The PNC checks
PNC checks were made by detective constable Diss on three Labour politicians, according to police interview transcripts obtained by the Guardian. All were in late 2000.
• The first, on 13 September 2000, was on Martin Salter, the Labour MP for Reading West.
Salter had displeased Rebekah Brooks, then News of the World editor. He refused her request to support her notorious campaign for Sarah's Law to "protect us from pervs". Shortly afterwards, on 24 September 2000, NoW readers were urged to pillory him personally in a "naming and shaming" stunt.
Salter says: "She responded with some foul personal attacks so typical of the bullying style of the former NoW. I remember canvassing that Sunday morning and it was particularly unpleasant."
False rumours had been circulated earlier in the year by opponents in his constituency that he had convictions for cannabis and GBH. He had also made no secret of the fact that he had smoked cannabis in the past and believed in its decriminalisation.
• A few days later, on 18 September, DC Diss was asked to do another check, this time on Nick Brown, the agriculture minister and Labour MP for Newcastle East who had previously been "outed" as gay by the News of the World. Nick Brown had just been tipped as Gordon Brown's campaign manager in a rumoured leadership bid attempt to unseat Tony Blair.
• The third occasion came two months later, on 16 November, when a check was requested on "James Gordon Brown". The Murdoch papers were at that point taking Blair's side in his continuing feud with Gordon Brown.
All the requests came from Glen Lawson at Abbey Investigations in Newcastle upon Tyne, who paid £20 or £40 a time, according to the seized invoices. Each time, the answer "no trace" was faxed over to him.
Lawson refuses to identify his customer, but the court was told it was believed to be a newspaper.