While the procession of claimants is paid off by the Murdoch mafiosi without the minor inconvenience of folks like Rebekah Brooks having to appear in court, allegations of phone hacking against those at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun continue. And what is worse for the inmates of the Baby Shard bunker is that those allegations include a claim that someone still working at the paper hacked phones.
Another Nosey Parker
The Guardian has given a hint as to who that might have been as it reports “The high court has been told that phone hacking was widespread at the Sun, despite strong denials from Rupert Murdoch’s News UK that the daily tabloid newspaper was involved in any illegal activity”. They just happened to have doled out millions in settlements on a whim, then.
But then comes the strongest of hints. “A lawyer representing alleged phone-hacking victims also requested the historic expenses receipts of serving Sun reporter Nick Parker, in order to investigate whether his purchase of top-up vouchers for a burner mobile phone was related to the interception of voicemails”. Oh dear! What say the Sun?
“News UK has always strongly denied that any illegal activities took place at the Sun and declined to comment on the claims against Parker … Parker, who is the Sun’s chief foreign correspondent, was handed a suspended sentence in 2014 after being convicted of handling a Labour MP’s stolen mobile phone but was welcomed back to the newspaper the following year”. Did they know he was suspected of hacking when they took him back?
Worse for the Murdoch mafiosi, Byline Media has gone rather further in its reporting. “A SENIOR reporter at Rupert Murdoch's The Sun has been accused of phone hacking in the High Court … The Paper's Chief Foreign Correspondent Nick Parker is alleged to have illegally intercepted voicemails to get stories … The allegation was made at a pre-trial review of a case in which alleged victims of unlawful information gathering are suing News Group Newspapers”. A pre-trial review? Will there be a trial this time?
“The claimants include actress Liz Hurley, animal rights activist Heather Mills, singer Elton John and his husband David Furnish … A six-week trial is scheduled to start on February 8, however the cases may be settled out-of-court before then”. Indeed, the Guardian suggests that Elton John and David Furnish may settle beforehand.
No trial would be a pity, given the Byline article tells “lawyers for the claimants stated that Parker acted illegally, even though his line managers knew and later the alleged criminality was covered-up by senior executives … David Sherborne, counsel for the claimants, told the court that Nick Parker hacked voicemails ‘with the knowledge of the News Desk’, the group of mid-ranking managers who control what reporters do at a newspaper”.
Also alleged is that Parker was still putting in claims “for buying top-up vouchers for unregistered SIM cards” as recently as January 2009 - only five months before Nick Davies’ first Guardian exposé on phone hacking. That suggests that the practice went on more or less until Davies blew the whistle on the affair.
But until one of the outstanding claims actually gets to court, the Murdoch empire gets away with admitting nothing. What was that about Leveson Part 2?
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