Sir, it does, but as I will show you with some of the newspaper headlines, not all of them of course were convicted of contempt of court, but we say some of the headlines went far too far in any event, whether or not they breached the Contempt of Court Act. This had nothing to do with hacking mobile telephones, bribing the police, blagging personal information or blackmailing girls into giving kiss and tell stories. Let me share some of the highlights of this appalling coverage.
The Sun's headline:
"Verdict: weird, posh, lewd, creepy, loner with blue rinse hair."
The Daily Mail:
"Was Jo's body hidden next to her flat? Murder police quiz nutty professor, the teacher they called Mr Strange."
And then the Mirror:
"Jo suspect is Peeping Tom. Arrest landlord spied on flat couple, friend in jail for paedophile crimes."
So on and so forth. All in all, it represented a frenzied campaign to blacken his character and persuade the public that he was guilty, a frightening combination of smear, innuendo and complete fiction involving gratuitous dirt digging to the most shameless extent possible. He was monstered in almost every sense imaginable, wrongly accused of being a sexually perverted voyeur, attacked for having had a malign influence over his pupils, suggested he was involved in a previous murder and linked to a convicted paedophile, who I think was the man who owned the flat before the man who owned this flat sold it to the man from whom Mr Jefferies bought. Well, you get the picture. Obviously he must have been guilty, then, of murdering Jo Yeates. All of it was nonsense, and all of this despite warnings from the Attorney General, warnings that were largely ignored. Of course they were. It was too tempting not to publish.
It was a devastating destruction of all aspects of Mr Jefferies' life, from the professional to the most deeply personal. For example, his relationship with his late mother, the properties he owned, his conduct as a landlord, his entire teaching career. Like clumsy thieves, drunk on the frenzy of an intoxicatingly good story, the press broke into his life and trashed everything, everything that was precious to him, in particular ransacking 34 years of dedication to his profession in a desperate bid to find what they were looking for, a way of establishing he was guilty.
It is perhaps no wonder Mr Jefferies described it later in this way:
"My identity had been violated, my privacy had been intruded upon, my whole life. I don't think it would be too strong a word to say that it was a kind of rape that had taken place."
Mr Jefferies is no celebrity, he is not a politician. A year ago today, I don't imagine that even in his worst nightmares Mr Jefferies would have ever dreamt this could have happened to him. No one ever thinks it will happen to them.
And the attitude of the press? One editor later described it when interviewed on radio after the case as a mistake. Really? Just a mistake? How reassuring. I suppose the hacking into Milly Dowler's phone was just an error.
But what does that say about the ethics of the press, or at least a certain section of it? Is this the kind of behaviour, I ask, which is the reason why we have this Inquiry? Or do people still believe, as some newspaper groups maintain, that there is no problem and that we are only here because of political revenge wreaked by the members of Parliament who have been caught out fiddling their expenses?
Yes, Mr Jefferies brought libel proceedings and yes, he was paid a significant sum, but does that really make up for what happened to him? Does anyone here really think that having to dip into their profits will make these newspapers think twice?
It's an interesting feature of this story and one I will leave you with, sir, that some of the journalists who monstered Mr Jefferies were the very same journalists responsible for the stories about the McCanns. I'd love to name names, but I promised not to, and tempting though it is to employ the same jigsaw identification tactics which the press use to undermine the orders courts grant to protect individuals from unlawful publications, I am no John Hemming.
Perhaps it's fitting though to let Jo Yeates' partner have the last word. In a public statement back in January of this year, long before Mr Tabak was arrested, he described the finger pointing and character assassination by the news media of an as-yet innocent man, Mr Jefferies, as "shameful". "It has made me lose a lot of faith", he said, "in the morality of the British press".
I don't suppose Mr Jefferies has a lot of faith in their morality either, and neither might you, sir.
Before we leave this type of journalism, I should briefly return to the McCanns, because they were to suffer one final swipe.
Without any warning, in September 2008, the News of the World published Kate's private diary that she had written to her missing daughter Madeleine. It was a diary in which she recorded her innermost thoughts, things she had written to her daughter, a document so private that even her own husband had not seen it, but which was taken by the police in the course of the investigation.
How did the News of the World get this from the police? Did they buy the information? Obtain it through some form of deception? We may never know now, especially as the newspaper is defunct.
And on what basis did they think they could justify such a staggering intrusion into the McCanns' privacy? The publication of this material, under the headline "Kate's diary in her own words", with a picture on the front page suggesting she had provided this herself, left her feeling "mentally raped", her husband says, and is it any wonder? At if the McCanns didn't have enough to deal with.
Does this suggest something is fundamentally wrong with the culture, the ethics and practices of the press or all three? Sometimes, it is hard to differentiate between them. On any count, I would say, this was wrong, wrong and wrong.
It should be quite clear now to the Inquiry that a number of people are coming here of their own accord to recount some highly personal and distressing experiences, to put into the public domain very private matters about themselves and to do so not because they have anything to gain, which they don't, but because they want to see something done to stop this type of behaviour so that other people don't have to endure the same suffering, whether great or not so great comparatively.
However, they all have a fear, a very real fear, sir, that you've recognised, that in doing so, not only will they have to go through painful experiences again, but that they will run the gauntlet of a certain section of the press who will seek to vilify them for standing up for their rights and for speaking out against such types of behaviour.
I have already explained how it is routine fare for newspapers to rubbish privacy claimants or so-called whingeing celebrities, how they even go after the judiciary as well, or certainly particular ones who make decisions against them. It appears that the press do not like it when people exercise the freedom of speech which they constantly refer to against the press themselves. For a media that is so quick to shame those in positions of responsibility or power when they claim that these responsibilities or powers have been violated, it appears that this does not work in reverse, despite the enormous power and responsibility that the press holds.
What happens then to those who stand up to the double standards of certain sections of the press? Already, some of those who are giving evidence before you have started to receive the red carpet treatment. In one of the curtain raisers for this Inquiry, for example, the Daily Mail wrote as follows:
"The Leveson Inquiry into phone hacking will ask core participants to give evidence. The line-up looks set to include the get your clothes off model Abi Titmuss, S&M spanker Max Mosley, prostitute procurer Hugh Grant, gold digger Cheryl Gascoigne, John 'pants down' Prescott and the rent boy loving former MP Mark Oaten. Gerry and Kate McCann are also expected to appear along with the parents of murdered Milly Dowler. What sleazy, degrading company for those who have truly suffered."
Mr Grant will speak for himself, he's perfectly willing and able to deal with these myths, the myths that those whose self-interest requires it peddle through the page of their newspapers. He can deal with all these aspects without me needing to and he will do so despite running the risk of merely feeding those journalists poised with pen at the ready to dismiss everything he says as the rantings of another whingeing celebrity. See, I've written it for them. He can deal with all of that admirably, but what he finds more difficult to deal with, and who can blame him, is what has happened to those close to him in the months since he became such a vociferous critic of a certain type of journalism as opposed to the public interest journalism which he is very anxious to distinguish and support.
The story is told in his supplemental witness statement. The fact that it comes as a supplement, despite his main statement being only a week or so old, is testament to how recent these events are. They involve the mother of his recently born daughter, a woman with whom, despite what the popular press love to write, he has a good relationship, but he can deal himself with the nonsense which has been published about this relationship by the self-appointed moral guardians of Fleet Street, the Daily Mail columnists.
Last Friday I had to make an emergency application for an injunction to restrain a campaign of appalling harassment which this lady was having to endure, simply because she was his former girlfriend and just had his child.
That's not strictly true. The real reason for the harassment is probably far more sinister, and it is revealed in the evidence which she gave, namely that she has received threats because of the fact that the father of her child has spoken out against the press. She recalls how, whilst Mr Grant was appearing on Question Time, discussing the closure of the News of the World, Rupert Murdoch and press standards generally, she received a barrage of telephone calls from a withheld number from someone who managed to get it from somewhere, and when she finally answered she was threatened in the most menacing terms, terms which should reverberate around this Inquiry:
"Tell Hugh Grant he must shut the fuck up."
Unsurprisingly, she was too stressed to call the police.
After the birth of her child, the fact of which appears to have been leaked somehow, this hounding turned into a continued pursuit of her and her child by paparazzi and other photographers. It became so nasty that when her mother tried to get evidence of the identity of one paparazzo in a car, he then tried to run her over, hence the emergency injunction which was granted by Mr Justice Tugendhat last week. A written judgment is being handed down on Friday.