Details of notes confiscated from the private investigator Glenn Mulcaire were revealed during the opening session of the Leveson inquiry todayCredit: Steve Parsons/PA
Journalists at the Sun and the Daily Mirror may have commissioned work by the private investigator at the centre of the phone hacking-scandal, Glenn Mulcaire, according to evidence presented today at the Leveson inquiry.
The opening day of the inquiry heard from counsel Robert Jay QC that the names of the newspapers were among a list of "corner names" found in Mulcaire's notebook – names of people and publications written on the corner of the investigator's notes.
Jay also revealed that 2,266 requests for information from Mulcaire were listed among 11,500 pages of material. Those requests, he said, were commissioned by 28 different journalists at News International, with one News of the World journalist – known only as "A" – alone responsible for 1,453.
Jay told the inquiry that his review had been "confined to the present state of the evidence relating to the News of the World, but added that the inquiry "is beginning to receive evidence to indicate that phone hacking was not limited to that organisation".
Referring to the actor Jude Law, Jay told the inquiry: "Mr Law alleges that his phone was hacked by the Sun, which is of course part of the NI portfolio of print titles.
"Part of the evidential matrix in support of his case is a corner name in the Mulcaire notebook which simply states 'the Sun’, without specifying the individual working there. It has also been drawn to the inquiry’s attention there may be another corner name relating to the Mirror, but this is under investigation."
The names found among Mulcaire's notes do not necessarily indicate involvement in illegal practices: the private investigator was also commissioned to do legal work such as "blagging" – obtaining information though deception.
The Daily Mirror has consistently maintained that its journalists work within the law and the Press Complaints Commission's code of conduct, and called allegations of illegality at the title made on Newsnight in July "totally unsubstantiated".
In a statement today, the publisher said: "It was not made clear to the inquiry which newspaper he was referring to nor did he elaborate on the nature of the 'evidence' or how it 'relates' to the Mirror.
"Trinity Mirror would like to make it clear that the company has no knowledge of ever using Glenn Mulcaire."
News International was not available for comment at the time of writing.
The revelation of the Sun's name among the notes will add to a period of unrest at the title, which saw a senior reporter – Jamie Pyatt – arrested this month in connection with corrupt payments to police.
The editor, Dominic Mohan, held a staff meeting at the beginning of last week to reassure staff that Rupert Murdoch was "up for the fight".
Shortly after, James Murdoch – appearing before MPs last week – refused to rule out closing down the tabloid if allegations of phone hacking were proven.
Jay dismissed the "rogue reporter" defence mounted by News International for some time following the initial phone hacking revelations in 2009, telling the inquiry it was "clear" that former News of the World royal correspondent Clive Goodman hadn't acted alone.
"Ignoring the 'private' corner names and the illegible, we have at least 27 other News International employees. This fact alone suggests wide-ranging illegal activity within the organisation at the relevant time.
"Aside from the number of individuals potentially inculpated, we also have evidence of a significant quantity of illegal activity over a relatively lengthy time period. There are a number of ways in which this activity might collectively be characterised. I suggest that it would not be unfair to comment that it was, at the very least, a thriving cottage-industry."
Leveson issued a warning to the press at the opening of his remarks today that they should not "victimise" witnesses who speak out about their treatment at the hands of the press.
The inquiry continues tomorrow and Wednesday from 10am and will hear from:
Jonathan Caplan (Associated Newspapers)
Rhodri Davies (News International)
The Daily Telegraph
James Dingemans (Northern and Shell)
The National Union of Journalists
Alan Rusbridger (the Guardian)
David Sherborne (lawyer for alleged victims)
Robert Jay Counsel for the Inquiry TBA
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