Phone-hacking scandal claims University Chancellor candidate as victim

Emily Loud 8 July 2011

Yesterday it emerged that Michael Mansfield QC, a candidate for the upcoming position of Chancellor of the University of Cambridge and self-proclaimed ‘radical lawyer’, may be one of the latest in the long line of victims of the News of the World phone hacking scandal. The lawyer, who has worked on many high profile cases, was supposedly targeted for information about Diana, Princess of Wales, while he was representing Mohammed al-Fayed in the 2007/8 inquest into her death and that of Dodi al-Fayed.

Mansfield told the Press Association that he had suspected that his conversations were being listened to for some time, and so had “always been careful with what is being said over the phone”, adding: “Journalists would have been trying to get stories about Diana. It is particularly disturbing.” He also insinuated that there was a greater conspiracy at hand, commenting: “If the sort of information is correct that police officers have been handed money, then the whole investigation needs to take place independently.”

He further updated The Cambridge Student this morning on the ongoing nature of the inquiry into his own case, saying that: “The factual position is unclear in the sense that I have no evidence that they have in fact hacked one of my mobiles or land lines at the moment but we have been in contact with the Police for a few months now.

“This intrusion of privacy has been systemic and is not limited to the News of the World; there has been this kind of corruption for some time. The persons who are responsible who must have known that this is going on are still in place and Rebecca Brooks is someone who cannot possibly remain and thirdly the Murdoch empire must be stopped in its bid for BskyB.

“There has to be an independent investigation not carried out by the Police – the public are not going to have confidence in any investigation when it appears that large sums of money have been received by Police officers. And those who have colluded at a very high level must be brought to justice; it is a question of criminality, it is a case of committing crime and it must have been known.

“Ultimately, there has to be a full-scale enquiry (judge led) to examine the unhealthy relationship between elements of the media, the police and politics.”

This comes as New Scotland Yard revealed that its investigators have been working through a list of 4,000 potential hacking victims including figures such as murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler and Leslie Chapman, mother of the murdered Soham schoolgirl Jessica Chapman.

After the withdrawal of key advertisers like O2 and Sainsbury’s, the News of the World’s parent company News International announced yesterday afternoon that the publication’s weekend edition would be its last. All advertising space will be donated to charities and good causes, and proceeds from sales will also go to good causes.

Prime Minister David Cameron this morning announced a judge-led independent inquiry to investigate the police’s investigation of the phone hacking affair and to investigate wrongdoing at both the News of the World and at other papers. A second inquiry will be undertaken by “a panel of experts” to look at the “culture, ethics and practices of the British press”.

Emily Loud