‘Can we hack their voicemail? That’s kind of how journalism worked in those days’ – extract from Beyond Contempt | Press Gazette

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This first extract focuses on former Sunday Mirror and News of the World reporter Dan Evans, who gave evidence against colleagues and admitted phone-hacking whilst at both titles. It also looks at the case against former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks. Beyond Contempt is available to buy as en e-book and order in paperback format

.“Can we hack their voicemail? Oh, there they are… let’s go along with a photographer. That’s kind of how tabloid journalism worked in those days – that was life.” Former News of the World reporter Dan Evans said management referred to phone-hacking during conferences as “special checks,” and unlike the Mirror group, News International wanted everything on email.

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4 DAYS LEFT: You Crowdfunded my Court Reporting: now be part of the Hacking Trial Book

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Pre-order and get your name on the book

Pre-order the Book: Get eternal life.

Once more thanks so much for supporting my live tweeting the phone hacking trial. I live tweeted nearly 500,000 words in 2.5 million keystrokes from the Old Bailey thanks to you. The trial finally concluded last week with the sentencing of Dan Evans – and the announcement of a likely Phone Hacking Trial Two with the charging of former News of the World deputy editor Neil Wallis, and features editor Jules Stenson

But nothing will ever again match the size, length and cost of the 8 month trial of Regina v Brooks and Others. For those of you who may have missed it, I’ve written a long form profile of Brooks for the New Statesman

More importantly, I’ve just finished Beyond Contempt:The Inside Story of the Phone Hacking Trial – which reveals all the legal argument, media campaigns and police activities that we’re going on in the background – as well as my own adventures and misadventures. Continue reading

Did Coulson’s News of the World Incite Others to Crime and cause Unsafe Convictions?

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More on the Fake Sheikh, the Police, and News of the World by occasional blogger @jpublik. Cross posted at Bellingcat. 

Andy Coulson‘s News of the World sent a man to jail after luring him to sell them drugs he was terrified of carrying by promising him a job. He was sentenced to four years in prison before his conviction – after he’d already served his time.

In a case which has hardly received any publicity, according to high court documents, Albanian Besnik Qema was asked to supply News of the World cocaine and a passport on a promise of job as security for a wealthy Arab family.

The High Court documents detail how in January 2005, Mazher Mahmood had asked Florim Gashi, a contact of his who he had used in previous “set-up” stings to find someone who could be implicated in a story he or the News of the World wanted to run about false passports, drugs and guns. Gashi then adopted the identity of a female called Aurora and through an internet chat room used by expatriate Albanians established contact with Qema.

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More News of the World background: Miskiw, Mahmood and the MET

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Another piece on News of the World -cross posted from Bellingcat and introduced by Eliot Higgins

Over the past two years my “regular contributor” has written on all things Leveson, phone hacking, and police corruption, with much of their work gathered on the Brown Moses Blog – Hackgate Files.  Now they’ve come to Bellingcat to continue their work, beginning with a look at Mazher Mahmood (aka the Fake Sheikh) and the Metropolitan Police.

Miskiw, Mahmood and the MET

In January 2004, a journalist from the News of the World (NOTW) was interviewed by MET police on suspected criminality resulting from Operation Motorman. It was GREG MISKIW.

Yet just a few weeks later, MET police were enthusiastically commiting to a £1million+ collaboration with the NOTW on a newspaper ‘sting’. This time the journalist was MISKIW’S investigations desk close colleague – MAZHER MAHMOOD.

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UPDATED: Hacking Trial 2: Wallis Responds to charges: “needlessly vindictive… the ire has been turned on me”

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Neil Wallis has just responded to these new charges:

Neil Wallis

Neil Wallis (Photo credit: jon_cronshaw)

 I’m devastated that more than 3 years after my initial arrest, this swingeing indiscriminate charge had been brought against me. My family and  I have already paid a huge price for the police’s very public attention. Perhaps it is inevitable that after being such an outspoken critic of the collateral damage and pain caused by this needlessly vindictive and enormously costly investigation, the ire  has been turned on me for something that occurred at NI of which I knew nothing and which I have always said was wrong Regrettably, legal reporting restrictions prevent me commenting further on this sad day.

Eariler from  from the CPS

On December 2013, the Metropolitan Police Service submitted evidence for charging advice to the CPS in relation to Operation Pinetree, an investigation into an alleged conspiracy to hack phone messages by journalists at the News of the World. Additional evidence in the case was provided in June 2014. The file asked for charging advice on eight suspects; all were formerly employed at the News of the World. On 16 July 2014, the CPS announced that six of those individuals would face no further action whilst the evidence in relation to two further suspects remained under review. That review has now concluded.

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Other dark arts at the News of the World – Fake Sheikh investigated by police just before Phone Hacking operation

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A timeline on the Fake Sheikh, News of the World and police investigations by my  occasional contributor, Joe Public. Crossposted at Bellingcat.

Scotland Yard investigated Fake Sheikh Mazher Mahmood 9 YEARS AGO – in 2005 just four months before they initiated a phone hacking case into his newspaper. Like operation Caryatid, there isn’t a trace of a follow up or outcome despite the evidence that triggered the investigation being accepted in TWO courts. Instead, just 8 months after opening the investigation, the Yard publicly declared; “it would not rule out working with the paper again” after the collapse of a trial both Met and NotW brought to court together.

These events started when in 2004 when the Met Police [SO13] joined forces with News of the World on a fake sheikh sting “Red Mercury -Dirty Bomb”. Both the Met and Mahmood have confirmed working together since, as Mahmood told the Press Gazette; “the entire job I was basically working for Scotland Yard’s anti-terrorism squad”.

A year earlier, another fake sheikh story: a Victoria Beckham kidnap plot case was thrown out by the Crown Prosecution Service before the trial started because the main prosecution witness had been paid £10,000 by Mahmood. Continue reading