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

  • Good morning.

    Before we start, I am sure that most, if not all of you have seen the events of the weekend, and in particular, the disclosure, prematurely, of a statement from a witness who is due to give evidence on Wednesday of this week on a website. I am obviously concerned about the security of the information that is available and to maintain the integrity of the Inquiry as we move forward. As a result, I am intending to enquire, to such extent as I can, into the circumstances in which this statement came to be made available for publication.

    There are two features to that. First, retrospectively, and making absolutely no allegation of any sort, I would be grateful if core participants who have access to statements for the vital purpose of preparing questions would re-examine their own arrangements to ensure that the statements are kept confidential, confirm that they are in order and prevent obviously not only deliberate leaking but accidental leaking. I repeat, I am not alleging against anyone that they have done so in this case but I'm obviously concerned for the future.

    The second step I intend to take, subject to any representations that might be made to the contrary, is to make an order under Section 19 of the Inquiries Act restricting the publication or disclosure, whether in whole or in part, outside the confidentiality circle which comprises me, my assessors, the Inquiry team, the core participants and their legal representatives, of any statement prior to the maker of the statement giving oral evidence to the Inquiry.

    So that I explain the meaning of that, it is this: any person who acts in breach of an order made under Section 19, which binds everybody, is potentially liable for breach of the order and can be referred to the High Court for appropriate action. In that way, for the future, howsoever the document has come into the possession of the person who puts it into the public domain, that person will potentially be liable.

    Does anybody have any representations to make about my making an order in those broad terms? Silence, in these circumstances, I think, connotes assent.

  • Can I just say one thing. It might follow on from what you have said. Because of this leak, I don't know whether there would be any intention by the Inquiry to publish Mr Campbell's statement earlier than usual. If that was to happen, I would wish to make representations that it should not.

  • Mr Caplan, you better had. I'll tell you why: because I am absolutely not prepared to allow the gentleman who has this statement on his website at the moment the oxygen of additional publicity so that all can see it there but nowhere else.

  • So my view last night was that it should be published today, two days in advance. I mean, this has afforded people 72 hours' notice, which is, in the great scheme of things, not itself the gravest but it has consequences that concern me, so that I recognise the position.

    Now, if you don't think that's appropriate, then of course you must make submissions.

  • And I haven't done it as yet.

  • Thank you. Can I just say this? I do not know if it still is on his website. I'm sure it would be extremely unwise if it still was.

  • Sir, can I just tell you that it is on his website still.

  • The three reasons that we would advance against taking that step really are these. Firstly, the fact is that although the leak itself has been widely published, the fact of the leak, the contents of Mr Campbell's statement, it appears, have not been widely disseminated.

    Secondly, the contents of Mr Campbell's statement, when we get to it, clearly make a number of points against a number of different organisations and possibly individuals, and if it is widely published now, those organisations and individuals will not be able to respond obviously within the Inquiry until he gives his evidence, and that is highly undesirable.

    Thirdly, the principle of confidentiality, which you have quite rightly insisted upon and done all you can to maintain, we suggest should be maintained and a leak should not compromise that principle by, in effect, recognising the inevitable and having advance disclosure of the evidence which witnesses will not give for another 48 hours.

  • Yes. I'd be very interested if you have a submission to make about the mechanism whereby I can require the statement presently on this website to be removed.

  • Yes. Well, it is confidential information, of course. It should be confidential. But I'd need to, if I may, just ponder that.

  • Yes. It wasn't how I intended to spend Sunday evening either.

  • Well, I won't publish it until you've had a chance to think about that.

  • Thank you very much.

  • But I am concerned to deprive the particular website of that oxygen, for reasons which I am sure you will readily understand.

  • I ought to say that I intend to issue a notice under section 21 of the 2005 Act addressed to Mr Paul Staines, requiring him to provide information as to the circumstances in which he came by this statement, and I intend to require him to give evidence to the Inquiry during the course of this week.

    Right, Mr Jay. Observations upon Mr Caplan's point, which I understand and I recognise?

  • The first point is that the version of Mr Campbell's statement which is on the website you referred to is not the same as the version which the core participants have.

    The reason for that has been explained to me but I'd wish, before making it public, to give further consideration to it, and I can take that matter forward formally at 2 o'clock.

  • Thank you very much. If that is right, then although I still ask everybody to review their arrangements, I'm very pleased to hear it.

  • In one sense. Where it leads is something else.

  • The second point: as to whether Mr Campbell's statement should be published now, it's not in a form where it could be published now, because one very small change needs to be made to it.

  • Yes. I'm very conscious that I understand that Mr Campbell actually, in the light of some evidence that was disclosed to him, himself asked the statement to be changed in a particular -- and so therefore it's not the final version. It was only the final version I ever was expecting that we should disclose.

  • Yes, and that change I would wish to check personally before it were disseminated.

  • The third point is that, musing aloud, the question you put to Mr Caplan, what can we do about it now in terms of further or continued publication by Mr Staines on his website or blog -- it may be possible to make an order under Section 19 which prevents any further publication. Before I elevate that into a submission rather than just a musing, may we give thought to that over the course of the morning?

  • Yes. Of course, I then have to ensure that he has notice of it, and presumably the opportunity to argue to the contrary.

  • Yes. He can always pick it up at 2 o'clock and tell us what he thinks.

  • That's entirely right. I don't want to dignify this with more time --

  • -- than is absolutely necessary. All right.

  • Those are my submissions and thoughts at the moment.

  • Subject to your view, may I move to the first witness of the day?

  • Before you do, does anybody else have anything to say on that exchange?

    Right. I make an order under Section 19. It will be published on the website as soon as possible, but is effective immediately, and I will read out what I'm presently minded to say:

    "No witness statement provided to the Inquiry, whether voluntarily or under compulsion, nor any exhibit to such statement, nor any other document provided to the Inquiry shall be published or disclosed, whether in whole or in part, outside the confidentiality circle comprising of the chairman, his assessors, the Inquiry team, the core participants and their legal representatives, prior to the maker of the statement giving oral evidence to the Inquiry or the statement being read into evidence or summarised into evidence by a member of the Inquiry team as the case may be, without the express permission of the chairman.

    "2. This order is made under Section 19(2)(b) of the Inquiries Act 2005 and binds all persons, including witnesses and core participants to the Inquiry and their legal representatives and companies, whether acting personally or through their agents, servants, directors, officers or in any other way.

    "3. Any person, including any company, affected by this order may apply for it to be varied pursuant to section 20 of the Inquiries Act 2005.

    "4. In the case of any public authority, restrictions specified in this order take effect subject to section 20, subsection 6 of the Inquiries Act 2005."

    Thank you very much.

    Right, let's get on with the business of the day.

  • Sir, may I call now Mr Christopher Jefferies.