No disclosure for journalists who ordered phone hacks?


We’ll see, but for now several News of the World journalists who ordered a private detective to hack into mobile phones of six public figures may not be publicly revealed. Why? Scotland Yard intervened to prevent their publication. “The issues of confidentiality are of concern to the police.”

The names were passed to UK comedian and actor Steve Coogan last week by Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator who worked for the paper, in compliance with a high court order the actor obtained earlier this year.

The names are critical to the phone-hacking investigation because they could show how far the practice was widespread at the paper, which was closed down by Rupert Murdoch last month. Coogan is one of several celebrities suing the paper for breach of privacy. Others include actor Hugh Grant, Roseanne Barr and Pop star George Michael.

The high court order instructed Mulcaire to reveal who at the paper asked him to illegally intercept messages left on mobile belonging to former model Elle Macpherson, publicist Max Clifford and four others. Mulcaire was also told to reveal who at the paper ordered him to target Liberal Democrat MP Simon Hughes, PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor, his colleague Jo Armstrong and football agent Sky Andrew.

Law firm Schillings was contacted by Mulcaire’s attorney Sarah Webb 8/26 and asked not to make the names public. “The issues of confidentiality are of concern to the Metropolitan police and we asked Coogan’s solicitors not to disclose the information until the Met could consider the matter,” said Webb. “The issue is not that my client requires to keep matters confidential but rather that the police require him to. We were concerned that our [client] did not breach orders of the court in this respect. The Met are now dealing [with this] and there is nothing more I can add.”

There is some confusion over whether the order obtained by Coogan allows the names to be released, however. Sources close to the actor insisted they can be identified, reported The UK Guardian. Meanwhile, Coogan has also won a separate high court order to force Mulcaire to name the News of the World executives who ordered Mulcaire to hack into his own phone.

Mulcaire is also taking legal action against News International after it stopped paying his legal fees in July, claiming the company is contractually obliged to do so.