Police make 11th arrest in NotW investigation

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by a Newsnet reporter

Police have made their eleventh arrest in connection with the NotW phone-hacking and corruption inquiries.  The arrested man is believed to be Stuart Kuttner, who was managing editor of the News of the World for 22 years until he retired in 2009.

A statement from the Metropolitan police said that officers involved in the Wheeting investigation into phone hacking and the Elveden investigation into illegal payments to police officers had arrested a 71 year old man on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications, contrary to section 1 (1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977, and on suspicion of corruption contrary to section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906. 

Mr Kuttner retired from his job shortly before the Guardian newspaper revealed that the News of the World had paid more than £1 million in order to settle cases which threatened to reveal evidence of alleged phone-hacking and criminal wrong-doing.  He has consistently denied his decision to retire was related to the scandal.

Mr Kuttner had already arranged via his lawyers to attend a police station in north London on Tuesday morning in order to answer questions.  He did not know that he was going to be arrested.

A spokesperson for News International said they had no comment to make on the arrest.  The company stated that police officers had not informed them that an arrest was to be made, but that the police would only do so when the person arrested was a current employee of the company.

In her statement to the House of Commons Culture Media and Sport committee hearing last month, former News International executive and NotW editor Rebekah Brooks repeatedly denied to MPs that she had any knowledge of payments made to private investigators for phone hacking, or payments made to police officers for information.  Mrs Brooks informed the committee of MPs that such matters were dealt with by the managing editor.  Mrs Brooks told the committee that “payments to private investigators would have gone through the managing editor’s office,” and added, “I can’t remember if we ever discussed individual payments.”

Mrs Brooks was arrested on 17th July in connection with police investigations into the scandal.  She denies all knowledge of any wrong-doing.

The others recently arrested in connection with the case are ex-NotW editor Andy Coulson, ex-NotW assistant editor Ian Edmondson, ex-NotW chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck, senior ex-NotW journalist James Weatherup, freelance journalist Terenia Taras, an unnamed 63-year-old man believed to be a private investigator working for the newspaper, and ex-NotW royal editor Clive Goodman.  In January 2007, Clive Goodman was sentenced to four months imprisonment, having pleaded guilty to intercepting phone messages from Clarence House.

Other arrests are expected.

Yesterday Jonathan May-Bowles was sentenced to six week in prison for assaulting Rupert Murdoch with a foam pie during his appearance before the House of Commons select committee.  Mr May-Bowles has announced his decision to appeal.  The jail term was described as “excessive” by Tim Greaves, the lawyer representing Mr May-Bowles, who argued his client should be bailed while an appeal was launched.

The judge refused to grant bail and ordered May-Bowles to stay behind bars.  Rupert Murdoch did not support the decision of prosecutors to go ahead with the case, but parliamentary officials had pressed for it to be brought to court.