Labour MP and anti phone-hacking campaigner Tom Watson has called for the police to investigate the Times after the paper admitted hacking the emails of the anonymous police blogger NightJack.
He also wants to see editor James Harding recalled to the Leveson Inquiry following his evidence session last week.
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The paper controversially revealed the identity of NightJack – Lancashire police detective Richard Horton – in June 2009 after it successfully overturned a interim privacy injunction at the High Court.
In its evidence The Times said it had deduced Horton’s identity using publicly available information.
Last week The Times admitted it had hacked Horton’s email account – and that the reporter behind the story, former media correspondent Patrick Foster, had informed his managers of this before the story was published.
However, it is not yet clear the role hacking played in the story. In an article last week the paper claimed that ‘Foster identified Mr Horton using a legitimate process of deduction based on sources and information publicly available on the internet”.
Watson said: ‘James Harding has questions to answer. Who at the company was aware the High Court and the blogger’s lawyers were not told about this?”
In a letter to the Met deputy assistant commissioner Sue Akers, who is leading the investigation into phone-hacking at the News of the World, Watson said: ‘It is clear that a crime has been committed – illicit hacking of personal emails. It is almost certain that a judge was misled…
“A journalist and unnamed managers failed to report the crime to their proprietor or the police. This runs counter to the assurances of Rupert Murdoch that News International takes a ‘zero tolerance approach to wrongdoing’.
‘I must ask that you tp investigate computer hacking at The Times. In so doing you will also be able to establish whether perjury and a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice have also occurred.”
A copy of the letter has been sent to the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve.