Category Archives: Phone-Hacking
A senior police officer at the centre of “collective amnesia” over the alleged hacking of murdered Greater London schoolgirl Milly Dowler’s phone by journalists has been announced as the Deputy Chief Constable of another force.
Craig Denholm (above), who is in the same role at Surrey Police, was given “words of advice” – the lowest form of sanction – after an investigation found the force knew for a decade that News of the World reporters had gained access to the youngster’s phone.
But despite this Mr Denholm was appointed on Thursday by Hampshire Chief Constable Andy Marsh who said the officer was “an experienced and very capable DCC with a good track record of leadership and delivery of excellent policing services to the public”.
Surrey Police said it had taken “management action and issued words of advice” to Mr Denholm and another officer on Wednesday, although the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) concluded neither had a case to answer for misconduct.
The IPCC added it was “hard to understand” how Mr Denholm, the officer in charge of the Milly Dowler inquiry, could not have been aware of the hacking allegations.
The IPCC found that a number of more junior officers at Surrey Police in 2002 were frank about their knowledge of phone hacking but the force did nothing.
However, witnesses became much “less specific” in relation to the knowledge and actions of senior officers – particularly Mr Denholm.
Mr Denholm, who was detective chief superintendent and head of crime for Surrey Police in 2002, claimed to have had no knowledge about the hacking of Milly’s phone.
The watchdog was unable to find any witness or evidence that contradicted Mr Denholm’s repeated assertions that he did not know.
In a statement released by Hampshire Police, Mr Denholm said: “I am absolutely delighted to have been appointed as Deputy Chief Constable in Hampshire.
“I have had the pleasure of serving with the force before and look forward to working with Andy Marsh and all in the Hampshire Constabulary team, and helping make what is already a great force even better.”
Mr Marsh said: “Craig is an experienced and very capable DCC with a good track record of leadership and delivery of excellent policing services to the public.
“He will be a valuable addition to the team and I look forward to working with him in Hampshire over the next few years.”
Hampshire police and crime commissioner, Simon Hayes, who was a member of the selection panel, said: “I was very impressed with the high calibre of candidates and, in selecting Craig Denholm, I feel certain that our chief officer team will be strengthened and equipped to take the force in a positive direction, protecting people and places and ensuring Hampshire and the Isle of Wight remain safe places to live, work and visit.”
Mr Denholm’s start date is yet to be confirmed.
He was appointed Deputy Chief Constable of Surrey Police in June 2009 and his policing career began in the Metropolitan Police in 1984.
The IPCC said earlier this week that officers at “all levels” of Surrey Police were aware of the phone hacking allegations during the 2002 murder investigation.
But the watchdog added it had not been able to discover why the force failed to act, adding that senior officers were suffering from a “form of collective amnesia”.
Former nightclub bouncer Levi Bellfield was convicted of Milly’s murder in June 2011, some nine years after she vanished as she walked home from Walton-on-Thames station.
Following Bellfield’s trial, then Surrey Police Chief Constable Mark Rowley set up Operation Baronet to look into reports that Surrey Police were aware in April 2002 that the News of the World had allegedly intercepted Milly’s voicemail.
Surrey Police Authority and Surrey Police referred Mr Denholm and temporary detective superintendent Maria Woodall to the IPCC in June 2012 in light of evidence arising from Operation Baronet.
IPCC deputy chairwoman Deborah Glass said: “Our investigation has heard from officers and former officers from Surrey Police who have expressed surprise and dismay that it wasn’t investigated.
“We have not been able to uncover any evidence, in documentation or witness statements, of why and by whom that decision was made – former senior officers, in particular, appear to have been afflicted by a form of collective amnesia in relation to the events of 2002.
“This is perhaps not surprising, given the events of 2011 and the public outcry that the hacking of Milly Dowler’s phone produced.”
In a further statement, Hampshire Police added: “The Milly Dowler case is a Surrey Police investigation and it would not be appropriate for us to comment on it.
“We were aware of the IPCC report. DCC Denholm was an outstanding candidate and selected on merit. We look forward to welcoming him.”
A prison officer has been arrested by detectives investigating alleged corrupt payments to public officials, Scotland Yard said today.
The 40-year-old man was held at around 8.30am at his home in Sittingbourne, Kent, on suspicion of conspiracy to cause misconduct in a public office.
He is currently being questioned and his home is being searched.
The arrest is a result of information passed to police by News Corporation’s Management and Standards Committee
It brings the number of people held under Operation Elveden, the inquiry into alleged inappropriate payments, to 58.
Of those arrested under Elveden, eight people have or will face court proceedings and two – a retired police officer and a former journalist – have been told they will face no further action.
Last week, the Crown Prosecution Service announced that ex-Metropolitan Police constable Paul Flattley and The Sun’s defence editor, Virginia Wheeler, will face a charge of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.
It is alleged that the officer was paid at least £4,000 in cheques and £2,450 in cash in exchange for information.
Allegations have also been made against former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, 44, Sun chief reporter John Kay, 69, and Ministry of Defence employee Bettina Jordan-Barber, 39.
It is alleged that Brooks, from Oxfordshire, and Kay, from north-west London, conspired to pay Jordan-Barber, from Shrivenham, near Swindon, Wiltshire, around £100,000 for information.
Prime Minister David Cameron’s former spin doctor, Andy Coulson, and former News of the World royal correspondent Clive Goodman are charged with conspiracy to pay for information including a royal phone directory known as the “Green Book”.
All five are due to appear at the Old Bailey for a plea hearing on March 8.
In another case, Detective Chief Inspector April Casburn, 53, was found guilty of misconduct in public office earlier this month for offering to sell information to the News of the World.
She will be sentenced at the Old Bailey on February 1.
Operation Elveden is being run alongside two other police investigations. Operation Weeting, an inquiry into alleged phone hacking, has seen 26 arrests, and Operation Tuleta, an investigation into computer hacking and other privacy breaches, has seen 19.
Private investigator Glenn Mulcaire has lost a Supreme Court fight to keep the identity of the person who instructed him to intercept messages a secret.
Mr Mulcaire, who intercepted mobile phone messages while working for the News of the World, failed to persuade the UK’s highest court that he should be able to rely on privilege against self-incrimination in civil phone-hacking proceedings.
He had asked five Supreme Court justices to rule on whether he must disclose who instructed him.
Mr Mulcaire said his lawyers advised him that he should not have to give “potentially incriminating answers” to questions asked in civil litigation at the High Court, and the appeal was made to protect his “legitimate legal interests”.
Five years ago Mr Mulcaire and former News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman were jailed after the Old Bailey heard that they plotted to hack into royal aides’ telephone messages.
At the Supreme Court today, the five justices unanimously dismissed his appeal.
Mr Mulcaire says he is at risk of being charged with criminal offences, and faces damages claims at the High Court, many of which have been brought by celebrities.
He fears he may incriminate himself if he answers questions in the civil proceedings.
Mr Mulcaire appealed to the Supreme Court after losing fights in the High Court and Court of Appeal.
His battle began after Nicola Phillips, who was an assistant to public relations consultant Max Clifford, claimed her voicemail had been unlawfully intercepted.
Judges in the High Court and Appeal Court ruled that Mr Mulcaire should disclose information relating to Ms Phillips’s claim.
Mr Mulcaire was again arrested in December following the launch of a new police investigation, the Supreme Court was told at a hearing in London in May.
A lawyer told the judges Mr Mulcaire had been released on bail without charge pending further inquiries.
Mr Mulcaire said in a statement released before the start of the Supreme Court hearing: “The police have all the relevant documents from me since 2006 and I have already faced criminal proceedings, been convicted, and served a prison sentence.
“All the steps taken by my legal team in respect of the civil claims against me are to protect my legitimate legal interests.”
Today’s ruling was made by Lord Hope, Lord Walker, Lord Kerr, Lord Clarke and Lord Dyson.
Lord Walker, announcing the decision of the court, said the appeal “arises out of what has become known as the phone-hacking scandal”.
After the hearing, in a statement issued through his lawyer, Mr Mulcaire said: “I will comply with the Supreme Court ruling to answer questions in Ms Phillips’ case.
“I will consider with my lawyers what the wider implications of this judgment are, if and when I am asked to answer questions in other cases.”
In a statement issued through her lawyer, Ms Phillips said: “This judgment will benefit a significant number of claimants who seek similar information.”
Her solicitor, Mark Lewis, said: “The Supreme Court judgment is a significant milestone in the phone-hacking scandal.
“The Supreme Court has ruled that Glenn Mulcaire cannot hide behind his right to silence.
“He will now have to serve a witness statement answering questions about the News of the World journalist or journalists who gave him instructions and the nature of that information.”
He added: “The Nicola Phillips judgment will have wide-ranging consequences in relation to all the phone hacking claimants and beyond.”
Mr Lewis said he expected Mr Mulcaire would serve a statement to Ms Phillips’ legal team within the next three weeks.
Lord Walker said during 2005 and 2006 Mr Mulcaire worked as a private investigator, “often engaged by staff on the News of the World Newspaper then published by News Group Newspapers Ltd (NGN)”.
In January 2007, Mr Mulcaire and Mr Goodman pleaded guilty to offences relating to the interception of voicemail messages of the Royal Household and were sentenced to six and four months’ imprisonment respectively.
Lord Walker said during 2008-2010 “a large number of civil claims were brought by individuals against NGN and some against Mr Mulcaire, claiming that messages on their mobile phones had been unlawfully intercepted”.
In May 2010, Ms Phillips began proceedings against NGN in relation to voicemail messages left on her mobile phone.
Part of her case was that the contents of voicemail messages left by clients on her mobile included “factual information, some of which is private information and some of which is commercially confidential information, including that relating to her clients’ personal lives and relationships, health, finances, incidents in which the police have become involved, personal security or publicity issues, commercial business transactions, professional relationships and future career plans”.
She applied to add Mr Mulcaire as a defendant and for an order that he serve a witness statement disclosing information under several heads, including the identity of the person instructing him to intercept the messages.
He opposed the order for disclosure, relying on privilege against self-incrimination, on the basis that he could not be required to disclose that information as to do so would tend to expose him to prosecution.