Harbottle’s hackgate headache

In ancient times – two weeks ago – the idea that the most powerful man in British media could have his cloak of invincibility brutally ripped away was unthinkable.

But in a riveting 20-minute skewering by Tom Watson yesterday – forget all about any grandstanding flan flingers – that’s exactly what happened to former Wizard of Oz Rupert Murdoch.

Similarly, for most inhabitants of the UK legal market the name Harbottle & Lewis once only conjured up little more than images of pampered popstars and luvvies.

Indeed, Rebekah Brooks’ “twin” Carol Decker of T’Pau has just weighed into the white-hot phone-hacking tweeting debate with the revelation that Harbottle were her lawyers for seven years. Cripes. Is there no dramatic height this saga will not scale?

Equally, the twists and turns in the scandal are showing no signs whatsoever of letting up. Among the latest salvoes was the doozy fired by Harbottle yesterday.

Last week Murdoch pointed the finger at his former lawyers for making “a major mistake” in News International’s internal investigation into phone-hacking (see story).

Now Harbottle has demanded to be freed from its duty of client confidentiality so it can fight its corner (see story).

So far, for some reason as yet unknown, Murdoch doesn’t appear keen.


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