London: News International apologises for phone hacking scandal at Leveson Inquiry

THE publishers of the News of the World have today apologised again for the phone hacking scandal.

A lawyer for News International told the Leveson Inquiry into press standards that the illegal interception of voicemails by the paper was “wrong, shameful and should never have happened”.

He said the company now accepted that hacking was not carried out by a single “rogue reporter” and that it was not properly investigated until police launched a new inquiry in January this year.

Rhodri Davies QC, counsel for News International, also described the commissioning of a private detective to spy on lawyers for phone hacking victims and MPs looking into the scandal as “wholly unacceptable”.

In a statement on behalf of the publisher on the second day of the Leveson Inquiry, he said: “News International welcomes this inquiry.

“It intends to cooperate fully with the inquiry and it looks forward to contributing to the debate on the future regulation of the press in the UK.”

Mr Davies added: “It is right that at the formal opening of the inquiry and in public, I should repeat on behalf of News International the apologies that have been made to all those whose phones were hacked or whose family, friends or associates’ phones were hacked, by or at the behest of staff working at the News of the World.

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“That phone hacking was wrong, it was shameful, it should never have happened. News International apologises for it unreservedly.

“I must add that we accept that phone hacking at the News of the World was not the work of a single rogue reporter.