Saturday, September 3, 2011

#hackgate:Phone hacking: police given 'dossier' on victims' lawyers

Milly Dowler family solicitor claims private detectives compiled file on lawyers dealing with claims against News of the World
An alleged dossier on lawyers dealing with damages claims against the News of the World has been handed to police. Photograph: Graeme Robertson
A solicitor acting for victims of phone hacking has given police an alleged dossier compiled by private detectives about him and other lawyers dealing with damages claims against the News of the World.

Mark Lewis, who represents the family of the murder victim and phone-hacking target Milly Dowler, said the dossier – believed to contain information about the lawyers' lives – was aimed at securing an "unfair advantage" in legal cases.

News International would not confirm the accuracy of the alleged document, but said none of its current executives had sanctioned activity of this type.

Lewis, who has acted for phone-hacking victims including the chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, Gordon Taylor, said: "Someone thought it was a good idea to see if they could get information. It is entirely reprehensible and completely wrong.

"It doesn't scare me, it doesn't bother me, but it is an apparent attempt to try to gain an improper advantage."

He said the file appeared to have been put together between December 2010 and January this year, "long after" he represented Taylor but before he represented the Dowler family.

Lewis said he had passed the dossier, and other claims that his phone might have been hacked, to police: "As soon as I was notified about it, I reported it to the police, who are investigating it," he said.

A News International spokesman said: "Current News International executives did not sanction any activity of this type."

The issue is likely to be raised with the former News of the World legal manager Tom Crone when he gives evidence before the Culture select committee on Tuesday.