NoTW editor suspended as phone-hacking stink persists
No. 10 spindoc Coulson struggles to rid self of odour
The News of the World has suspended an assistant editor over claims he authorised the voicemail hacking of phones used by actress Sienna Miller and her friends.
Ian Edmondson, the tabloid's assistant editor, faces an internal inquiry over allegations of phone hacking in 2005, dating from the time was edited by Andy Coulson, the prime minister's director of communications. Disgraced former royal editor Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire were jailed back in 2005 after they pleaded guilty to hacking into the mobile phones of royal aides and intercepting voicemail messages in the hunt for celebrity gossip.
News Group has consistently maintained since that the pair acted alone and without the authorisation or knowledge of senior staff at the paper. But the company's assertions of innocence have come under increased pressure, first from a series of lawsuits stemming from the original allegations, and later from dogged investigative work by The Guardian that resulted in the re-opening of a parliamentary inquiry last year.
Privacy lawsuits by celebrities and public figures whose phones were allegedly tapped by Mulcaire include football players' union boss Gordon Taylor, Sienna Miller and others. Court papers obtained as part of the legal disclosure process in the ongoing Miller lawsuit include papers police seized from Mulcaire in August 2006 include "handwritten notes that imply Edmondson instructed him to intercept Miller's voicemail", The Guardian reports. The mobile phone of Jude Law, Miller's partner at the time, was also the target of interception along with those of Miller's personal assistant and others.
Edmondson was hired by Coulson, a factor that increases the pressure on the PM's chief spin doctor. The internal investigation against Edmondson also raises awkward questions about why the police only ever targeted Goodman and Mulcaire when seized papers and mobile phone records obtained during their investigation provided evidence that others might have been involved in mobile phone hacking. ®
Re: Please define hacking
> I'm also interested in what law has been broken.
The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.
> My reading of the laws regarding phone tapping require the conversation
> to be heard/recorded while it is taking place.
Your reading in incomplete. The Met tried the same tack - it is wrong.
If you read Section 2(7), it specifically *includes* voicemail that has already been heard :-
"For the purposes of this section the times while a communication is being transmitted by means of a telecommunication system shall be taken to include any time when the system by means of which the communication is being, or has been, transmitted is used for storing it in a manner that enables the intended recipient to collect it or otherwise to have access to it."
> Listening to someone else's phone messages is specifically excluded
> from the wire tapping laws
No, it is specifically *included*.
> lawyers tend to get their clients off scottf ree when no law has been broken...
And in this case, a law has been broken. It remains to be seen whether Andy Coulson's proximity to the current PM will cause that to be overlooked.
another perjury case?
Yup. Coulson said on oath he knew nothing about phone hacking at the news of the screws. So if these pending court cases are to be believed, he could be guilty of perjury. Which would be rather ironic since he gave evidence in Comrade Sheridan's perjury trial. It would be very entertaining if the two of them ended up sharing a cell in Barlinnie.
Is the voicemail stored on a computer system?
If the voicemails are stored on a computer system, then access by anyone without authorisation is illegal.
The Computer Misuse Act 1990 clearly states that unauthorised access is itself a crime, even if you modify no data.
At no point does the law state how the computer system is to be accessed. Keyboard and mouse, Kinect, phone and number pad, phone and voice recognition, direct neural command - it's irrelevant.
If you're not the owner of the computer or don't have permission from the owner to access it, then accessing it is breaking the law.