News Corp turns to Matrix silk over Met payment claims

Matrix Chambers’ Ken Macdonald QC, the former Director of Public Prosecutions, is acting for the board of News Corporation over allegations that its tabloid News of the World (NotW) made inappropriate payments to Metropolitan Police Service officers.

Ken Macdonald QC
Ken Macdonald QC

Earlier this year the High Court ordered private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, who was alleged to have hacked into several phones belonging to celebrities on behalf of NotW, to disclose information relating to his activities.

Those documents revealed details of alleged payments made to London police officers.

A statement released by Metropolitan Police Commissioner Paul Stephenson confirmed that on 20 June Macdonald had handed the service papers relating to allegations of illegal payments to the police.

Criminal firm Hickman & Rose is acting for the news group, with partner Ben Rose instructing Macdonald.

Stephenson’s statement said: “Discussions were held with the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) at the time and they are content that this matter should continue to be investigated through Operation ELVEDEN under the direction of DAC [deputy assistant commissioner] Sue Akers, in partnership with our directorate of professional standards.

“At this time we have not seen any evidence requiring a referral to the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) in respect of any senior officer.”

This morning Prime Minister David Cameron said enquiries would be launched into allegations that the tabloid hired private investigators to hack into the phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.

Private investigator Mulcaire is alleged to have hacked into and deleted messages from Milly Dowler’s phone. Mulcaire, who was jailed for six months for his role in hacking into the phones of royal aides, is being represented by Payne Hicks Beach partner Sarah Webb.

The Dowler family has instructed Taylor Hampton partner Mark Lewis to represent them.