax invoices for £250 each from News International Supply Company Ltd to Mulcaire’s company Nine Consultancy Ltd, marked ‘Story: Other Prescott Assist-TXT’ and ‘Story: Other Prescott Assist-TXT Urgent’.

“These documents had been in the Metropolitan Police’s possession since their investigation in 2005/2006 but I was never notified of them or that I was a person of interest to Mulcaire. I only discovered I might have been after The Guardian published its original investigation on July 8, 2009.

“In view of their refusal to hand over this information, it is my intention to apply to the administrative court to seek a judicial review of the Metropolitan Police’s handling of this case.

” I’m requesting, through the judicial review:

“1. A declaration the Metropolitan Police violated my rights under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights by: a) Failing to inform me that my details had been obtained by News International, Clive Goodman, Glen Mulcaire and/or other journalists; b) Failing to respond adequately to my direct requests for information; c) Failing to carry out an effective investigation into the unlawful activities of Goodman, Mulcaire and others;

“2. A declaration that the Metropolitan Police violated my legitimate expectation that if I was a potential victim, of Goodman, Mulcaire and others, that I would be informed of the fact;

“3. A mandatory order requesting the Metropolitan Police to make full disclosure of all information in its possession relating to the obtaining of my personal details by Goodman, Mulcaire and others, including all information necessary to allow me to understand how my details had been obtained and/or used;

“4. An award of damages by way of just satisfaction for the violation of my convention rights. If successful, damages will be given to charity.”

Lord Prescott added: “It has always been my intention to discover the truth behind this case and whether the Metropolitan Police fulfilled its duty to follow all the lines of evidence. It is my belief they didn’t and I hope the judicial review will finally reveal why justice not only wasn’t done but wasn’t seen to be done.”

The peer joins Labour MP Chris Bryant, former Scotland Yard deputy assistant commissioner Brian Paddick and journalist Brendan Montague in asking the courts to decide whether police handled the case properly.

Lord Prescott’s spokesman said the application for judicial review was separate to the other bid but could be linked by the courts in due course.

The peer’s decision comes days after former News of the World reporter Sean Hoare was questioned over claims that Downing Street communications chief Andy Coulson asked him to hack into messages when he was editor of the Sunday paper.

The allegations, which appeared in an article in the New York Times, reignited the phone hacking row earlier this month.

The News of the World’s ex-royal editor Clive Goodman and private investigator Mulcaire were jailed in 2007 after accessing the voicemails of public figures.

Coulson has repeatedly denied any knowledge of such activities, and the Metropolitan Police has insisted it carried out a thorough investigation.

Westminster’s sleaze watchdog is consulting parliamentary and legal experts on whether hacking MPs’ phones is a “contempt of parliament” after MPs voted to refer allegations to the Standards and Privileges Committee.

The decision to refer the case was led by Bryant, who told the Commons he was one of the MPs who had contacted the Metropolitan Police and been told he was on a list of those allegedly targeted by Mulcaire.

But he said he suspected that was the “tip of the iceberg” and hacking extended not just to Labour MPs but also to Liberal Democrats and Tories.

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