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Monday 5 April 2010

Murdoch Is Served (15)

As I suggested yesterday, the Guardian’s Nick Davies is indeed still on the case of Phonehackgate: steadily chipping away at the unwillingness of the Met to yield information, he has revealed that the police’s decision to bring a number of sample charges against former Screws royal reporter Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire has resulted in the names of many victims of organised phone hacking being kept quiet.

Worse, it seems that the Met have known the identities of many of those victims, but have failed to notify them after the event. The inference is also that the police acted to suppress the names of a number of prominent victims, thought to include members of the royal family.

But it is the sheer number of targets that catches the eye: Goodman and Mulcaire had an interest in more than 4,300, and had garnered almost 3,000 partial or complete mobile phone numbers. Moreover, the suspicion remains that the Met was wary of crossing the Murdochs, with the departure of former assistant commissioner Andy Hayman – the man in charge of the investigation - to join News International as a columnist conceded as “unfortunate”.

That’s a spectacular understatement: Rupe’s empire has seemingly bought off some high profile victims, including Max Clifford and Gordon Taylor, and has seen Goodman and Mulcaire right, despite their proven criminality. Hayman getting himself a nice little post-Met earner looks to be at least potentially in the same category.

Davies tantalisingly floats the idea of a new Government enquiry into the affair, and this could be a tricky one for Young Dave: if Pa Broon were to start the ball rolling only to see the Tories get elected, what would a Cameron cancellation of such an investigation do to the new PM’s credibility and trustworthiness?

Expect Tory cheerleaders to shout “non story” (again) for the next few weeks.

[UPDATE: Nick Davies has added a Comment Is Free piece on the latest developments]

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