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Hacker in tabloid scandal ordered to give evidence

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By SYLVIA HUI
The Associated Press
Friday, February 25, 2011; 3:52 PM

LONDON -- A private detective convicted of hacking into royal officials' cell phones for a British tabloid newspaper must give evidence in related cases in the widening scandal, a judge ruled Friday.

High Court Judge Geoffrey Vos ordered Glenn Mulcaire to answer questions about whether his hacking activities were at the instruction of the Rupert-Murdoch-owned News of the World. He must name who asked for the information, who he gave it to, and also explain how he accessed the cell phones.

Mulcaire was jailed in 2007 for six months for illegally eavesdropping on the voicemails of officials working for Britain's royal family. Clive Goodman, a former News of the World royal reporter, was also jailed at the time.

Vos gave the orders Friday in a separate case, in which actor Steve Coogan and football commentator Andy Gray launched a lawsuit after being told by police that their phone voicemails may have been intercepted.

About a dozen other celebrities and public figures, including actress Sienna Miller, have alleged that they, too, have been victims of the hacking scandal. Police have not made clear exactly how many people were targeted, citing the ongoing investigation.

The judge said there was "abundant evidence" that Gray's voicemails were hacked into. He said Mulcaire probably had the means to intercept Coogan's phone, and that he likely did so.

Vos said Mulcaire will not be allowed to avoid giving evidence by arguing that he might incriminate himself.

He added that information disclosed so far by News Group Newspapers, publishers of the News of the World, had been meager.

"I have no evidence as to whether there are justifiable reasons for that, but NGN has, as yet, disclosed none of its telephone records or electronic documents, which might be expected to show whether its journalists were making use of intercepted information emanating via Mr. Mulcaire from Mr. Gray's voicemails," Vos said.


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