New phone-hack documents put James Murdoch in firing line over 'misleading' testimony

Just when we thought the silly season was finally here (see stories in all media this morning that watching TV is as bad for your health as smoking) – the Commons media select committee releases a treasure trove of new documents related to phone-hacking and the News of the World.

Much has been made already today about the Clive Goodman letter from 2007 which has come to light , implicating many other News International executives in hacking, including then editor Andy Coulson.

Explosive stuff. But it should at least be remembered that Goodman wrote this at a time when he was trying to persuade the company to give him a hefty unfair dismissal settlement and that other documents released today show that Harbottle and Lewis’  trawl of company emails could find no evidence to back up Goodman’s claims.

At least as interesting for my money is former News International legal boss Jon Chapman’s statement that James Murdoch’s testimony to MPs was “very misleading”.

Chapman, and Harbottle and Lewis, both condemn the way that News Corp has used that trawl of emails – carried out over two weeks in relation to the Goodman unfair dismissal case – to say that the law firm gave the company a clean bill of health in 2007.

According to Chapman and the law firm, there was another review carried out by solicitors Burton Copeland in 2006. This was apparently the”rigorous” investigation cited by Les Hinton in evidence to MPs in March 2007 to uphold the lone rogue journalist defence.

It seems that MPs need to get hold of that document immediately. It is the first I have heard of it. Why has it never been mentioned by News Corp before?

Just when it looked like James Murdoch might be in the clear, phone-hacking has come back to cause him major problems.

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