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

The reason I was both surprised and disappointed was that in the end two people were taken to court. One was an employee of News of the World, as we know. He was the royal correspondent. He was taken to court specifically on charges that relate to the Royal Family and their staff. The other wasn't an employee of News of the World, but somebody working for them as an agent. But clearly employees were engaged, and therefore the whole panoply of other people who it now appears had their voicemails hacked on the instructions of people in News of the World were not in any way used as evidence against the employees.

Really, the more serious offence, in my mind -- I'm talking not legalistically but generally -- is that employees of national newspapers were behaving like this. You can sort of understand how a freelance individual working for themself might hold themself out to do either things that were illegal or less legal, but there are probably different standards expected of people who are self-employed individuals than people who are employed by national titles owned by nationally and internationally important companies, and I -- that was the disappointment, that those who were employed weren't pursued, and obviously, as we also know, I think confirmed yesterday in the Inquiry, from the email from the lawyer to Andy Coulson, sent in September, which is attached to my evidence -- perhaps you intend, sir, to come back to that, but it was clear that from September 2006, at the highest level, the News of the World knew about this -- there's another very important matter that I deal with in my evidence, which I hope I might be allowed to say something about that in a second -- and therefore, in the public interest, the News of the World and their employees should have been held to account, not just a freelance individual agent who was employed on a contract basis.

That's, for me, where the significant failure occurred and where the police, for a reason I don't understand, decided not to go. I can understand they might not have been able easily to bring charges against a whole number of journalists. Some might have been much more able to have been prosecuted because of the evidence than others but there was no prosecution against anybody other than Clive Goodman, and Clive Goodman only because of his work with the Royal Family, whereas there was a whole range of people clearly acting in concert, either directly or indirectly, illegally, and they were not touched. I find it impossible to find a good explanation for why that happened.

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