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

  • Right.

    Mr Jay, before we start on module two, it's probably worthwhile to consider where we are in relation to module one. There are a number of issues that remain to be resolved.

    The first is a recognition of the fast-moving pace of this Inquiry and the fact that, as is, I suppose, almost inevitable, allegations and facts have emerged relevant to witnesses who have given evidence but only after they have given evidence.

    In some regards, therefore, it seems to me that it is likely to be appropriate to recall a number of witnesses so that what has been said or has otherwise become available can be investigated. That needn't take a great deal of time with any one of them, but I think it's essential and we ought to make time to do it.

    The second concerns the evidence that we were due to hear this day relating to witnesses who have come forward but wish to remain anonymous. I have read the decision of the Divisional Court.

    Mr Caplan, I am conscious that Lord Justice Toulson allowed Associated Newspapers time to consider whether they wished to appeal to the Court of Appeal Civil Division. I would be grateful if you would inform me where you are in that process, because there are certain consequences that flow from it.

  • I quite understand. Sir, can I say I have given a private indication to Mr Jay this afternoon, which I believe to be correct. I'm just waiting for final instructions, and I undertake to confirm that position tomorrow morning at the very latest.

  • That's very kind. The reason is this, that I have to deal with the application, and I hold the application, but I didn't feel it appropriate to ask particularly you to deal with it while you were seeking to pursue an appeal against the decision of the Divisional Court, because that would put you, in my view, in a very difficult position.

  • May I say that I will speak to Mr Jay, at the latest by 9.30 tomorrow morning.

  • All I need thereafter to do is to say: if there is to be an appeal, I apprehend that it will be brought on very quickly, and I will defer deciding the substantive question until that has been resolved, but I am very keen to maintain the momentum and I would be extremely distressed if this evidence could not be resolved prior to the date upon which I've always intended to conclude module one.

  • That's not to put you under undue pressure, but it is to put you under pressure.

  • Right, thank you. Then there's nothing more we can say about that except to underline that I will consider the application and such other applications there are, but only when I know what the position is with clarity, either because an appeal is not being pursued or because it's been pursued and has failed. Obviously if it succeeds, different considerations arise.

    Right. Is there anything else in relation to module one?

  • No. We're on track to finish by 5 pm on Thursday, 9 February.

  • Yes. It's meant that we've had to add a day, because I know that some will be concerned that two consecutive weeks might make eight rather than seven.

  • I'm sorry my arithmetic has been --

  • It's absolutely right, I have smuggled in an extra day.

  • It's inevitable, given what's happened.

  • And if necessary, we can overrun onto the Friday the 10th, but we're aiming not to. We're certainly not overrunning into the following week under any circumstances. As you say, sir.

  • Thank you. Right. That brings me now to module two. The first issue concerns applicants for core participant status in relation to the Metropolitan Police and the newspapers, and I also believe the NUJ. I granted that status for all modules, I think. I did not grant the status at that stage to those for whom Mr Sherborne appears, because I was then unclear as to the precise role that they may feel it appropriate to take in other modules, and I will be pleased to hear Mr Sherborne on that subject in a moment.

    I have also received a number of individual applications, and each person who wishes to make an application may do so. If they're by counsel, then they can do so from where they are, because they all have microphones, but for those who are not by counsel, I'll ask them to come to the witness box, not because I'm treating them any differently, but simply because there is a microphone there, and then their application can be recorded.

    But I'm very keen to make this clear: it is no part of my function, except in certain illustrative ways, to descend into the detail of specific incidents. That is not to show disrespect to those who believe they have been wrongly treated by the police or the press, or to suggest that their issues are unimportant. It is merely to underline the fact that, were I to do so, the time that I would require to examine each individual incident, many of which are exceedingly complex, would overwhelm the available time resource for this Inquiry.

    I would be very grateful if those who wish to make applications bear that in mind.

    There's one other general point that I would like to make, which is this: I have been assisted by a single team acting for those who allege they have been the subject of wrongful treatment by the press in the first module, but it is important to underline that I do not insist that anybody who complains about the conduct, in this case, of the press and the police and the way in which they interrelate, does so through that team.

    The solicitor to the Inquiry is available to assist those who may be called to give evidence without having core participant status, and a number of people have given evidence without being core participants, who speak of relevant matters to the Inquiry.

    So if I decline an application -- of course, I'll hear each one on its merits -- that's not to say that I will necessarily rule out listening to evidence, receiving evidence, a statement, about which the solicitor can provide some assistance, and if necessary calling it if I believe it goes to the general picture that I am keen to create, rather following the pattern that I have been keen to create for module one.

    I hope that's all sufficiently clear.

    Right. I think we'll start with you, Mr Sherborne. It wasn't my intention to put those for whom you appear in a disadvantaged position; it was to give your clients the opportunity to consider, to pause for thought whether they wanted to involve themselves in other aspects of this Inquiry, taking on the wider role of representing those who complain that they are the victims in this case of police/press issues, not least because, as I know you appreciate, funding decisions are inevitably based in part on ability to pay, and therefore decisions should be made by your clients at each stage. So it wasn't intended to suggest that your position was any different to others, but merely to give everybody the chance to think, after module one, where they wanted to go on module two.

  • Sir, I understand that and I'm grateful for it, and although module one of the Inquiry still has continued, we have had time to pause for thought, so to speak, and I am instructed to ask on behalf of the core participant victims for their role as the core participants to continue into module two, for reasons which, sir, you will have seen was set out in the rather detailed letter --

  • Yes, I am very grateful to you for the letter.

  • The letter of 24 January.

  • My copy is dated the 25th.

  • There may be another letter on the 25th. I don't have a letter dated the 25th. Ah, I'm told there may be a printing error. Mine has the 24th, but I think we're talking about the same letter.

  • It's a quirk of the printer.

  • A quirk of the printer? That's exciting.

  • Perhaps one of the more exciting things that have happened.

  • Considering we've been looking at changes to documents.

  • I'm not going to point any fingers, certainly not in open court.

    We say that for the reasons set out there, the core participant victims do have a direct interest in a number of the matters which we believe are going to be the subject of investigation in module two of the Inquiry, and for those reasons, I do ask on their behalf, grateful as I am for an opportunity to consider their ongoing role, but I do asks that that role does continue into module two.

  • And that is for each and every one of your clients?

  • That is for each and every one of my clients, sir.

  • I understand that in the case of module two, Mr Crossley, for whose assistance we've been grateful throughout module one, is, as it were, subletting the responsibility to Ms Allen of Bindmans on the basis that she's been heavily involved in the judicial review and has knowledge which she has, and which somebody won't have to pay for a second time. That may not be the reason that she gives, but it's the reason that I'm prepared to think that it might be sensible.

  • Sir, I'm grateful not only for the fresh face but for the experience.

  • Not that I criticise Mr Crossley's appearance at all, but also for the fact that Ms Allen does bring with her the experience, as you say, from the judicial review.

  • Subject to anything anybody may say, I don't think it's sensible for me formally to alter the nature of the representation, not only because it's going to have to be consistent throughout, but to recognise that in this regard effectively it is Ms Allen who will be taking over from Mr Crossley.

  • I'm very grateful, sir. Unless I can assist any further, that is the application.

  • There's nobody that you wish to add to your list and there's nobody you wish to subtract; is that right?

  • Not at this stage, sir, no.

  • I'm not sure what other stage is going to arise, but I have the point. All right.

  • I think before I turn to those who are appearing in person, it might be sensible to deal with anybody else who wants to raise -- Mr Phillips I remember.

  • Sir, we have set out our application on behalf of the MPA and now the Mayor's office for policing crime in writing, we've done so as succinctly as we possibly could in three and a half pages and said that if you needed to hear further submissions or have some in writing, you should just ask.

    We haven't had such a request, sir, so I'm tempted to, as it were, rest there.

    But in very brief outline, module two, as we see it, is concerned with precisely the areas of governance, oversight, scrutiny and regulation of the police with which the MPA and now the MOPC is concerned, and of course of all of the police forces, the one at the centre of your Inquiry is, if I can put it this way, our police force, the MPS, and we therefore submit that not only do we have a direct role to play both in the past and in terms of the future, when we're looking at recommendations, but for the same reasons we have a significant interest.

    In a sense, that's been borne out by the section 21 notice that the chairman of the authority, now the MOPC, Mr Malthouse, received on Friday asking for evidence and documentation in --

  • The mere fact that you're asked for evidence doesn't necessarily mean that you ought to be a core participant, but let me cut across this because I see great force in the argument, as I think I had identified last September. But I am just keen to know one detail and to have your views about one aspect.

    You are absolutely correct that the main focus of this Inquiry, but by no means the only focus, has been the Metropolitan Police. To what extent will you feel able to represent the views of other police authorities? I think I said in relation to one of the applications by one of the newspapers that I was perfectly content that different types of title were represented by the same counsel, even though their interests might be slightly different, and I take the same view in relation to police authorities.

  • Yes. Can I deal with that in this way: the short answer, I'm afraid, is no. There is a national body, on which there's representation from the Metropolitan area. It's called the Association of Police Authorities, but I don't speak for them. It may be that we can liaise with them, and in that way seek to address your concerns, but as I stand here now, I can't speak for them.

    Sir, there's another reason for that, which is the very particular position of the Metropolitan Police area. You will have seen in our submission, for example, that we now have a Mayor's office for policing and crime under the new Act which came into force at the end of last year, and Mr Malthouse, under a delegation, now occupies that office, as he was before the chair of the police authority.

    But for other police areas, this new and significantly different regime does not come into effect until November, when the elections for the first policing and crime commissioners take place.

  • All right, I understand.

    I would be grateful if your clients would communicate with the association, to ensure that I was given the advantage of any input that they felt appropriate. As I said, I am comparatively relaxed about potential issues of conflict, for the reasons which I am sure you will understand, and they need not become core participants in the same way that I've been saying about individual victims that they need not become core participants, but I'd be grateful for some comfort that their interests were at least being thought about, if only to alert me should some problem arise.

  • Yes, we will certainly do that.

  • Thank you very much.

    Mr Garnham, you are already there, as it were, but the same point that I make in relation to the authorities covers ACPO as well. I don't know whether you have any information about that, but if you don't, I would be similarly assisted by an awareness of some sort of liaison.

  • Sir, we have been in touch with ACPO, as you'll anticipate, but we haven't done it as formally as you now suggest and we will do so.

  • Yes. I'm not seeking to prescribe how this should happen. I just think that overall it is of value.

    I see, for example, in relation to the inevitable questions that surround what I will describe as the intercepts of Milly Dowler's phone, that there is room for difference between the Metropolitan Police and the Surrey Police. Again, I'm very conscious that I declined Mr Beggs' application in September, and I don't know that they're here today. No? And I don't think they need to be, because that's a very good example of where I have no doubt evidence will be required, but I don't think it extends to the broad question of requiring core participant status.

  • Sir, we will certainly co-operate both with ACPO and with other police forces, as we have with Surrey. It doesn't mean we'll necessarily have identity of interest on particular points, but we will alert you if a problem arises.

  • Thank you very much indeed.

    Right, now I have received a number of emails from individuals, so I'm just going to call them out in alphabetical order and see what they have to say.

    Is a Mr Adigwe here?

  • As I say, I only ask you to come here so that the microphone can pick up what you have to say.

  • As I understand it, you are a survivor of the 7/7 bombings?

  • And I'd be very grateful if you'd explain, as succinctly as you can, first of all the point, and secondly, the reason why, in the light of what I have said, you should be accorded the status not merely of a potential witness, because you can always be that, but to have a wider remit as identified in the Act in relation to core participant status.

  • Thank you for giving me the opportunity to submit my application for core participant status. I feel that I would help this Inquiry possibly understand reasons why there were delays with the initial police investigation, and this is possibly from my perspective going back to 2006.

    However, I don't feel my personal investigations or interaction with the police is central to this Inquiry, as you outlined, but it's more to do with you being aware of the information I submitted to your secretary and taking it on board. It's just due to the fact that Operation Weeting, which I understand is the latest version of the police -- the Metropolitan Police's attempt to actually investigate or get to the bottom of the phone hacking, is undergoing, I'm told, and my legal representatives are experiencing one or two issues with that, so while they're in the midst of the Operation Weeting investigation, I'd rather focus on that at this point and leave my application for core participant with yourselves.

  • Yes. I am not sure that I entirely understand. You've provided some information. I haven't seen the material you've provided, deliberately.

  • I was told by your assistant --

  • I have no doubt at all that it's been seen by the solicitors to the Inquiry, but I have found myself over the last few weeks really quite busy keeping up with what I'm dealing with day by day.

  • So if you've provided information, that will be considered, and if it's thought that you could provide something valuable which I ought to hear, then you can be called. Alternatively, if it's thought that it's information that ought to go into the record, I can put it in the record.

    But do I gather that if that's been considered, that's as far as you want to take it?

  • At this juncture, yes, as long as you, sir, have actually had the opportunity to take it on board. I was under the impression that you had already done so, so this is news to me that -- as you have said.

  • I haven't read it, but I will, and if there's anything in it that I feel would assist, that's fine. But let me make it clear that there won't be more opportunities.

  • But in the light of what you've said, I understand what your position is.

  • As the Operation Weeting is still ongoing, does this module two have any bearing on the outcome of that, as obviously it's a continuation of the --

  • No. The police investigation is entirely independent of this Inquiry, and indeed this Inquiry is not considering the detail of what I've called, in summary, who did what to whom, because of an anxiety on my part not to impact adversely on the police investigation and if there are to be any subsequent prosecutions. So I will not be trespassing on their territory.

    There is a part 2 to this Inquiry, which would only ever arise after all the prosecutions have finished, which may or may not have to go into that sort of detail.

  • Thank you very much indeed for coming. Thank you.

  • Strictly alphabetically, Mr Henderson.

  • Good afternoon, Mr Henderson. You've heard what I've said --

  • Yes, I am taking that into account, do not worry, but I may have to actually ask for a little bit of guidance at some point because there is a question which would possibly be the result -- have a consequence of criminal prosecution, and as you've just pointed out, you don't want to trespass on that, but on the other hand, it is also entirely germane to this module two investigation.

  • I'll speak of it in general terms. I think that's probably the best way of getting around it.

  • Yes, but if you like, if you're concerned about it, because I do not want to prejudice any investigation --

  • I will speak of it in general terms and then there will be no problem --

  • What I'm content to do, if you prefer it, and to make sure you get the point across, is to give you a couple of minutes to speak to one of my counsel team --

  • Won't be necessary.

  • Right. I presume you want me to again explain why I think I should be a core participant?

  • Well, in the first place, I have been the subject of grotesque media abuse, for which I got no redress. I have supplied the Inquiry with the full details of that. I have also been somebody who's tested out the PCC to destruction, and they just are not only self-interested, but I would say deliberately corrupt. They simply refuse to take any case, and this was a case which was a gross libel of me by the Mirror back in 1997, which accused me of being a dangerous, crude racist. Completely false. They claimed they'd got letters proving this, but then had to admit that they'd never got -- they'd never had sight of any such letters, and I submitted all this to the PCC. They refused to act. I got Mike Jempson, who was director of PressWise, as it was in those days, to write to them. Again I have supplied the Inquiry with a series of letters between Mike Jempson and the PCC, which are an utter disgrace.

    There is in the Articles of Association of the PCC clause 53.5, which actually says in effect they can just say they won't take a case without giving any reason. It's as bad as that.

    In addition to that, and this is where it gets --

  • Pausing there for a moment --

  • That relates to your treatment by the press. That's really what I have been previously considering.

  • I know, I appreciate that, I do appreciate that.

  • The module that I'm now considering --

  • And I'm now going to come to that.

  • Now, I have supplied -- and I will speak in general terms here only -- a copy of a national newspaper's editor's letter to the PCC in which they admit receiving information from the police illicitly. They were in situations, circumstances, which can only have been illicit. They say we have to protect our police source, the nature of the material which was actually released could not possibly have been released legitimately by the police, and you wouldn't generally expect the police to release the information to one media outlet alone.

    Now, that's part -- that comes firmly within module two, absolutely within module two.

  • It's core.

    The second instance is I referred this, amongst other complaints, to the Metropolitan Police, and the Metropolitan Police tried to ignore the complaints, because they involve the Blairs as well, who tried to -- this was all started with the Mirror story, the Blairs tried to prosecute me during the election of 1997 but failed miserably, and the police took this case because they couldn't avoid taking it, they desperately didn't want to take it, but there it was, I had given them the letter from the newspaper editor, who actually admitted in his letter that he had in fact obtained information about me from the police, which could have been legitimate.

    I won't identify the editor but I'll just read the very brief passage in it, which -- yes, here we are:

    "The police source of our article, whose identity we have a moral obligation to protect [I won't laugh at this point] gave us the details of the letters that we then published. Nothing that Mr Henderson writes has convinced me that the article is anything other than accurate."

    He also in the same letter admits he has never seen the letters, so-called letters.

    I submitted this to the Metropolitan Police and they agreed to conduct an investigation. It was sent to Scotland Yard, which again, if you know anything about the way the police operate, it's most unusual for them to suddenly send it to Scotland Yard. It was given to Detective Superintendent Jeff Curtis, who came along to my flat and took all the details, promised to go away and investigate it properly. A month later he rings me up and says, "I've investigated it, there's nothing". I said, "Who have you interviewed at the newspaper?" and he said, "Nobody". So obviously it was just purely a sham investigation, there was nothing done about that. So again that falls clearly within module two of the Inquiry.

  • And you've put all that into writing in a --

  • Yes, I submitted this on the 25th, the full complaint with all my other complaints which I dealt with, on 25 November to the Inquiry.

  • Yes. In relation to that, it may be that this is an evidential issue, which we'll want to look at, but you haven't explained to me why it should require core participant status as opposed to your being a potential witness for the Inquiry.

  • Well, I was taking the core participant side of it from the fact that I have, in fact, covered everything apart from the phone tapping comprehensively. In other words, I am a -- you might say I was a sort of star exhibit in terms of media abuse and police collusion with the media.

  • All right, I understand. Okay. Thank you.

  • All right, thank you.

  • Mr King?

    Mr King, thank you. You did make an application to be a core participant victim member in relation to module one. So I have read a lot of the material which you have provided. I've read all the material that I think you've provided.

    Would it be fair to summarise to say that you feel strongly that you are the victim of a miscarriage of justice and you put that very much down to the conduct both of the press and the police?

  • Yes, I think so, sir, but if I could break it into the two, on the witness level I think how I was prosecuted and everything is sort of a very interesting, for you and for the Inquiry, examination of how the police and the media do often have a relationship which can be extremely useful, either positively or negatively.

    Secondly, the reason why I feel like a core participant victim is yes, whilst I do believe -- I actually know that I'm a victim of a miscarriage of justice --

  • Yes, of course. As I said it I was conscious that I wasn't doing your argument justice, but the trouble is that the law has taken its course.

  • Yes, exactly. That's why subjectively -- I don't want to be subjective, I would prefer to be objective about my evidence as a witness, but as a core participant victim, whether or not the law was completely correct, I feel I was a victim of that kind of relationship.

  • Yes. I see. Again, though, and I hope you will understand the point that I was trying to make earlier about the difference between those who have complaints and those who have a wider over-arching interest in the work of the Inquiry, which justifies core participant status.

  • All right. Is there anything else you would like to say about that?

  • No, just that I'm -- I'm perfectly happy, and obviously I feel it is necessary, as far as the Inquiry is concerned, you are not going to say that I am innocent. You have to assume that I'm guilty because I was found guilty. But I would say that my experiences, which go through a great deal more than just that, than just the prosecution and the first trial, as you've seen from the submission, there was a second trial in which I was considered not guilty, and there were further experiences I had, such as at the Court of Appeal and so on, which all, I think, would be interesting to the Inquiry regarding the relationship between the police and the media.

  • Yes. It's the relationship between the police and the media that concerns me, and I have a problem, which I'm sure you've appreciated from what I've said, about the extent to which it is possible, whether or not it's appropriate, to investigate what are quite complex facts in order to reach over-arching conclusions but there it is.

  • I understand that and I do see it's a problem, but I think as far as the Inquiry is concerned there is enough general information that you might find very valuable.

  • But that general information is information you've given me in any event.

  • Oh absolutely, yes.

  • All right. Thank you very much indeed.

  • Is there anybody else here who seeks to make any application for core participant status, whose application I've not considered? (Pause)

    Right. Mr Jay, is there anything you want to say about these applications?