Sir, what we attempted to do in relation to the matters which you are currently considering, the abuse of process and contempt, is to simply summarise the legal principles as we see them and to, I hope, give some assistance to you in that way, although I'm sure much of this, if not all of it, is very well-known to you.
I think the conclusion which we come to, if it is of assistance, is in paragraph 6 of our submissions, where we respectfully suggest, of course, that you have a statutory Inquiry with a duty to fulfil your terms of reference as fairly and comprehensively as you can, that they raise matters of considerable public importance. When one reviews the authorities on abuse and one looks at the authorities in relation to contempt, and of course we're dealing here with statutory contempt under section 2 of the 1981 act, then we would respectfully suggest that it should not be too lightly assumed that the existence of a police investigation will necessarily require the curtailment of legitimate and relevant avenues of inquiry, although of course all the matters of caution, which your Lordship has referred to, are matters which constantly need to be borne in mind, there is no doubt about that.
The issue perhaps is this: Mr Garnham really raises, as we see it, different risks. He spoke about causing a risk to the police investigation. If that is adverting to the risk of, in some way, interfering with the operation of the investigation and there is some special operational risk which arises on the facts, then obviously that is something which one would expect there to be private communication about between Mr Garnham and counsel to the Inquiry.
It seemed to us that much of what Mr Garnham was addressing your Lordship about was in relation to the risk of prejudice. That is to say, either some application being made to a judge -- in the event that there are criminal proceedings -- for a permanent stay of those proceedings as a result of fair reporting of the Inquiry hearings, and as a result of prejudice coming out of that reporting.
In our respectful submission, that risk is, we would respectfully suggest, overstated. When one looks at the jurisprudence on abuse of process, in our respectful submission that is a risk which is unlikely to arise.