Private eye Mulcaire must reveal hacking details
LONDON (Reuters) - A private detective at the heart of Britain's phone hacking scandal has lost a key legal battle that could lead to more light being shone on the extent of illegal hacking at Rupert Murdoch's News of the World newspaper.
Glenn Mulcaire, jailed for hacking into voicemail messages on behalf of a journalist at the now defunct tabloid, has been ordered by Britain's top court to reveal who asked him to listen in on the messages.
He has three weeks to comply.
Murdoch closed the News of the World, Britain's biggest-selling newspaper, last summer after it was found to have intercepted the messages on a murdered schoolgirl's mobile phone.
Mulcaire had argued in court that he risked incriminating himself by naming who requested the illegal hacking of the phone of Nicola Phillips, an assistant to celebrity publicist Max Clifford.
But the Supreme Court ruled that Mulcaire was not covered by legal protections against self-incrimination, and rejected his appeal.
Mulcaire said in a statement after the case he would comply with the court's ruling and give the details to Phillips.
However, police or prosecutors may request that she does not publicly release the information if they feel it could prejudice any criminal proceedings, her legal team said.
Mulcaire was jailed in 2007 along with the paper's ex-royal correspondent Clive Goodman for illegally accessing the voicemails of royal aides and five other figures including the model Elle Macpherson.
Following their conviction, Murdoch's British publishing arm News International repeatedly insisted that Goodman was a single rogue reporter and that no others had taken part in phone hacking.
But in the face of civil action from celebrities, politicians and other figures, the company admitted early last year it had evidence that the practice was more widespread, prompting a fresh police inquiry.
Since then around 60 journalists and public officials have been arrested on suspicion of hacking or corrupt relationships, and News International has paid a number of settlements to hacking victims.
Three more people were arrested on Wednesday morning on suspicion of making inappropriate payments to police and public officials.
Police said they were a 46-year-old prison officer, a 50-year-old woman and a 37-year-old man.
A wide-ranging public inquiry into the scandal that has dominated British media headlines has also exposed close ties between Murdoch's inner circle and those at the top of government, including Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron.
Cameron has been embarrassed by his appointment of the News of the World's former editor Andy Coulson as his press chief and by his friendship with News International's former chief executive Rebekah Brooks.
Both Coulson and Brooks have since been arrested and subsequently charged, Brooks with hiding evidence from police and Coulson for perjury. Both deny the offences.
(Writing by Tim Castle; Editing by Steve Addison)
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