Further written evidence submitted by
the Crown Prosecution Service
I refer to your letter dated 9 July 2009 and
your request for the Crown Prosecution Service to submit written
evidence to the Committee on the inquiry into the prosecution
of Clive Goodman.
On 16 July 2009 I announced the results of my examination
of the material that was supplied to the Crown Prosecution Service
by the police in this case, and I sent you a copy of my detailed
I was conscious that despite my announcement
there were still some concerns. These arose principally because
of the nature of the two documents submitted by the Guardian
newspaper to your Committee on 14 July. Additionally, since
making my statement I have received further representations from
the Guardian newspaper and Chris Huhne MP inviting me to
consider additional prosecutions based principally on those two
documents. It has been urged upon me that these documents provide
strong evidence that other journalists above and beyond those
already convicted must have been involved in criminal activity.
Although beyond the remit of my original examination,
in accordance with my continuing desire to be assured that the
appropriate actions were taken in the case and to ensure that
the public can be satisfied with the actions taken by the prosecution
team I have, since my announcement, met with leading counsel and
senior police officers from the Metropolitan police to discuss
the significance of the two documents. I thought it would be helpful
if I set out in some detail what conclusions I have reached.
The first document handed to the Select Committee
was an email from a member of staff at the News of the World reporter
to Mulcaire. In the email, the member of staff says: "Hello,
this is the transcript for Neville." The e-mail contained
a typed-up transcript of thirty five messages to and from the
telephone of Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional
Following the issuing of my statement on 16 July,
I ascertained that the email was not in the possession of the
CPS and so did not form part of the examination that I carried
out. However I also ascertained, although not in the physical
possession of the CPS, the e-mail was within the unused material
held by the Metropolitan Police (that is the material not used
to prove the case against Goodman and Mulcaire). As in every case,
all the unused material was seen by prosecution Counsel at the
time of the prosecution to determine whether or not it was capable
of assisting the defence case or undermining the case for the
prosecution in respect of Goodman and Mulcaire.
The second document handed to the Select Committee
was a contract dated 4 February 2005 between the News of the World
and Mulcairewho was using an alias, Paul Williams.
A copy of the contract was in the possession
of the CPS and was used in evidence as part of the prosecution
case against Clive Goodman and Glen Mulcaire.
Goodman and Mulcaire pleaded guilty to conspiracy
to intercept communications, contrary to section 1 (1) of the
Criminal Law Act 1977, and Mulcaire alone pleaded guilty to five
substantive offences of unlawful interception of communications,
contrary to section 1 (1) of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers
To prove the criminal offence of interception
the prosecution must prove that the actual message was intercepted
prior to it being accessed by the intended recipient.
The searches and seizure of material all took
place on the 8 August 2006. A number of premises relating to both
Goodman and Mulcaire were searched. Hundreds of handwritten sheets
showed research into many people in the public eye. There was
also a quantity of electronic media recovered including recordings
of some apparent voicemail conversations. It was reasonable to
expect that some of the material, although classed as personal
data, was in the legitimate possession of the defendants, due
to their respective jobs. It is not necessarily correct to assume
that their possession of all this material was for the purposes
of interception alone and it is not known what their intentions
were or how they intended to use it.
The e-mail dated 29 June 2005 was found as a
paper copy at Mulcaire's home address on 8 August 2006. This document
was then at least 14 months old and the prosecution case was focused
on activity against potential victims in 2006. There is nothing
on the document to suggest when the alleged conversations in the
document may have occurred, (save that they must have occurred
on or before 29 June 2005).
The existence of transcripts alone does not prove
that the messages transcribed were intercepted prior to their
being accessed by the intended recipient (an essential element
of the offence). Further technical evidence would be needed before
such an assertion could properly be made. However, such technical
evidence was not available in 2006 nor is it available now.
In addition, there was and is no clear evidence
concerning the identity of "Neville" and there was and
is no evidence to suggest that "Neville" had seen the
document, and even if he had, that in itself would not have constituted
an offence of unlawful interception. Therefore there was no evidence
to link him to a conspiracy to intercept communications.
Mulcaire's computers were seized and examined.
Nothing in relation to Neville or Neville Thurlbeck was indicated.
I invited leading counsel to advise me on the
issue of inviting the police to re-open the investigation. He
has advised that although he cannot now recall whether the e-mail
was the subject of specific advice at the time, based on his knowledge
of the case in 2006 and the investigation and prosecution strategy
it appears to him unlikely that he would have advised the Crown
Prosecution Service that further investigations should be undertaken
in relation to the email of 29 June 2005, and that it appeared
to him unlikely that he would have formed the view that the police
had sufficient grounds to arrest and/or interview either the sender
of the email or Neville Thurlbeck. He has also advised me that,
based on his current knowledge and understanding of the case,
his advice would not be any different today.
In light of these findings, I confirm that it
would not be appropriate for me to re-open the cases against Goodman
or Mulcaire, nor to revisit the decisions taken in the course
of investigating and prosecuting them. Nor would it be appropriate
for me to invite the police to re-open the investigation into
Keir Starmer QC
Director of Public Prosecutions