Mark Lewis, the lawyer who represents the parents of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler and various other phone hacking victims, has claimed that the illegal practice was “much more widespread” than just the News of the World.
Speaking at Lord Justice Leveson’s Inquiry into media practices and ethics in London on Wednesday, Lewis said that it was a matter of misfortune that the News of the World investigator Glenn Mulcaire had kept such rigorous notes connecting him to the newspaper.
“In a way I feel sorry for the News of the World, or certainly the News of the World readers, because it was a much more widespread practice than just one newspaper,” Lewis explained to the High Court.
“It was simply that their inquiry agent, Glenn Mulcaire, had written things down, and kept the evidence.
Mulcaire was jailed along with the News of the World’s former royal editor Clive Goodman in January 2007 after they admitted intercepting voicemail messages left on phones belonging to royal aides.
Speaking of voicemail hacking, Lewis said it was such an easy-to-access practice that many journalists would use it just to “pry on things”.
“I don’t think they [journalists] necessarily thought of it as any worse — certainly at the beginning — than driving at 35 [miles per hour] in a 30 [miles per hour] zone,” he said.
Lewis, who was allegedly the victim of surveillance by the News of the World, said that most attention in the phone hacking scandal had been on the paper, but he claimed to have evidence from his clients that other organizations were involved.
“I was told Paul Dacre wouldn’t hesitate to sue me if I suggested the Daily Mail was involved in phone hacking,” he said.
The Leveson inquiry, set up by Prime Minister David Cameron in July and expected to last a year, will make recommendations that are likely to have a lasting impact on the media industry, leading to a shake-up of the current system of self-regulation, or a tightening of the rules.
via The Telegraph