Friday 20 January 2012

Judge orders search of News of the World executives' computers in bid to find out if key hacking evidence was destroyed


A judge overseeing the settling of hacking claims by victims of News of the World has ordered executives' computers be searched. Senior managers at News Group Newspapers – the parent company of the News of the World – were criticised by Mr Justice Vos, the judge supervising the settlements. Jeremy Reed, who is acting on behalf of several victims of phone hacking, said that when the News of The World moved offices in 2010, computers used by journalists accused of hacking were destroyed. He disparaged their reaction to a request in 2010 from lawyers for the actress Sienna Miller to retain emails that might be relevant to a phone hacking claim. Within three days, the judge said, ‘a carefully conceived plan to delete emails was put into effect at the behest of senior management’. He said the evidence raised ‘compelling questions about whether you concealed, told lies, actively tried to get off scot free’. He ordered the company to search a number of computers, adding that there was evidence that management had a ‘startling approach to the email record’.