UK

Hacking row: News of the World executive 'implicated'

Actor Jude Law
Image caption Jude Law's civil action against the News of the World in January will be one of five test cases

A senior News of the World executive has been implicated in the phone hacking scandal, actor Jude Law's barrister has told the High Court.

The star is taking civil action against the newspaper and Hugh Tomlinson QC said documents seen by the legal team disclosed the name.

BBC home affairs correspondent June Kelly said it was a "bombshell moment".

A spokesman for the newspaper's owners said "it was entirely false" that the executive was implicated.

The details were revealed as Mr Justice Vos set details for five test cases in January.

It emerged Mr Law and Labour MP Chris Bryant will be among the five people used as test cases in civil action against News of the World.

The News of the World's owner, News International, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, said on Friday: "Now that we have seen the disclosure we believe it is entirely false that the... executive is implicated in the alleged voicemail interception of Jude Law."

The executive was not named in court.

'Harassment'

The other three people involved in the test cases are interior designer Kelly Hoppen, who is actress Sienna Miller's stepmother, football pundit Andy Gray, and sport agent Sky Andrew.

Mr Justice Vos said the cases would allow him to decide the damages that were properly payable, and resolve other cases without the need for further hearings.

Mr Tomlinson told the court the hacking of Mr Law's phone was "tantamount to harassment".

The High Court heard notebooks belonging to a private investigator hired by News Group Newspapers contained thousands of mobile phone numbers.

Police also found 149 individual pin numbers and almost 400 unique voice mail numbers which can be used to access voice mail, the court heard.

A week ago Ms Miller was set to accept £100,000 in damages from the newspaper, after it admitted liability over hacking her phone.

It was due to make a full disclosure in private to her legal team to show the extent of all wrongdoing.

Lawyers for Ms Miller said there had been a full admission of liability and that she had been vindicated.

The News of the World said it was "pleased we have managed to bring this case to a satisfactory conclusion".

Four alleged victims have already reached out-of-court settlements with the newspaper, including celebrity publicist Max Clifford, who received a reported £1m.

The scandal dates back to 2006, when the paper's former royal editor Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire were jailed for hacking into the mobile phone voicemails of royal aides.

Since then, a series of inquiries and legal cases have been exploring just how widespread the practice was, with implications for the police, celebrities and politicians.

More and more celebrities and public figures have alleged their phones have been hacked and some have launched legal actions against the paper or the police for allegedly failing to investigate.

News International has offered to co-operate fully with a Metropolitan Police inquiry.

The News of the World's chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck, 50, and former news editor Ian Edmondson, 42, were arrested last month on suspicion of having unlawfully intercepted voicemail messages. They were released on bail until September.

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