Glenn Mulcaire, the private detective at the centre of the News of the World phone hacking affair, must give more information to alleged victims and cannot claim the privilege against self-incrimination, a High Court judge ruled yesterday.
This means that Mulcaire will have to name who asked for information about voicemail numbers and who received the information, according to lawyers representing the alleged victims.
But Justice Vos, who made the orders, gave permission to take the self-incrimination issue to the Court of Appeal.
Comedian and actor Steve Coogan and football commentator Andy Gray made the applications to the High Court in preliminary moves to launch a damages claim after being given information by the Metropolitan Police that their private voicemails may have been intercepted.
Mulcaire and former News of the World reporter Clive Goodman were both jailed for illegally accessing the voicemails of members of the royal household.
Justice Vos said in his ruling that there was “abundant evidence” that Gray’s voicemails were intercepted and a “strong inference” that misuse was made of the confidential information.
He said information disclosed by News Group Newspapers, publishers of the News of the World, had been meagre.
“I have no evidence as to whether there are justifiable reasons for that, but NGN has, as yet, disclosed none of its telephone records or electronic documents, which might be expected to show whether its journalists were making use of intercepted information emanating via Mr Mulcaire, from Mr Gray’s voicemails.”
The judge said it was also a fair inference that Mulcaire had the wherewithal to intercept Coogan’s telephone and that he was likely to have done so.
He made declarations in both actions that Mulcaire is not excused by the privilege against self-incrimination from answering any question put to him in the proceedings.
Mulcaire was also ordered to answer requests for further information on whether his interception of the royal victims and other admitted victims was at the instruction of NGN and whether that information was passed to the newspaper.
The private detective must also explain how he obtained the voicemail numbers and passwords and who provided the information.
Former football star Paul Gascoigne, former MP George Galloway and Mick McGuire, former boss of the Professional Footballers’ Association, were granted applications by Mr Justice Vos yesterday ordering the Metropolitan Police to disclose information which may relate to interception of their private voicemails.
This information is contained in notebooks forfeited by Mr Mulcaire after he was jailed for six months in January 2007.
Justice Vos, who was told 14 people were now suing over the allegations and more were expected to come forward as the new Metropolitan Police investigation uncovered more alleged victims, has called on lawyers to amalgamate the actions to save court time and costs.