News Corp.’s U.K. unit lost a bid to block the release of police documents in a second phone-hacking probe to victims in a civil lawsuit.
Justice George Mann ruled in London today that the police should give the victims the information to assist them in developing their claims.
“It might be better for” News Corp.’s U.K. unit “for victims to be in ignorance for a longer rather than a shorter time, but it can hardly be better for claimants,” Mann said in a ruling today.
News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch agreed to testify to the U.K. Parliament for a second time this week after a tape recording was published by Exaro News in which he complained about the two-year-old police probes into phone-hacking and bribery. Cressida Dick, an assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, told lawmakers the same day that the company had ceased to cooperate with the probes without court supervision.
“We appreciate today’s guidance from the court on this technical issue of law and remain committed to compensating victims of voicemail-hacking,” News Corp.’s News UK unit said in an e-mailed statement.
The company argued during hearings that if claimants wanted to see the evidence, they should file a lawsuit to get disclosure.
The documents sought in today’s ruling apply to a second police inquiry, known as Operation Pinetree, which is looking into phone hacking at the now-defunct News of the World tabloid’s features desk. Six people were arrested in February in the probe.
More than 35 people have been arrested in the initial Operation Weeting probe into phone hacking at the News of the World.