Met confirm that Royal mobiles were illegally intercepted

September 2, 2009 at 10:22 pm Leave a comment

Two senior police officers have told a committee of MPs that the Royal family was probably the victim of illegal phone tapping.

Assistant Commissioner John Yates and Detective Chief Superintendent Philip Williams were giving evidence today to the Culture, Media and Sport select committee’s inquiry into standards, privacy and libel.

It was the first committee hearing since the recess began in July.

The inquiry in the wake of the conviction of Glen Mulcaire, a private investigator who had a contract with the News of the World, was jailed in 2007 for hacking into mobile phones of Royal aides.

Former News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman was sent to prison for four months.

Ch Supt William was asked about the mobile phones of Princes William and Harry.

“Messages on their phone were a potential target,” he said.

He added that there is evidence their phones were intercepted.

The committee inquiry comes after News International rejected claims by the Guardian that mobile phone hacking was a more wide-spread practice than previously admitted.

Labour MP Mike Hall wanted to know why the £12,300 in cash paid by Goodman to Mulcaire over a period of years was not subject with a confiscation order or investigated by the tax authorities.

“We did consider a raft of things with the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) and counsel … we were unable to say that it was unlawful,” Assistant Commissioner Yates said.

MPs asked about the cash payments the Met makes to informers. Assistant Commissioner Yates said there were robust accounting procedures in place.

Tom Watson, Labour MP for West Bromwich East, was suspicious that Mulcaire and Goodman both refused to answer questions when arrested and then chose to plead guilty in court.

“Don’t you think they have been bought off?” he asked.

“Doesn’t it look suspicious that they had been hacking Royal phones, their employers give them a payoff and no-one goes back and asks about the nature of the payoff?”

Assistant Commissioner Yates responded:

“It is not our business.”


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