NOTW phone hacking continued even after reporter jailed
Journalists at the 'News of the World' may have continued hacking phones for two years after the paper's royal editor was jailed for the practice, lawyers for News International conceded yesterday.
Clive Goodman was imprisoned in 2007 along with the private investigator Glenn Mulcaire after admitting illegally intercepting the voicemail messages of royal aides.
But despite the enormity of the scandal, police believe there is evidence reporters at the now defunct Sunday tabloid continued to hack phones until as late as 2009.
In an opening submission to the Leveson Inquiry into press ethics, Rhodri Davies, representing News International, said he could not guarantee that the activity ended when Goodman was sacked.
Mr Davies reiterated the company's unreserved apology over the "shameful" actions of some of its journalists and said contrary to earlier statements by News International, it was now accepted that phone hacking went beyond one "rogue reporter".
But Mr Davies challenged claims by Robert Jay, counsel for the inquiry, that hacking had been a "thriving cottage industry" at the News of the World after 2007.
He also questioned claims that at least 27 journalists on the paper had commissioned Mulcaire to work for them.
"I am not going to give any guarantees that there was no phone hacking by or for the News of the World after 2007," he said.
"Nonetheless it does look as if lessons were learnt when Mr Goodman and Mr Mulcaire went to jail. If phone hacking continued after that it was not, as it appears, what Mr Jay described as the 'thriving cottage industry' which existed beforehand."
Mr Davies said News International had not had sight of all of Mr Mulcaire's notebooks, which documented some 2,266 taskings from journalists.