HACKGATE DAY 47: A quiet day for HMS Newscorp, just the two torpedoes off the port bow.

As the lone pirate theory falls apart….

…..is it time some boys in blue were hanging from the Yard arm?

The Independent ran a catch-up piece on Hackgate yesterday, such things being necessary if readers aren’t to miss an important part of the plot that began life as a Glenn The Lonely Pirate. James Hannan’s quietly bitchy article stayed on the safe side of litigation fence: anyone writing about this farrago of misdemeanours  knows full well by now how many familiar server addresses crawl all over one’s observations from the Newscorp Crow’s Nest. Nevertheless, it was notable for this memorable paragraph:

‘As chief executive of News International, which owns the NoW, Ms Brooks has always endorsed the “rogue reporter” defence, which has maintained, since Mulcaire and royal reporter Clive Goodman were sent to prison, that they had been acting of their own accord, unlicensed by their superiors. With the airing of accusations in The New York Times and elsewhere, and the drip of new evidence from civil cases brought by celebrities, this has come to look increasingly thin. The removal of the paper’s news editor, Ian Edmondson, last month led cynics to wonder “how many rogues make a conspiracy”.’

Having nailed her flame-haired colours to this wonky mast, if I were Rebekah I’d divorce the rogue reporter defence forthwith, as it is the ultimate colander on an ocean of evidence to the contrary. Rumours continue to grow that she will herself soon enough be walking the plank.

Meanwhile, over at the Guardian they can actually report some solid new sightings of Cap’n Plod’s continuing attempt at damage limitation to the multiply-torpedoed Metropolitan Police.

The Met has made an application to strike out a libel action by Mark Lewis, a solicitor representing victims of phone hacking by everyone in Fleet Street for years the NoW during 2006. Lewis persists in maintaining that the Met’s Detective Sergeant Mark Maberly told him in 2008, “as many as 6,000 phones may have been hacked”. It’s hard to imagine why the Sarge concerned might have alleged such a thing just for the fun of it, but since that time Maberly has now leapt up the rigging to the rank of Inspector. Promotion sometimes has a silencer effect on folks, I find.

Inspector Maberly, the Met now says, never told Lewis he would “give him enough rope to hang them” as Lewis alleges. As yet there is no sign of what DI Maberly himself says, and when The Slog rang the Met this morning to enquire after his memory of events,Maberly was otherwise engaged. Which – for a serving officer with his career to pursue – is entirely understandable. The Guardian put it like this (my emphasis):

‘The Met’s denial prompted Lewis to launch a libel claim that the force will seek to strike out in court on Thursday and thus close down a line of inquiry that could reveal the extent of the evidence it holds relating to the scandal.

“This is about my reputation,” Lewis said. “The police accused me of lying about my conversation.”‘

True Mr Lewis, but chiefly it’s about a continuing bad-cop cover-up by those not in the Sue Akers wavy navy…..who (by the way) now number 47, and growing.


It’s time that either a new Untouchables group headed by Sue Akers was sealed off from the guilty, or the whole filthy mess was taken away from the Met. The farcical contradictions in their own evidence make this move as much in their own interests, which aren’t being helped by this ill-advised and blatant attempt to withhold evidence. We have for example high-ranking anti-terrorist cop Andy Hayman (now, remember, working as a crime reporter for Murdoch himself) who told the media there were only a “handful” of victims, whereas John Yates, the acting commissioner who led the Mark I follow-up investigation, told the home affairs select committee that “the voicemail pin codes of up to 120 people were discovered”.

My, my, my….what big hands you have, Officer Hayman.

Indeed, either John Yates needs to get past his hundred times table, or the greatly promoted Inspector Maberly needs to explain what on earth it was that gave Mark Lewis the lasting impression of the Hacking of the Six Thousand.

As it happens, a rising number of MPs agree with The Slog. What’s more, Paul Farrelly, a member of the culture and media committee, has written to Crown Prosecution Service boss Keir Starmer to express his concerns about the its role in the affair. Farrelly’s own take on the part played by the CPS is to dub it ‘rubber stamping’ – an opinion with which one is forced to agree.