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

  • Forgive me a moment, Mr Murdoch.

    On three occasions in the recent past, and not for the first time, material has been published by core participants before it has appeared on the Inquiry website and in circumstances that I perceive constitute a breach of the order that I have previously made under Section 19 of the Inquiries Act 2005.

    Usually, the error has been admitted and apologies offered, but justifications offered have varied. Despite the fact that the majority of the core participants have not had any difficulty understanding and fully complying with the order, it has been suggested that it is ambiguous in relation to witnesses who have given evidence, but whose statements or exhibits have not at that time been placed on the website.

    For the avoidance of doubt, nobody should be publishing anything using the material from Lextranet, which is intended only to provide core participants with forewarning of statements and exhibits, often before they have been redacted or subject to application to withhold. Sometimes redactions have only been communicated at the very last minute, usually at the behest of a core participant. It has also happened that an exhibit has been corrected at an even later stage.

    Everyone must understand that it is only the redacted statement or exhibit that can ever been published or referred to. That is why they should only be copied from the public website when they have been uploaded. I am very aware that many exhibits have not yet been uploaded for want of time. This will be done in due course, but if any core participant wishes to make application for any document to be uploaded early, the Inquiry team will try to assist.

    Core participant status is not intended to provide an advantage to core participants and so permit them to publish material before it is available for publication by those who are not core participants.

    Equally for the avoidance of doubt, I have recast the order that I have made under Section 19 so that from today the order as now re-amended will read:

    "1. Prior to its publication on the Inquiry website, no witness statement provided to the Inquiry, whether voluntarily or under compulsion, nor any exhibit to any such statement, nor any other document provided to the Inquiry as part of the evidence of the witness, not otherwise previously in the public domain, shall be published or disclosed, whether in whole or in part, outside the confidentiality circle comprising of the Chairman, his assessors, the Inquiry team, the core participants and their legal representatives.

    "2. This order is made under Section 19(2)(b) of the Inquiries Act 2005 and binds all persons including witnesses and core participants to the Inquiry and their legal representatives and companies, whether acting personally or through their servants, agents, directors or officers or in any other way.

    "3. Any person, including any company affected by this order, may apply for it to be varied pursuant to Section 20 of the Inquiries Act 2005.

    "4. In the case of any public authority, restrictions specified in this order take effect subject to Section 20(6) of the Inquiries Act 2005."

    This new form of order will be placed on the website immediately and I will treat any breach as a matter of real significance. Thank you. I'm sorry.

    Before you start, Mr Rhodri Davies, I'm grateful to Linklaters for correcting one of the exhibits.

  • Sir, I think it's two of the exhibits.

  • KRM27 and KRM29.