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

  • MS CHARLOTTE ROSE HARRIS (sworn).

  • Ms Harris, could you tell the Inquiry your full name, please?

  • It's Charlotte Rose Harris.

  • And your professional address?

  • I'm an employed barrister at Mishcon de Reya. We're at 12 Red Lion Square.

  • You've provided a witness statement voluntarily to the Inquiry. Are you familiar with the contents?

  • Are the contents true and correct to the best of your knowledge and belief?

  • We're going to take the statement as read, and as with the last witness I shall just alight on certain parts of it for clarification.

    You tell us that you specialise in media law, in particular defamation, privacy and harassment, and that you now represent a substantial number of phone hacking claimants; is that right?

  • You provide the statement to assist the Inquiry in understanding surveillance of you?

  • And also to assist us with the nature of press treatment of some of your clients?

  • Can we deal, first of all, with the surveillance of you. You've provided to the Inquiry an exhibit which contains documents, some of which were adduced in evidence last week when we heard from Mr Lewis. You have seen surveillance evidence obtained about yourself, haven't you?

  • And that surveillance was of you and of your family?

  • It seems that it was of me and my family and my two children and perhaps the people around us as well.

  • The contents of the reports you've seen, were they accurate in their summary of you and your private life?

  • They were littered with inaccuracies, but certainly there was a mixture of information, some of which was correct, some of which was speculation and some of which just seemed to be made up.

  • You tell us that you first became aware of this in May of this year?

  • When a contact provided you with some of the documents that you now possess on this subject?

  • That's right. The documents that I was provided in May this year in my view are not documents that were necessarily prepared by News International. That's not clear. They subsequently led on to the discovery of documents that were the surveillance documents that have been spoken about, so it's important to understand that there was more than one type of surveillance going on.

  • So the first document that you were handed, the one which you are not sure of its provenance, you took that to News International, didn't you?

  • I did. I was given the documents. I looked at them. There were four reports. From the four reports, there was one report that focused on myself and other lawyers, and certainly looked like it had some surveillance material in it. There were three other reports that talked about News International generally, people connected to News International and also matters that, as far as I'm concerned, were pure speculation. Not about myself, but about many other people, which is why I was keen that those documents remained confidential. There was nothing to back up what was said in them.

    But when I saw these documents, I thought that it was important to take it to News International directly because I was able to -- I had a meeting set up with them and we obviously are in talks the whole time because we are in the middle of litigation -- and to ask them what they thought and whether they could assist in finding out what on earth had gone on.

  • You took them to Simon Greenberg, director of corporate affairs at News International?

  • You are careful to tell us that you didn't take them to Tom Crone, who was head of legal at the News of the World at the time. Could you explain to us why you chose to go to the director of corporate affairs and not to Mr Crone?

  • At the time I didn't know that Tom Crone had any involvement whatsoever in the surveillance or the commissioning of surveillance or any knowledge of it and I was certainly surprised to find out that there would be any kind of allegation in Tom Crone's direction. Obviously I'd worked opposite Tom in litigation for many years.

    However, having had a good relationship with Tom, he'd stopped speaking to me for a little while, starting from November the year before, and so that communication had stopped and I thought that as Simon Greenberg had come in and was dealing directly with these matters, and having had a meeting set up with him anyway, I'd go to who I thought was the most appropriate person to deal with it, and that seemed to be Simon Greenberg and not Tom Crone. But I had no idea that there was any involvement at that stage.

  • Was there anything which prompted this sudden ending of direct communication with Mr Crone?

  • I'd been getting on extremely well, I think, as a claimant lawyer with the other side. I think it's very important, when you're fighting battles -- important battles for your clients, not to put yourself in a position that you've fallen out with the other side to such an extent that communication breaks down completely, and that's the basis on which I've tried to run as successful a practice as possible. And so for quite a long time during working on, for instance, the Max Clifford litigation, what had happened was I'd started to speak directly to Tom Crone because he was head of legal, and it meant that I could forego some of the lengthy correspondence and get, you know, straight to it. And we'd got on quite well and it meant that when other issues arose -- not to do with phone hacking but just the day-to-day kind of issues that you have as a media lawyer, somebody might telephone and say that there's an article about to go in -- I would phone Tom directly, and this was, you know, extremely efficient as far as working together.

    In November last year, it stopped completely and it was very sudden, to the extent that I would have been embarrassed, I think, to have phoned him out the blue, having not received -- not received -- not received any telephone calls returned and having stopped all correspondence. I didn't know then that there was anything in connection to me. I've only ever represented my clients in terms of privacy.

  • Am I understanding you correctly that there was no obvious reason why communication suddenly dried up?

  • You go on to tell us that you provided the material which you'd been given, which you call surveillance report 1 in your statement, to the police?

  • Then there came a time when you had further contact with Mr Greenberg, and he told you that they had found some more surveillance material relating to you; is that right?

  • That's right. The initial reports -- I still don't know their provenance, but that started off an Inquiry by Simon Greenberg as to whether there had been any surveillance, and so at a later date -- I think we get to August by now, so I first gave the documents to him in May, but I'd like to add the documents that I gave to Simon Greenberg, I made sure that the private information about the other lawyers and so on wasn't handed over. There was -- we were -- we were careful about that as well, because obviously you have to be careful not to breach somebody else's privacy when you're investigating a serious matter of an invasion of privacy.

  • It's been one of the problems about all this.

  • Absolutely. Absolutely one of the problems, and the same problem occurring in the Privacy and Injunction Select Committee, that in order to investigate, you have to be careful not to expose.

    In August, I went back for a meeting with Simon Greenberg and he said to me that -- and very nicely -- that he was terribly sorry, but it looked like although the original report didn't look like it had necessarily emanated from News International -- we don't know, it might have been anything -- that the material that he'd now discovered did emanate from Tom Crone and that he was going to look into it and he said he would look into it appropriately and so I allowed that investigation to continue. It culminated in the documents that are confidential to my witness statement being handed to the police and now it will form part of that inquiry.

  • Was it after the documents had been passed from News International to the police that the police showed them to you?

  • Yes, it was, but I was expecting it.

  • Because you'd been told the documents existed?

  • Did the police show you redacted copies?

  • They were redacted, but in such a minor way. I mean, they would have found it very difficult to redact this information and to keep it meaningful, which of course is another problem associated with keeping things confidential. Sometimes it's very hard to redact things and keep the meaning, and I think the police had that difficulty. They showed me the documents and it was very helpful.

  • Can we now turn to the question of what motivated the surveillance of you and the investigation of you --

  • Just before you do, it's right to say, I think, that Mr Greenberg's assurances to you and his sincerity you don't question at all?

  • So he's been getting on with it?

  • As far as I'm concerned, he got on with it. It was something that started in May with me voluntarily giving him the documents and then him volunteering too look, so it was a process that actually I think worked quite well. So no, I didn't doubt at all that there would be a problem with that.

  • Thank you.

    I'd like to look now at the document which is number 7 in the exhibit. If we could have that on the screen, please. That's not the right document. If that could be taken down, please. The heading is "Record of attendance", dated 13 May 2010. Thank you very much.

    This is a document that we looked at for other purposes with Mr Lewis last week. It's the attendance note of a consultation with leading counsel, Mr Treverton-Jones QC on 13 May 2010.

    If we move down the page a little bit, so that we can see the text, and it's the section under the heading, "Harris/Reed". Is it your understanding that the Harris referred to there is you?

  • And we see there what leading counsel said about your case:

    "Gregory said that the problem with Harris and Reed was the waiver that NGN made in respect of those two. They relied on it. They even said (as recorded in our RXC attendance note of the meeting ..."

    Then it says "in Andrew", which doesn't quite make sense. Is that referring to a case?

  • It would be Sky Andrew, who I --

  • "... that if there was a problem they would not act. He cannot see that in light of that, there would be any way to get the Reed/Harris off the case unless there is a significant new development. He does not think there is any mileage in reporting them to their professional bodies either."

  • That's all to do with their concern that you were acting for other people, having acted for some others?

  • That's right. They weren't keen on the fact that having done a phone hacking case, that we should continue to do phone hacking cases, all of which are actually quite similar, and so they had written to my law firm at the time, JMW, and said that they thought that -- I remember the word "shameless" in correspondence because it was quite a hard and harsh word to use and I took it very seriously, because you do when that kind of allegation is levelled towards you by, you know, what is a serious law firm. And so I took it to my senior partner and I took it to Mr Reed and we looked into it and the conclusion we came to -- and I think that their leading counsel here agreed -- was that there simply wasn't any case that -- you know, against us in terms of acting, and so we moved on and continued to act.

  • Yes. But that's the issue that's being discussed here?

  • If we go to the next paragraph, it reads:

    "The facts of the statements of case being similar (for example, the particulars of claim drafted by Reed), being a breach of confidentiality obligations, he was not sure was an issue. A barrister has to plead a case. He has done it in a way that is efficient/sensible. He must be entitled to go back and repeat that process."

    The gentleman being referred to there is Mr Reed, who is the barrister you had instructed?

  • And still is a barrister I instruct.

  • Well, there you are. There's a tick.

  • And we see no complaint there of his pleadings.

  • "JCP said that there is evidence of a transfer of information from one case to another. There has been reliance of information gleaned in the first case and used in the second, as shown in the similarity of the particulars."

    So this is Lord Justice Leveson's point. There seems to have been a suspicion on the part of Mr Pike, or even a belief, that you'd been sharing information?

  • But let's see in the paragraph below what leading counsel made of that:

    "Gregory said that there appeared to be no evidence in the pleadings that emanated from the first case. There was no confidential information that they could only have learnt through the Taylor proceedings. It did not seem to him that the similarities were a particularly significant feature."

    So he's rather pouring cold water over Mr Pike's concern?

  • Then we see the conclusion:

    "Gregory said that the case against Harris and Reed was hopeless. Gregory asked what the position was with Gordon Taylor ..."

    And then we go on to Mr Lewis, who we need not deal with today.

    There is a second later document that I'd like to draw your attention to. It's at page 19. It's headed "Farrer & Co". If we could have paragraph 5 in the centre of the screen, please. This is a letter that was written on 7 September this year by Farrer & Co to Linklaters, who were investigating what has happened. Paragraph 5 contains, in a nutshell, Farrers' explanation for the inquiry:

    "The reason for this inquiry stemmed from the suspicion that Mr Lewis and Ms Harris were exchanging highly confidential information gained from acting for claimants (and Mr Taylor in particular) in cases against News Group News in order to bring further actions against News Group News by other potential claimants."

    It then goes on to give their explanation. It says:

    "While in hindsight the relevance of the results of such enquiries may be open to challenge, we are satisfied that there were legitimate concerns: apart from the issue regarding the possible exchange of confidential information, it was known that Mr Taylor was sufficiently concerned about the conduct of his previous law firm and Mr Lewis that he had instructed new solicitors to make a complaint to the SRA."

    Accepting that there was in fact, on your evidence, no wrongdoing, do you accept Farrers' position that there was enough for them to be suspicious of to justify investigation of you and your private circumstances?

  • No. It seems an incredible thing to do. I'm at a separate law firm at this time. There's no wrongdoing or confidential information being passed from my -- on my part, and certainly -- we've gone through that evidence.

    The idea that when there is this kind of criminality going on, particularly now that we know a little bit more about the levels of knowledge and when various people knew -- and we know this through the privacy -- through the Media Select Committee as well as through this Inquiry. We've begun to get a better picture of what people knew and when they knew it. So taking that into account, the idea that if I was concerned about an opponent lawyer, or anyone, on the other side, that I would decide that a good way of dealing with that wouldn't be to write to them and say, "We are concerned that there is some kind of leak, breach, confidential information", or write to my senior partner or the Law Society, but to take -- you know, to take out surveillance on me and my kids or family members or to find out which of my siblings I lived with in what year, that kind of information -- I don't see how that could possibly help them. Why not just ask the question? Why not write a letter? Why not just go for the traditional approach, which would be: if you have a concern, raise it with me, raise it with my law firm, raise it with the Law Society. Don't raise it with Derek Webb, the private investigator, and send him on a train to Manchester. No need.

  • Thank you. Can we return now to your witness statement. I'm looking at paragraph 19. You say that within very recent time, within the last two weeks, Channel 4 have shown you further material they obtained from the private investigator Derek Webb. Is that material you've already referred to today in your evidence or is this something new?

  • I amended my statement slightly yesterday and so the date -- just for accuracy, the date changed to December 5. So it's actually inaccurate. It should be probably now four or five weeks ago, just to make that clarification.

    Yes, there was a list that was published by Channel 4, which named -- I can't remember the numbers. I think it's 118 out of 153, and they did show me that list because I was on it.

  • So that's in addition to the material that you've provided us with on a confidential basis?

  • That's in addition. I have written to the Information Commissioner about it. I think it's very important to try and make sure that, again, confidential information is handled properly. So the content of that list, of course, would be sensitive and so I've asked the Information Commissioner for guidance on it.

  • You go on in paragraph 19 -- I'm now looking at page 7 of your witness statement -- to talk about some of the conversations that you had with Mr Crone in the spring of 2010. You say that between March 2010 and May 2010, the intensity of the litigation was increasing.

  • That's a reference, isn't it, to phone hacking litigation?

  • And you say that you had many conversations with Mr Crone. Of particular interest to the Inquiry, you say:

    "He was absolutely wedded to the defence that there was only one rogue journalist engaging in phone hacking."

  • Yes. When we talked on the telephone, I would sometimes say, "Well, what are you going to do about this? What do you think should happen?" And it was always Tom Crone's position that apart from in this case where there had been one rogue reporter, there was no evidence. He did take the position at times that he hadn't seen all the evidence and so if there was something -- but then historically, looking at the Gordon Taylor case and the Max Clifford case and then going on to the Sky Andrew case, it seemed to be that as soon as there was a door open to that kind of evidence, I don't think it was taken seriously or acknowledged.

    For instance -- and I think this is where it connects to the surveillance, because this isn't about me. This is supposed to be about my clients, the cases and the big wide issue. But in -- if you've seen, for instance, in your proceedings, the name of a person who is alleged to have been involved in your organisation, a journalist or whatever, to then take tips from them about, for instance, the personal life of a solicitor or a lawyer or a barrister on the other side, and to use that -- instead of asking the journalist: "So what happened? How are you involved in this?" but instead to say, "Well, if you think there's something going on here, we'll send somebody up to survey", does seem the wrong approach. Part of the reason why I was surprised in terms of Tom Crone was because we had had these discussions and I always took what he said to mean what he said.

  • Your relationship was professional and you expected everybody to treat you in the same way?

  • I mean, absolutely. It's a little bit disconcerting to be sitting next to apparently eminent lawyers in court and to find out that a year ago they had ordered some surveillance on you rather than write a letter, that the people who you speak to on a -- maybe three times a week or twice a week on different matters and other cases, had behaved in that way. It's disconcerting and it does give you an insight of how your clients feel, certainly, in terms of not knowing what's going on.

    One of the difficulties with surveillance -- and I hear this from clients but I also speak for myself -- is you don't really know what happened when. You can only -- you know, did someone watch you as you, you know, left your house, as you left the supermarket, or on what day? And it's the same for my clients, where they've been under either surveillance or their telephone messages have been intercepted. You don't always have the evidence of the particular message that was intercepted or the particular occurrence or place they were when they were under surveillance. It's what you don't know that can cause, I think, stress. And it's -- that in itself might be a new form of harassment to look into.

  • You deal with the impact on yourself of the surveillance that you had come to learn about in paragraph 20. Could you tell the Inquiry, in your own words, please, how you feel about what you have now learned?

  • I think I have expanded on it a little bit just now. As a lawyer, I feel very much that I want to focus on my cases and my clients and I don't want this mischief from the other side, such as surveillance. It gets in the way. Obviously it's inappropriate and News International have said that and they said it pretty quickly and pretty early on. As a mother, you -- it's natural to feel terribly uncomfortable with the idea of anybody looking into your family or your children. But this has been very obstructive. It's obstructive to trying to sort out some very difficult litigation, some very difficult issues, and it's almost like -- I wish it hadn't happened not only because it's not nice, but it throws a spanner in the works in terms of just trying to get down to the groundwork of getting this whole matter sorted.

  • It disrupts orderly resolution of the --

  • Yes, it disrupts orderly resolution. It gets in the way and you shouldn't have to be suspicious of your opponents in that way. I'm sorry that they were suspicious of me and the other lawyers. I just wish they'd said so.

  • I see. Can we move now from the surveillance of you to seek the benefit of your experience as a specialist media lawyer? Have you noticed, in your time in practice, any trend in prior notice? Has it been given more often or less often?

  • Generally there's notification. I speak generally. You don't always know. Sometimes if there's a very big media story going on, so many -- you get a certain amount of notification and then all the papers cover it. So you -- you know, you sometimes find yourself in a position -- something's come out on the Internet or in an early publication and then everybody else will publish after that. So it's not always -- you don't specifically always get it.

  • I'm thinking here about exclusive stories, when they are first broken by a newspaper.

  • Generally, generally. Exclusive stories by a newspaper I've received prior notification or my client has received prior notification. Sometimes it's not enough prior notification to get a matter sorted. It's very difficult on a Saturday. Saturday can be a very busy day because of the Sunday papers, and so when the phone rings at 4.30 or 5 o'clock, you have to -- and you can tell, because normally there will be a few calls and a journalist on the other end of the phone -- I don't even want to give an example because I don't think I can think of an example that isn't real at the moment.

  • You say generally. Can I ask you about those cases where you don't get prior notice? Is there any particular pattern to those? Is there a particular type of case?

  • They tend to be cases that have got something to do with criminal law, actually, where there's possibly a stronger apparent public interest in it. So if, for instance, they're reporting some kind of allegation of a crime, you don't -- you tend to hear from the journalists if it's a sex scandal, if it's some kind of, you know, maybe if there's some kind of chance that they might get an interview out of your client, that can happen.

    There's always the standard ploy of: "We're going to run this. Are you going to co-operate?" And then you have to decide. Up until May, when there was a lot of movement and debate and discussion in terms of the appropriateness of injunctions and privacy injunctions -- one of the first things you do is you decide whether or not this is private information. Is it something that we should consider instructing counsel on immediately? Is this a story that could be stopped?

    Now, things have moved on. There are certainly less injunctions and you have to decide: are you going to let this story run or are you going to manage it in some other way? Are you going to make a comment? I think that the press have been, during this Inquiry, more careful. I think that my workload in terms of scandal has been somewhat reduced.

  • I'm delighted. Absolutely delighted. Thank you.

  • I'm pleased somebody's pleased.

  • On the question of injunctions, can I ask you this: have you had experience of injunctions being defeated by talk on the Internet or through social media?

  • When you say "defeated", do you mean lifted? Or --

  • -- the practical purpose is negated.

  • Breached. Certainly in terms of the May injunctions, there were breaches on the Internet and one of the things that people say quite a lot is: "Oh, well, what's the point of having this injunction? There's all this information out there." But the fact is all the information isn't out there. If there's an injunction in places and a small amount of information has leaked out, sure, that's a breach, but that doesn't mean that the newspaper can run an exploitative story where they pay money to an individual who is breaching the injunction. A lot of the salacious detail doesn't come out. There's a rule of law. There's an injunction in place that has been lawfully provided and one of my problems with it was that it's very easy for -- certain tabloid newspapers who have been eager to expose scandals, I think very hypocritically, don't expose their own scandal. So it's difficult for me to take it seriously when they say that this is all about public morality.

  • I see. Moving to the PCC, have you had much experience of dealing with the PCC?

  • I deal with the PCC generally in terms of harassment, generally in terms of photographers. So if, for instance, there have been occasions where I've had clients who have had enormous amounts of photographers outside or they can't exit a building, they've tended to be very effective in terms of sending a notice around.

  • Have they been effective with harassment cases as well as photographer cases?

  • One of the things about the PCC is you sort of have to make this choice. You can't have civil proceedings going on at the same time as a complaint with the PCC. So I have tended to go down the civil route, although the relationship that I've had with the PCC in terms of getting something done immediately hasn't been too bad.

  • Are there any areas in which you think the PCC could be improved?

  • Whether it's the PCC, whether it's some other body, whether everybody decides that it's time to obey the law -- which, you know, seems to be strange that you'd even have to say that -- something has to be done so that there is resolution to law breaking, and whether it's, as I said, a PCC, a new tort, regulation, not having regulation and following the law, as long as matters become better than they are, I'd be pleased. But the PCC have limited powers.

  • So you don't want to be specific about any particular changes you think might help, you simply want a system that will ensure the rule of law; is that right?

  • The approach that we take at my law firm, at Mishcons, is that we are -- we have a lot of internal discussion about what should happen, and we are lawyers. So therefore, as a first base, you want to respect the rule of law and you want -- and I think there are decent laws that have been properly applied. When it comes to speaking of regulation going forward, obviously there's a certain reluctance in terms of regulation, not just from the press but in terms of what form would it take? And so nobody wants a sort of bureaucratic knee-jerk reaction to some of the terrible things that we've heard.

    So I can't be specific at the moment about what model and what the outcome of this Inquiry should be in terms of recommendation. I just know that I want the law to be obeyed in some way so that we don't have this ridiculous situation that we had over the injunctions, where it was okay to breach them, where if there's a scandal exposed, that can be printed all over the papers but if there's a phone hacking scandal, there can be silence for years. That doesn't seem right. There has to be proper sanctions as well.

  • It's not just a question of the law in that sort of rather grand sense. One can talk about the criminal law.

  • But there are always going to be areas that are grey, where the criminal law might not be engaged but which many might think -- perhaps not all -- lines have been crossed which should not have been crossed.

  • So that's the really difficult issue.

  • There are issues in terms of what people agree private information should be. There's -- and where criminality starts and where it stops. These grey lines have come up in so many cases, particularly, for instance, just to give you an example, where -- if a journalist is looking into a public person in a position of authority who they suspect might have committed a criminal offence, if they haven't committed that criminal offence, you know, at what point do you get to where it's okay to investigate? Same goes for areas of privacy law. When does your privacy start and stop? When do you first become a public person?

    So, for instance, if I was addressing some students, like you sometimes do, who might, in ten years' time, have a career which takes them into the public domain, if they become a public figure, does what they did yesterday -- is that still private? Can that be revealed? And should we be frightened, even when we're not a public person, of what we've done or said now? Will that be exposed later? There has to be a certain amount of personal autonomy and freedom to be, without fear that you're going to be a role model in five years' time.

    So I think a lot of the law is very grey in that -- well, actually, the law isn't grey. I think a lot of the areas of interpretation of the law is grey if you're looking at it from the point of view of how a journalist or a tabloid newspaper might interpret it or how the PCC might interpret it and how the person whose private information it concerns interprets it, and then how the public might perceive it. I think it's deeply complex.

  • I agree with you that it's deeply complex. The trouble, of course, is that if you make rules specific -- this is on that signed of the line and that is on the other side of the line -- in one sense that helps, but in another sense it hinders because it removes the elasticity that comes with the exercise of sensible discretion.

  • But the judges do that. Part of the rule of law --

  • Oh, judges do that. That's --

  • That's my point and I absolutely agree with you. Trying to express it like that, when you're in court and you have applied for an injunction, there are areas that the judge will look at and evidence that the judge will look at where he will considerable precisely those points. Here's an area that is private: information about somebody's health. Here's an area about somebody's employment and correspondence or what they've done and where, and where there are these balancing processes going on, the judge will look at that, look at the evidence then make a decision, and then also make a judgment. Very few super-injunctions, injunctions that people don't know about; much more public judgments, even if parties are anonymised.

    I think once a judge has made that decision and it's been put into an injunction that's been served, it is not right for other people, particularly those who have got commercial interests, to pre-judge, make a decision and simply say, "Well, we'll just put that out on the Internet because clearly that decision was wrong."

  • That's all about the rule of law.

  • I'm actually concerned about trying to find a mechanism to resolve these issues, and of course as lawyers, we might very well all say, "Well, we have a system that deals with it. You issue proceedings, you go before a judge and you go into this with microscopic detail and then you get a result." But whether that works for people who don't have a lot of money but whose privacy might be just as important, and whether it indeed works for the press, who then have to respond appropriately --

  • The press don't want regulation, though, I think, generally.

  • The idea, which is a little bit of a myth, that you have to have vast sums of money in order to have a lawyer look after your privacy is one of the arguments that was happening in May, where it was: "This is just a rich man's law." You can get a CFA as a claimant and -- on a no win, no fee. Not only that; the fact is that the fodder of tabloid newspapers -- so the front cover, the big sex scandals -- tend to involve not the ordinary person. I'm sure you've heard this argument before. They're far more interested in -- and understandably -- interested, in terms of sales, in who a footballer might or might not be having a relationship with than who, I don't know, my postman might be having a relationship with. And so to an extent it self-corrects, and that's why CFAs are important as well, for both claimants and defendants, and I have worked on both sides of injunctions, for claimants and on behalf of newspapers.

  • For my next questions, there's no need for you to name clients or breach any confidences unless you have instructions which enable you to do so.

    The Inquiry's had a lot of evidence about phone hacking. What I'd like to ask you is: from your experience of acting for claimants, is email hacking also an issue?

  • The first sprouts of evidence starting now -- it's at such an early stage. So there may be -- there may be something. I'd like to take as forensic approach as possible. So I expect we'll hear more about that.

  • I see. So not very much as yet?

  • No, not very much as yet. There's Operation Tuleta, who are looking into email hacking. But have I seen the evidence of email hacking in the way that I've seen evidence of phone hacking? No, not yet.

  • Thank you very much, Ms Harris. I've asked every witness at the end if they want to say anything further to Lord Justice Leveson. There's already been some discussion of the regulatory issues, but if there is anything else you would like to add, please do so.

  • No, I think that we've had the discussion.

  • Thank you very much indeed.

  • Sir, would you like a break now before we call the final witness of the morning?

  • We'll need a break some time. If it's more convenient now, Mr Barr, as long as you don't blame it on me, then I'm comfortable to have it now. If you want to carry on, whatever.

  • I wouldn't dream of blaming you, sir.

  • You were, actually. All right. We'll take a couple of minutes.

  • (A short break)

  • Sir, the next witness is Mr David Leigh.