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

  • Yes, Mr Jay?

  • May I start by reading out a letter from Reed Smith:

    "Dear Judge

    "We represent the right honourable Gordon Brown MP. You heard evidence from Kelvin McKenzie on Monday, 9 January. His evidence about an alleged call at the time of the Labour party conference of September 2009 was, I quote:

    "'That night, a furious Brown called Murdoch and, in Rupert's words, "roared at me for 20 minutes".'

    "When asked for the source for the story, Mr MacKenzie replied, 'It was Mr Murdoch.' His evidence was that:

    "'At the end, Brown said, "You're trying to destroy me and my party. I will destroy you and your company."'

    "The story is completely untrue. It is important that it does not become accepted as a fact. A respected national newspaper has already raised it as if it were a fact in the course of a PCC investigation of a complaint by Mr Brown which was upheld. Mr Brown has a clear recollection of the calls he had with Mr Murdoch when he was Prime Minister. He had no such conversation with Mr Murdoch at any time during the conference. Thus the words attributed to him by Mr MacKenzie were not said by him to Mr Murdoch and the statement attributed to Mr Murdoch by Mr MacKenzie is likewise factually wrong. The account is not an accurate reflection of events. Mr MacKenzie's hearsay statement was not tested as to its reliability or credibility in the Inquiry, yet the press reported it and that evidence substantially as fact.

    "This incident provides an insight into the difficulties any individual faces in establishing a true and fair record of events.

    "Yours faithfully."

  • It's entirely appropriate to do that in light of the fact that Mr Brown is not a core participant and core participants have been able to make comment to provide balance during the course of the Inquiry.

  • Yes. These matters warrant further investigation and that will be considered.

  • They certainly do. Thank you.

    Yes, Mr Barr?

  • Sir, just before we start, very shortly, can I mention the position in relation to Mr Atkins' tapes?

  • They, as I understand it, have now been listened to. I won't remind the Tribunal of how many times we've asked that that should be done but they have now been listened to and with his customary courtesy, Mr Barr informed me at 7 o'clock on Friday night that they would be transcribed.

    We have agreed, I hope, between us that no questions will be put to the editors about the contents of the transcripts insofar as they bear on the state of mind of the two reporters, Sarah Jellema and Nick Owens, and Mr Owens' evidence has been deferred until the transcripts are available.

  • Yes. That's as a result of a conversation that I have had, and I entirely agree with that approach. Thank you.

    Yes, Mr Barr.

  • Thank you, sir. I don't wish to appear oversensitive but I ought to say that the Inquiry had access to the audio tapes on Friday afternoon.

  • Yes, I understand that too.

  • The running order for today, sir, is going to be Mr Wallace, Ms Weaver, Mr Penman this morning, and then Mr Embley and Mrs Bailey this afternoon. Mr Owens, of course, for the reasons just explained, is going to give evidence at a later date.

  • I have been asked today to start by telling the Inquiry who is going to be read into evidence, and if you're content, sir, I'll mention those names now.

    The read witnesses are Vincent Moss, Kevin O'Sullivan, Vijay Vaghela and Paul Vickers.

  • Against that background, may I now call Mr Richard Wallace.