Two alleged victims of the phone hacking affair at the News of the World went to the High Court today to try to gain more information about who was involved.
Comedian and actor Steve Coogan and Sky Sports football commentator Andy Gray want Glenn Mulcaire, the private detective at the centre of the case, to name those at the Sunday newspaper who allegedly accessed their mobile phone voicemail and to whom the information was passed.
Mulcaire, who was jailed for six months for hacking into the phones of members of the Royal household, is refusing to disclose the details because he claims it is irrelevant to Coogan and Gray’s case.
He is also fighting the claim, arguing that he is protected from having to release the information by the right against self-incrimination.
Jeremy Reed, for the claimants, told Mr Justice Vos that Mr Mulcaire was criticising his clients’ case as being without merit and vague.
The private detective was claiming that it had not been proven that their phones had been intercepted and that their claims for damages were purely hypothetical.
“These criticisms are particularly disingenuous in the light of the documentary evidence disclosed by the Metropolitan Police,” he said,
He then went through large numbers of the documents police had seized from Mulcaire which referred to Mr Gray, mobile phone direct voicemail numbers and access codes.
But most of the details were blacked out by police before being released to the lawyers, he said, adding: “It is likely that my clients will make further applications to the Metropolitan Police to disclose the documents in an unredacted form.”
The information showed that Mulcaire had the necessary information to hack into private voicemail and he had no “legitimate” reason to be in possession of it, Reed said, adding that Mulcaire should also know which voicemail he intercepted and the information he received.
News of the World reporter Clive Goodman was jailed for four months having pleaded guilty to phone message interception charges in January
2007 and Mr Mulcaire, whom the newspaper had paid for his work, was imprisoned for six months.
On the same day, it was announced that Andy Coulson had resigned as the editor of the News of the World.
Alexandra Marzec, for Mr Mulcaire, said there was no clear evidence that her client had intercepted Mr Coogan or Mr Gray’s messages.
“Mr Coogan has not yet gone to the trouble of making an application to the Metropolitan Police to see what documentary evidence there is,” she said, adding that none of the evidence showed there was any interception.
Mulcaire had admitted the charges relating to the Royal household interceptions and had served a jail sentence, but denied listening to the claimants’ messages, she said.
Her client was entitled to claim his right not to incriminate himself.
The judge adjourned the hearing until 31 January for Coogan and Gray to submit statements about the information on the calls they claim were intercepted.
A full hearing of the case has been scheduled for November this year.