The director of public prosecutions, Keir Starmer, last night set up a team to conduct “an urgent examination of the material that was supplied by the police to the CPS” in the 2006 News of the World court case. It is alleged that evidence was suppressed of systematic corporate illegality by News International, as a single, so-called “rogue reporter”, Clive Goodman, and a private detective accomplice, Glenn Mulcaire, were jailed.
Starmer said he wanted to satisfy himself and the public that appropriate actions were taken at the time in relation to “extensive and complex” evidence that had been collected. He promised a further statement “in the coming days”.
The key question for the DPP’s team now combing through the files is likely to be whether the police handed over all of the paperwork which, it has been alleged, directly implicated at least one middle-ranking News of the World executive in the phone hacking, even to the extent of his offering Mulcaire a bonus for further illegal activities.
Sources close to the CPS said that Sir Ken Macdonald, director of public prosecutions at the time, had deliberately not been directly involved in the prosecution decisions, partly because he was a personal acquaintance of Andy Coulson, then editor of the News of the World. A submission had been put up to him simply outlining the prosecution decisions taken by the then head of the special crimes unit, Carmen Dowd, the sources said.
The crown statement to the court outlining Mulcaire’s crimes was made by David Perry QC, the leading counsel advising Dowd.
According to the trial reports, no mention was made in his speech of the alleged connection between Mulcaire and at least one News of the World executive. Starmer said last night: “I have no reason to consider that there was anything inappropriate in the prosecutions that were undertaken in this case.”