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Phone-hacking case: Sky Andrew's lawyers seek details

Sky Andrew (left) who is suing News of the World
Image caption Sky Andrew (left) claims the News of the World hacked into his phone

Lawyers acting for the sports agent Sky Andrew have made a further legal bid to obtain details of alleged phone-hacking by the News of the World.

The High Court heard that the police investigation into the affair could take "two to three years" to complete.

Mr Andrew's legal team wants the police to disclose names of his acquaintances who may have been targeted by private investigator Glenn Mulcaire.

Their phone numbers are thought to be in Mulcaire's notebooks.

They were seized when he was arrested in 2006. At the time he was working exclusively for the News of the World.

At the start of the hearing, Mr Justice Vos said the Metropolitan Police last week applied in private for an order to withhold information relating to Mr Andrew, sports presenter Andy Gray and comedian Steve Coogan because it might "impede" the police investigation.

The judge refused to agree to that request but also declined to make the details of his judgement public.

Jeremy Reed QC, counsel for Mr Andrew, told the High Court the police had released photocopies of notebooks belonging to Mulcaire but many details important to the Andrew case had been blacked out.

'Redacted' names

In one example he said the name of the footballer Sol Campbell had been "redacted" - despite the fact that elsewhere in the notebooks it was clear Mr Campbell was a client of Sky Andrew, and his messages left on Mr Andrew's phone might have been accessed by Mulcaire.

At the time, Mr Campbell was in a relationship with the designer Kelly Hoppen, who also claims her messages were accessed.

The judge will have to decide whether to order the police to remove the redactions.

Image caption Sol Campbell was one of those apparently targeted by Glenn Mulcaire

The legal processes are becoming ever more complicated.

It is not clear how many notebooks Glenn Mulcaire used to record his investigations for the News of the World and sources close to the original investigation into his activities have told the BBC they contain several thousand names of possible phone hacking targets.

In some cases the name of the original target - such as Mr Andrew - may be linked to many other famous people he may have called, or received messages from.

There are numbers for fixed and mobile phone lines in the notebooks as well as numbers for voicemail boxes which can be dialled directly - a technique used by Mr Mulcaire to access messages.

Electronic records

Mr Andrew's lawyers also plan to ask for court orders to obtain details of electronic records stored by the News of the World, as well as the names of those at the paper Mulcaire was dealing with.

They say an admission by Mulcaire that he passed information to the paper's newsdesk - its senior journalists - rather than a named reporter was significant, as it showed his activities were common knowledge at the News of the World, rather than secretly commissioned.

But there are at least a dozen cases going through the courts on top of Mr Andrew's, whose litigation will not come to court until January next year.

The complex police investigation, codenamed Operation Weeting, continues and is said by Scotland Yard to be "in its early stages".

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