A 2008 E-Mail at the Heart of a Hacking Scandal – NYTimes.com
A lawmaker involved in the investigations of News International said the company’s primary objective from the beginning was to protect James Murdoch, and everything else was secondary to that.
News International has given a variety of explanations for where its e-mails are and whether the ones it says it cannot find were deleted, lost in computer malfunctions or simply mislaid. In December 2010, a News of the World editor told a court in Scotland that “many e-mails had been lost when they were being moved to an archive in India.” That same month, a company lawyer said that News International could not retrieve e-mails written more than six months earlier. Neither of those statements was true, the company admitted later.
Last month, the High Court judge presiding over the civil lawsuits brought by hacking victims castigated News International for what he called its “startling approach” to e-mail. Even after the company received a formal request for documents, said the judge, Geoffrey Vos, “a previously conceived plan to delete e-mails was put in place by senior management.”
Speaking of News Group Newspapers, a division of News International, Justice Vos said that “they are to be treated as deliberate destroyers of evidence.”