Former OT minister suing Operation Tempura boss

| 14/09/2010

(CNS): According to the UK’s Guardian newspaper, a lawsuit alleging a police cover-up of phone hacking has been launched by one of Scotland Yard’s former senior officers and the former UK minister with responsibility for Overseas Territories, Chris Bryant. The claim for judicial review filed Monday accuses Assistant Metropolitan Police Commissioner John Yates, the man who had oversight of the discredited Operation Tempura and the special police investigation team (SPIT) here in Cayman, of making misleading statements to parliament and the public and of failing to carry out a proper investigation.

The former deputy prime minister, John Prescott, and at least one other person are also expected to join the action, the UK paper reports. This could result in forcing open some of the Metropolitan police’s locked files.
 
The suits relate to a case surrounding the alleged phone-hacking scandal by the UK Sunday tabloid News of the World and private detective Glenn Mulcaire at the time when Andy Coulson was editor.
 
Bryant claims in his suit that the newspaper got hold of his father’s new phone number only days after he had moved to a new house, despite the fact that the number was not listed in the telephone directory or known to anyone other than close family members. The phone company, Orange, confirmed several illegal attempts had been made to access his mobile phone mailbox.
Yates is personally accused in the claim of making a number of misleading statements, including to a Commons committee: "Yates insisted that all reasonable steps were taken to warn people when there was the ‘minutest possibility’ they had been hacked. That statement is not true."
 
The claim adds that when Yates was asked if Bryant had been warned, he gave a "misleading impression" by saying that he was "in correspondence" with the politician.
 
The claim says police deliberately "ring-fenced" the investigation despite the "clear inference that numerous journalists at the News of the World and other tabloid newspapers were involved in hacking".
 
Scotland Yard refuse to disclose how many people they had warned because that would reveal that "only a small proportion" had in fact been notified, according to the claim filed by leading media QC Hugh Tomlinson.
 
Last week, Yates wrote to the Guardian about allegations made by Bryant. He said: "I strongly object to the reference … of Chris Bryant MP [him] accusing me of giving a misleading account and stating in respect of part of my evidence to the home affairs select committee that ‘It was a fib’. "I am writing to Chris Bryant indicating that the relevant paragraph is both wrong and defamatory and asking him not to repeat it."
 
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  1. John Evans says:

    According to my UK sources the Met investigation is hampered by a conflict of interests relating to their working relationship with certain tabloid newspapers.

    In tactics that mirror those employed by SPIT during the latter part of 2008, the Met has a long history of selectively releasing material to counter criticism. An investigation of this ‘unhealthy’ realtionship with the media went as far as alleging that serving officers illegally accepted payment for information on more than 300 occasions.

    What is interesting is the way the Met have sought to use legal loopholes to excuse their reluctance to pursue this investigation, Check out – http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/sep/05/phone-hacking-metropolitan-police

    It’s interesting that one incident of the Met using the media that I turned up involves the former head of Operation Tempura releasing material to the Daily Mail (who as we all know didn’t return the favour!) claiming that a raid on a rastafarian church in London was a major drugs bust. In fact subsequent court proceedings strongly criticised the raid, which involved 250 officers, and awarded damages against the Met, who had trashed the place during an unsuccessful search for drugs and firearms.