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phone hacking, court of appeal, news of the world, glenn mulcaire, steve coogan, nicola phillip, confidential information, intellectual property, dave drew, browne jacobson

6 February 2012

The Court of Appeal has upheld an order from the High Court requiring Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator at the centre of the News of the World phone hacking scandal, to reveal the names of anyone who instructed him to intercept Steve Coogan and Nicola Phillips’ phone messages. Mr Mulcaire has until 5pm today to appeal.

Mr Mulcaire attempted to rely on his right to privilege against self-incrimination (PSI), arguing that by revealing other names he would be liable to prosecution for conspiracy. However, the court held that PSI could be suspended in proceedings for breach of confidence under section 72 of the Supreme Court Act 1981. This would not compromise Mr Mulcaire’s right to a fair trial, because section 72 prevents incriminating statements or admissions being used in later proceedings, should they take place.

By accepting a definition of “confidential” including “private” and “commercial information”, the Court of Appeal effectively rendered PSI obsolete where any form of confidential information has been illegally obtained.

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