Prescott gets go ahead for judicial review of Mets hack attack handling
John (Lord) Prescott (former Deputy PM under Labour) has been granted the right to proceed with his judicial review action regarding the actions of the Metropolitan police in relation to their phone hacking inquiries.
Prescott joins a number of others, including former top cop Brian Paddick, who have been demanding a judicial review of how the police had looked into the News of the World phone hacking claims. A particular grievance being that the police had failed to inform and confirm to victims of phone hacking such as Prescott that their phones had in fact been hacked. According to representations made before the court, police had denied that Prescott (along with Brian Paddick, MP Chris Bryant and journalist Brendan Montague), had been the subject of the Glen Mulcaire’s murky investigations even though they had evidence to show he had them on his list of ‘projects’ to pursue.
Delivering his reserved judgment in the High Court today, Mr Justice Foskett overturned a previous decision by Mr Justice Mitting who had ruled that the legal challenge was ‘unarguable’. Foskett was persuaded that Prescott, Paddick and Bryant had an ‘arguable case’ (he was ‘not truly persuaded’ that Montague’s claim fell into that category but was allowing it nevertheless) that in not disclosing what they knew, the police had breached their human rights to privacy. He was not persuaded by James Lewis QC who had argued for the police that judicial review should be refused on the grounds that the phone hacking inquiry had been reopened.
Mediabeak would not be persuaded by this either as the fact that the actions or inactions of police in the earlier inquiry are not cured or mitigated by the mere fact that the inquiry has now been reopened. As acknowledged by Mr Justice Foskett it is the new evidence that has come to light as a result of the reopened investigations that supports the claims by Prescott and others that their rights had been infringed by the failure of police to inform them about the fact they’d been hacked.
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In other hack attack news
As the Guardian reports, someone familiar with the dark arts allegedly practiced by some newsrooms, investigative journalist Dennis Rice, has joined the waiting list of those lodging claims against the NoW. Rice claims that the NoW had Glenn Mulcaire add him to the list of those being intercepted in a hope he could sneak leads and scoops he was filing during the 2006 World Cup. It is alleged that the NoW was trying to further hack its way into rival tabloid’s news lists to pinch stories. As the Guardian points out, if this gets an airing in court it could see the gloves come off between the various papers over which ones have been trying to steal scoops.
Meanwhile, Jude Law is set to follow Sienna Miller into court and possibly beat her £100k damages award after his counsel, Hugh Tomlinson QC (who is being kept very busy with his client list these past weeks!) claimed that it was a very senior executive at NoW who had sanctioned the hacking of Law (something which the NoW vigorously deny). Comments made by Mr Justice Vos in the High Court suggest that when it comes to exemplary damages, if a story that’s related to hacking makes a paper big bucks or has been given the nod by someone very senior then the bigger the buck and/or the more senior the nod, the higher the damages are likely to be.