Royal editor in court over phone-hacking probe

The News of the World’s royal editor will appear in court next week in connection with a string of offences after being questioned over alleged mobile phone hacking.

The News of the World’s royal editor will appear in court next week in connection with a string of offences after being questioned over alleged mobile phone hacking.

Scotland Yard said last night that senior journalist Clive Goodman, aged 48, from Putney, had been charged with a total of nine offences, including plotting with Glenn Mulcaire to “intercept communications, namely by agreeing to access individuals' telephone voicemail messages, in the course of their transmission by means of a public telecommunication system, contrary to the Criminal Law Act 1977”.

He and Mulcaire, aged 35, from Sutton, were also charged with eight counts of intercepting communications on dates between January and May this year.

Both have now been released on police bail to appear at Horseferry Road Magistrates Court next Wednesday.

Goodman and two others were arrested early on Tuesday in connection with allegations that Clarence House officials had their voicemail messages intercepted.

One of those, a 50-year-old, was earlier released on bail.

Scotland Yard launched an investigation after members of Prince Charles’ household, also the official residence of his wife, Camilla, and Princes William and Harry, reported alleged security breaches within its phone network.

The police inquiry, led by the anti-terrorist branch, is now said to have widened and is examining whether public figures, including senior politicians, high-profile celebrities, footballers and members of other royal households, had their mobiles hacked.

Goodman was driven away in a car after leaving Charing Cross Police Station at 9.50pm yesterday.

He did not speak to waiting reporters.

Earlier yesterday, publicist Max Clifford revealed he had been contacted by his mobile-phone provider O2 and told of “irregularities” in his voicemail, although he said it may have been “just an amazing coincidence”.

O2 passed the information to police, although no connection with Scotland Yard’s inquiry has been confirmed.

Mr Clifford will reportedly discuss the matter with officers in the next few days.

Tom Bradby, ITV’s political editor, told of the moment he and Prince William realised mobile-phone voicemail messages of royal aides could have been intercepted.

He claimed the News of the World printed details of a meeting he had arranged with the prince before it had even taken place.

He and William eventually met and discussed the story, with the prince raising concerns about another article about a meeting with his knee surgeon.

Mr Bradby, a former ITV News royal correspondent, said he was “pretty surprised” to discover details of the meeting and what was to be discussed in the News of the World.

Mr Bradby said he and the prince came to the conclusion that “it must be something like breaking into mobile answering machine messages”.

Mr Bradby said William’s chief of staff relayed concerns to the police and a small investigation was conducted.

He added: “What they discovered then alarmed them enough to hand it to IT specialists from the anti-terrorist police, who looked much more broadly.”

All three men arrested were held under Section One of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, under which the potential penalties are a maximum of two years in jail, a fine or both.

A number of addresses have already been searched, including the offices of News International in Wapping, east London, as well as in Sutton and Chelsea.

Yesterday, the chairman of the Press Complaints Commission, Christopher Meyer, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the commission would “reserve the right to investigate the case at the end of the legal process”.

He said the press was bound by the commission’s code of conduct “not to intercept private or mobile telephone calls, messages or emails and a whole bunch of other things, which come under the heading of clandestine devices and subterfuge”.

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