Mark Lewis arriving at Leveson

Evidence given by Mark Lewis, pictured arriving at the Leveson inquiry today, was refuted by News International lawyer Rhodri Davies QC

Credit: Lewis Whyld/PA

The Leveson inquiry was forced to remove a written statement by the lawyer Mark Lewis from its website this morning after it was challenged by News International in court.

Lewis claimed that an unnamed journalist who used to work for the Evening Standard, and who is alleged to have been taught how to hack during a recorded phonecall with private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, was recruited to work for the Times by a News International executive.

The executive, Simon Greenberg, was also previously at the Standard in a senior position to the unnamed journalist, who is understood to have been on sick leave from the Times since September 2010 when the recording of the phone call with Mulcaire was published by the New York Times.

Lewis alleged in his testimony that the unnamed journalist reported to Greenberg at the Standard, during the time he is alleged to have been taught to hack phones, and was later recruited to the Times after Greenberg had moved to News International.

But after requesting a break to assess Lewis's evidence, News International lawyer Rhodri Davies QC refuted the claim, pointing out that Greenberg had left the Standard in 2004, before the conversation between the unnamed journalist and Mulcaire is alleged to have to taken place, and joined News International after the unnamed journalist was recruited to the Times.

Making his own statement in response to Lewis' evidence, Greenberg confirmed that the unnamed journalist had identified himself to the Times executives as the person on the recording with Mulcaire, and had been put on indefinite sick leave in September 2010, before Greenberg joined the company.

Davies added in court that News International was keen to make this "urgent" statement, as Greenberg sits on the publisher's management and standards committee, responsible for investigating phone hacking.

"His position is a matter of importance to us," Davies said.

Jonathan Caplan QC, lawyer for Evening Standard publisher Associated Newspapers, suggested twice that the unnamed journalist should be named in order to prevent suspicion falling on other employees of the company.

Caplan told the court that he believed information about the man's identity is already in the public domain and that his team were investigating the issue.

Caplan also took issue with an implied link, made by Lewis, between a negative piece about the lawyer published in the Daily Mail and a warning Lewis said he received that former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks intended to exact revenge on him for his phone-hacking litigation "through a rival paper".

"The inference is absolutely refuted," Caplan told the court.

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