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

  • My Lord, I would. Richard Christie, appearing on behalf of Mr Jonathan Rees. You will remember that we appeared before you some while ago.

  • I hope that the solicitor for the Inquiry has passed on the information that I was delayed in another court this morning so I have only just arrived but I have been kept abreast of what has been --

  • Have you put anything in writing on this?

  • We've put nothing further in writing, but we did submit a letter to you, dated 22 September, which I trust made its way to you.

  • I say that, because we received a reply, as I understand it, acknowledging the letter, but without any comment upon its content.

  • All right, but that's not dealing with the subject that I have just discussed.

  • I think it almost certainly touches on it only tangentially, because what we would wish to suggest to you today was because of the position in relation to one of Mr Sherborne's clients, we ought to be a core participant, if that core participant was going to be addressing you about any details in relation to his particular claims. The reason that we think it is likely that he might seek to do so is because civil proceedings have already been initiated in that regard, quite separate from the civil proceedings to which Mr Sherborne has already made reference.

  • I don't know. I don't know whether we're talking about the same people or not. I simply don't know. In any event, what you did miss this morning, Mr Christie, was a debate that I had with leading counsel for the Surrey Police, who were concerned to be made core participants on the basis of the criticism of the police arising out of their failure to investigate, if there was a failure -- as to which I know nothing -- in 2002 at the time of an awareness that Milly Dowler's telephone had been intercepted.

  • Sir, I appreciate that that has been debated this morning, because Mr Shepherd(?), my instructing solicitor sitting beside me, has kept we abreast of some of the developments, albeit in short form.

    We had, I think, two points to make, one macro, to use the in vogue expression, and one micro, both of which we set out in that letter of 22 September, and relating back to your judgment, sir, on whether we should become a core participant, and in particular paragraph 32 of that judgment.

  • If you're wanting a response to your letter of 22 September and you've not yet received one, then you don't need to make a submission to me now to do that.

  • I appreciate that, although it might bear possibly on the point that has just been raised by Mr Sherborne, whose client doesn't (inaudible) and who is the claimant in the case that is presently being brought before this court in the civil division.

  • The reason that we raise it is simply because in your judgment at paragraph 32, you said in the concluding paragraph that you did not anticipate that you would be considering the specific behaviour of the individuals, not least because of the pending police investigation and possible prosecutions. That you did not believe therefore that Mr Rees is likely to fall within rule 5(2)(c).

    The position is that Mr Hurst, to use the shortform, the "Stakeknife" allegations, which, sir, you may be familiar with, relating to Northern Ireland. He's, as we understand it, since you ruled upon this, been made a core participant in these proceedings in this Inquiry.

  • As far as we can see, the only way in which he would become involved is by making the sort of claims that he has made in his pleadings in that case against a number of individuals, including my client, but also including News International. There are five defendants in those proceedings. It is alleged against my client that he has been involved in certain parts of revealing identification of individuals from Northern Ireland. That is, of course, denied.

    If Mr Hurst was to be giving evidence before you and descending into any detail about what had happened to him, it seemed inevitable to me that he would be going into the detail --

  • He can descend into detail of what happened to him without necessarily seeking me to adjudicate upon who was responsible. For part one of the Inquiry, the direction is different. The direction is: broadly what's happened? Does that mean there's been a regulatory failure? Should there be a new regulatory regime?

  • We are quite content with that limitation on it, with the rider that we've indicated, that if we were to be descending into any detail at all, and it seemed to us difficult if Mr Hurst was to be making a statement to the Inquiry, that he would avoid making assertions against us.

  • Well, Mr Christie, we'll have to wait and see. Of course, if your interests are adversely affected in such a way that I think it is at all relevant to the purposes of this Inquiry, then of course you will be given the opportunity to deal with it and the rules make it abundantly clear that fairness to you would require me to give you that facility, and I shall.

  • I'm very grateful for that indication.

  • The macro point is one that probably will fall better into module two, or part two of the first module, namely the police and press, but may I mention this very briefly now, because I think there may have been a misunderstanding with the submission that I made last time --

  • Your letter deals with that; doesn't it?

  • It does deal with it and it's about the Criminal Procedure and Investigation Act, which is a macro point.

  • Yes, I've seen the letter and you are entitled to a substantive response and if you haven't had one, you will have to get one.

  • Very well. Thank you very much.

  • Thank you.

    Anybody else before I ask Mr Jay? Right, Mr Jay.