LONDON – Britain's former deputy prime minister won the right Monday to a legal review of the way London's Metropolitan Police handled the wide-ranging phone hacking campaign mounted by a British tabloid newspaper.
John Prescott — who was the deputy of former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair — claimed police breached his human rights by not informing him that people working for the scandal-hungry News of The World may have listened to his voice mails.
High Court judge David Foskett granted Prescott and three other people — lawmaker Chris Bryant, journalist Brendan Montague and former senior police officer Brian Paddick — the right to seek a judicial review of the way the Metropolitan Police dealt with their cases.
Their lawyer, Hugh Tomlinson, said the men believed police became aware of the phone hacking in 2006, but failed to inform them they were victims, did not respond adequately to their requests for information and failed to carry out an effective investigation at the time.
James Lewis, the lawyer acting for the Metropolitan Police, argued that a judicial review is not necessary because police are now carrying out their own investigation into the phone hacking scandal.
The News of the World, which is published by News International, has admitted that some of its employees hacked into voicemails of celebrities. Several of its journalists have been arrested following the revelations.
The case has rocked Britain's journalistic world. News executives initially claimed the practice was limited to a single rogue reporter and a private investigator, but have since admitted it was more widespread.
Andy Coulson, a former News of The World editor hired as Prime Minister David Cameron's communications chief, was forced to step down from his Downing Street job over the scandal earlier this year.
Last month the newspaper agreed to pay actress Sienna Miller 100,000 pounds ($165,000) and to provide full disclosure of the extent of its intrusion into her privacy.