While many of those who scrabble around the dunghill that is Grubstreet continue to ignore the runaway train that is Phonehackgate, or tell their readers that the affair isn’t really important, events rumble on, and more unwilling participants are caught up in the expanding legal imbroglio. This post provides an update and points up why recent happenings could be important.
On Friday, the Metropolitan Police arrested another former Screws staffer, named as Dan Evans. Evans had been suspended by the paper following legal action on behalf of Kelly Hoppen. Importance: another piece in the jigsaw, although one has to wonder how many are still missing, given he’s the fourteenth to be nicked recently.
Also, a police detective has been arrested for allegedly leaking information about the investigation. There has been much speculation as to whether this was the source for the Guardian’s ability to get stories first – beats smearing Tom Watson in the originality stakes – but the paper isn’t commenting. Importance: not much in the wider scheme of things.
More interestingly, events surrounding Glenn Mulcaire have moved on: he has apparently now sued News International, most likely over their decision to stop paying his legal fees. Importance: very high. If Mulcaire was working as an employee, or at least on the instructions of other Screws hacks, there is a strong argument for them to pick up the tab.
And Mulcaire, as I noted recently, could start singing very soon, as he’s been ordered to reveal who told him to access six folks’ voicemails. The six include former PFA head Gordon Taylor. Importance: critical. The potential to drag more names into the frame is only matched by the knowledge that buying off Taylor did not end the potential of his case to do Rupe and his troops further damage.
Mulcaire is still fighting an attempt to force him to reveal the name of the hack who asked him to hack Steve Coogan’s phone, but the prognosis is not good, especially if he has to pay the legal bills himself. Importance: significant. Another name, another potential arrest, another step closer to seeing Murdoch Junior being invited to attend a Police station of his choosing.
And what is equally important is that part of the Fourth Estate is reverting to keeping quiet about the affair, particularly the Daily Mail, where the word had already gone out from Paul Dacre to portray Phonehackgate as no big deal, not of much interest, or even part of the cause for the recent rioting.
The inescapable impression is that the Mail, and maybe other titles, are getting worried that they may not be able to stay out of this one. More soon.