Publicist Max Clifford has won a High Court ruling which will give him access to documents held by the Information Commissioner about the News of the World, The Guardian reports.
The News of the World was seeking to stop Clifford obtaining documents relating to Operation Motorman.
Clifford was one of those bugged by jailed former News of the World reporter Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire in 2007.
In 2002 the Information Commissioner carried out Operation Motorman, which revealed that 305 journalists representing nearly every national newspaper had been involved in buying information from private investigator Steve Whittamore, much of which may have been illegally obtained by Whittamore.
In 2006, the Information Commissioner revealed that the NoW was one of the most prolific users of this private invesgator – with 19 journalists buying 182 pieces of information from him.
Now Clifford has apparently won the right see the paperwork which was seized by the Information Commissioner in the Whittamore case.
It will be interesting to see whether the Information Commissioner makes all the Motorman documents public.
It is not know how much of the data purchased from Whittamore by the NoW and others was in breach of data protection or other laws and how much was lawful. Even in the case of unlawful information, journalists would have a defence if they could show they were acting in the public interest – ie. to detect or prevent crime.