The transcripts of the official inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press.
As I say, I'm not going to go any further on the statement I've made. My position is clear. I was exonerated by the PCC -- that is the main adjudicator of these matters -- by my editor, my deputy editor and my managing editor.
No, please go right ahead.
I've given you my full statement on the matter, Mr Jay.
Yes, I understand.
I understand, sir.
No, I understand that. All I can say is this: that the adjudicator of these matters in our industry, the only adjudicator, the PCC, did adjudicate in this matter in 1998. It examined all their evidence and it examined all my evidence. It exonerated me. It declared that the article ...
All I would say on this matter is that the PCC investigated the allegations made by this couple --
The culture was one of thoroughness. There was -- the first thing that struck me when I joined the News of the World in 1988 was -- when I first started working there, was how thorough their journalism was. There was no stone left unturned. They were extremely fastidious journalists and I ...
Well, as I say, you know, you'll -- the 5 million, 6 million readers of the News of the World, more, you know, obviously bought it for these reasons. They liked the mixture of the stories that went in.
Well, you know, if, for example, a trade union leader was being followed by Derek Webb and that trade union leader was having an affair and he was married with another woman and he was staying at a hotel and that hotel was being paid for by his union members ...
About the ethics of what?
Well, specifically the use of private eyes was merely an extension of what journalists always do anyway, and that is to observe and report on human behaviour. It so happens that Derek Webb had very specialised skills in this area, which is why he was used as an extension of ...
I really don't, I don't.
I don't remember but I understand my name is there as having called him several times, many, many years ago, I believe. So yes, I think it's safe to say that I have used him, yes.
Mr Webb was the main private -- I think several had been used over the years by different people at the newspaper, but my -- the person that I dealt with most of all was Derek Webb.
No, no, I don't think so.
I don't think they were.
Well, we'd have to, you know, decide whether or not the activity that was alleged was worthy of reporting because it was in the public interest. You know, sometimes we might have to investigate further in order to establish whether or not there was a public interest justification. But ...
An example might be a police officer maybe consorting with known criminals or a teacher consorting with a drug dealer or whatever. That sort of basis might be the start of an investigation, but not necessarily the end of it. You know, we'd need to establish the facts.
Sometimes he would be put on a story and then, for whatever reason, after two days or a day -- in other words far too soon -- he would be called off in order to do something else for somebody else. So very often the story -- his investigation would not be completed ...
I can't put a figure on it, I really can't. Several dozen maybe? Or -- I don't know. I don't have a log of the stories that Derek Webb helped me out on over the years.
Well, it was considerable. I mean Derek Webb's assistance was considerable, so it was a considerable number of times.
How many times did I use him?
I would say very often. He was as very, very effective operator.
I can't put a percentage figure on how many ended up in the newspaper.
Well, it wasn't something that we did, to my knowledge. I certainly received information from contacts and acted upon it, but I can only speak for myself.
It was too expensive to go on fishing expeditions, as you say, and it's just not something we would do. Fishing expeditions weren't part of our sort of make-up. We would get information from contacts. That's the way it worked.
Well, the information would normally come either to the news desk from an informant on the outside, somebody knowledgeable about the person's life, or it would come direct to me from a contact or a source that I'd established over the years. So it would either come from ...
It was always -- 99 per cent of the time, I would say we had -- it was a tip-off to the news desk or to me directly from a contact and then we would research -- you know, we would research that information.
We'd receive a tip-off and then research it.
I wouldn't say usually. Sometimes it could be their intimate relationships or sometimes it could be drug-taking or sometimes it could be maybe fraternising with undesirables, but it was right across the spectrum.
It was --
Only if their private life came into conflict with their public life.
I would say they formed a large percentage, yes.
Yes. We would -- the newspapers, for decades, have been involved in observing human behaviour and reporting on it. Derek Webb was especially good at observing and he would observe and he would compile evidence on all sorts of activities, illegal or otherwise, and he would come back to us and ...
Dozens. I can't put a number on it, but several dozen, I would think.
I think it was at the beginning of 2002 or 2003, something like that. I'm not quite sure.
I did, yes.
He would be employed to observe people, report back to journalists on activities that we might be investigating for the paper. He would compile a report. A journalist would then act on that report and investigate further with him or alone.
I have no idea whatsoever. It was an enormous surprise to me and my colleagues. It's not a place I recognise.
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