The transcripts of the official inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. More…

  • Only this: that you made a ruling on 9 November. If anybody was thinking of exercising their rights under section 38 of the Act to seek any review of that ruling, the time obviously expires on Wednesday. Since then, of course, there has been a draft anonymity protocol. I think you invited any further submissions to be with you by last Thursday at 5 o'clock. We've certainly put in some submissions. I was just raising the matter to see if you wished to confirm the protocol or add anything during the course of tomorrow before the time limit expires.

  • I'm happy to do that. I think that essentially many of the points to be made I take on board. I'm happy to clarify some things if they need clarifying -- I'm not entirely sure they do -- but I'd be surprised if anything in the protocol could impact on the fundamental decision that I made in my ruling. But if there's anything that needs to be done tomorrow, I'll do it.

    I think there are two slightly separate issues. There's the anonymity that I've granted to one of Mr Sherborne's clients, who I know as HJK, and there are some knock-on consequences as to how we're going to deal with his evidence. In the absence of anybody saying anything to the contrary, I propose to maintain that anonymity and to allow him to give evidence in a way that ensures it.

    That will require taking certain measures. For example, he's likely to give evidence in a cleared Inquiry room. Obviously the core participants' lawyers will be present, but otherwise, nobody. I'm likely not to have the running transcript but to publish a transcript as soon thereafter as possible, in case something emerges that needs to be redacted. In that way, I hope that his evidence will be put into the public domain but in a form that doesn't damage the anonymity that he has sought and which I have found to be justifiable.

    If anybody has any comment about that -- I appreciate you've only just recently seen the suggestions in that regard -- I'd be very, very interested to hear them. As regards other people, I'll make sure that I have a final protocol for you to look at tomorrow, but as I say, I don't think it should really make a difference to whether or not there is an issue that's worthy of ventilation in the Divisional Court, which of course is your decision entirely.

  • Just a couple of points. First, we just received submissions from the Metropolitan Police in relation to the anonymity protocol just this afternoon, so those will have to be considered for obvious reasons.

  • Yes. Now that's come out, I'll say the reason there hasn't been one is because it was only up to literally the end of Friday that I saw the last one. I wasn't sure we'd got them all -- and indeed, now you've heard that I hadn't got them all -- and I didn't want to finalise anything until we'd heard from anybody. That's what I say in my own defence, which I wasn't going to say anything about.

    Right, anything else, Mr Jay?

  • In relation to HJK, there's one issue which need be touched on, whether when he gives his evidence he will not give evidence in relation to any named newspaper. In other words, that will be redacted out of his evidence.

  • Yes. I've made it clear, I think, if not in a ruling then certainly in argument, that in relation to any anonymous witness, in order to protect the position of any of the media, it would be quite wrong to allow names or titles to be identified. I'm not going to make decisions about names and titles. As everybody knows, I'm looking at custom and practices and ethics across the piece, which is why my questions to Mr Grant were of general rather than specific topics. I would adopt the same process for HJK, so if that's a matter of concern to anybody, then they should say so.

    Thank you. Well, thank you very much indeed. I repeat my thanks, as I will to all the witnesses, particularly those who have come, as all have today, voluntarily. Thank you very much.

  • (The hearing adjourned until 10 o'clock the following day)