The transcripts of the official inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press.
Thank you, Mr Jay. Thank you, sir.
That's correct, yes.
Not that I was aware of in my particular sphere of responsibility.
I looked at "What price privacy?" after I arrived there, and I think it was because it was mentioned in CMS Select Committee proceedings in 2009. I didn't have anything to do with it at the time. But I did look at it then but I didn't have ...
I would love to be able to help the Inquiry, but I'm afraid to say it was outside my area of experience.
I wasn't as closely involved, obviously, because of my role on the corporate commercial side, so I didn't really know about what had been happening. When the arrests were made in August 2007, it was a complete surprise to me. I have to say that my own view ...
No, I did not.
I do not recall having any discussions about the merits of his claim, no.
I'm not aware that he was, but that would be a question for Mr Myler or Mr Cloke.
I think it was Mr Cloke, the head of human resources, to whom the appeal letter of 2 March was addressed, who carried out those interviews accompanied by Mr Myler.
No, not that I'm aware of, no.
I was, yes.
Yes. And I think to have done one without the other would have been strange, given the circumstances surrounding both of them.
When the matter first came to my attention, which was probably April 2007, I hadn't realised what the relationship with Mulcaire was. Mr Crone passed me some papers which he had received from Mr Mulcaire's lawyers, an exchange of emails and correspondence, which indicated that it was rapidly ...
Not in my view, Mr Jay, no.
I think it breaks down, really, to a mixture of notice under his contract and the usual compensatory award equivalent.
Yes, it was, sir.
To go back to the employment position, I understand that the question -- sorry, but it's -- I think the aggregate amount paid to him by way of settlement was in the order of £80,000.
May I just perhaps say that that looks to me, but I can't be definitive, like this issue of payment of his legal fees by News Group Newspapers. His legal fees, I understand, were paid by News Group Newspapers Limited during the litigation, and that has ceased relatively recently ...
I don't have any first-hand knowledge of that. That would be a matter for Mr Crone.
Yes, I was.
That's absolutely correct, sir.
No, I wouldn't necessarily agree with that, because I think that you would still have the issue of the public forum for him to make his wild and unsubstantiated allegations, the publicity that would ensue from that and the fact that, as I said earlier, those sections of the ...
I think to say it was "a strategy to keep things quiet" is not how I would put it. I think it was a strategy to try to manage the significant reputational damage that had been done by the events of August 2006 and to allow the News of the ...
I don't -- I think it wasn't the be all and end all of it. I think the compromise agreement is a settlement agreement, and part of a standard compromise agreement is that the employee will not divulge the circumstances of their termination and associated issues.
So I think ...
Well, a standard compromise agreement with a confidentiality clause in it, yes.
The reason for settlement was a tribunal would provide a forum to Mr Goodman, who at that stage we believed had made unsubstantiated allegations, to repeat those allegations and do significant commercial damage to a brand which was trying to recover its reputation.
Where even if you succeed substantively on the claim, your damages can be reduced by possibly a very significant amount based on contributing negligence.
But I think my point is that that wasn't the reason for settlement.
I totally agree. There's a process called a "Polkey" reduction.
It's possibly more, but paying more than a tribunal might award isn't necessarily always the criterion on which you settle. Particularly, I'm sorry to say, for bigger companies where the purse is larger.
Quite possibly, although it was an ex gratia payment and it wasn't characterised as notice, it was equivalent to it, so quite possibly, but I can't say.
Yes. But I think it was based on Mr Hinton's idea of what his notice would have been were he paid notice, rather than any expert view on tribunal awards.
The basic award was a few thousand pounds in those days. I think it's moved up to about 10,000 now, and then there's a compensatory award, which is pushing £70,000 now, but which was £60,600, I think, then.
I agree entirely, sir.
Well, the maximum for a compensatory award at the time was 60,000, but there were elements of Public Interest Disclosure Act made in this claim. Two of the paragraphs in Mr Goodman's appeal were aimed at a Public Interest Disclosure Act claim, and that would have been unlimited ...
If it went to tribunal, then there are clearly issues of reputational damage and so on that could arise from tribunal. We had done investigative work at the time on Mr Goodman's appeal. There was an email review done, and there were -- and I understand this is a matter ...
My understanding at the time is we had a situation here where a former employee, who had indeed pleaded guilty and been sent to prison for a criminal matter, was bringing a claim against the company, so that can go two ways. It can end up in tribunal, or it ...
Would it make it easier to explain the payment, perhaps?
Yes, that's correct. May I just explain my thinking --
No, that's totally in -- the figure of 250,000-odd includes the 90,000, then the notice plus the 40,000.
It does, sir, yes.
That might well be the case, sir. I was simply asked to see if I could achieve a reasonable settlement of the particular claim.
The amount is correct. Again, the dates I don't think are correct, I think they were corrected subsequently. But you're correct in saying also that it probably doesn't make any difference.
The position here was that Mr Hinton decided to make a payment of 90,000-odd to ...
I think it was -- the 90,000 is per the statement made in Mr Hinton's letter that, "You've been a good guy and we're giving you this because we don't want to see your family suffer, but". So it's that paragraph.
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