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

The first point I want to make -- and I have five -- is the issue, as Mr White says, is now historical. The search warrant which seized the Whittamore documents was executed as long ago as 8 March 2003. Subsequently, as we heard from Mr Gilmour, the seven journalists are interviewed under caution. None of them were ever arrested. Within a matter of, weeks on 6 March 2004, the Crown Prosecution Service had concluded that there was insufficient evidence to charge any of them. Mr Gilmour explained in his oral evidence that that was because they couldn't establish guilty knowledge on the part of any one of the journalists.

You'll recall from exhibit RJT49 to Mr Thomas' first witness statement that when Mr Whittamore and two others appeared in front of Judge Samuels at Blackfriars Crown Court, the judge made it clear that there was no halfway house in the matter and the presumption of innocence applied in relation to each of the journalists in respect of whom a decision had been taken that there was insufficient evidence to charge them.

Secondly -- I can take this quickly too; it's a point made by Mr White -- such alleged misbehaviour as had taken place prior to 2006 appears to have ceased in the view of not merely the current Information Commissioner but also his predecessor, Mr Thomas, and indeed you'll recall that in your ruling at the end of last year on access to the evidence submitted by Alexander Owens, you said at paragraph 3 that there was no basis for suggesting that the conduct that had given rise to Operation Motorman had been repeated, and doubtless you derived that from two passages in Mr Thomas' first witness statement at paragraphs 44 and 46, where he said that what he was getting from his team was that press misconduct of the type that had led to the two ICO reports in the second half of 2006 had largely ceased thereafter and that the allegations that had surfaced since July 2011 appeared to predate 2006. Mr Thomas confirmed all of that when cross-examine by Mr Caplan, Day 14, page 117.

More recently -- and we can hand up a copy of this if it is necessary -- Mr Graham, the current Information Commissioner, told the Commons Justice Committee in September last year that so far as the ICO's office was concerned, the activities of the press recently have not particularly come to their attention and the concern that he had about Section 55 was really not very much to do with the press as opposed to those in the financial services sector.

Thirdly, when the Inquiry comes to consider culture practices and ethics of the press in relation to my client, a relevant consideration will no doubt be that the editors of the Daily and Sunday Mirror accepted in cross-examination by Mr Barr that given the sheer volume of requests, it would be surprising if every request to Mr Whittamore by their journalists was covered by a public interest defence. That, we say, is really as far as you need to go, and when the question arose on day 37 during the evidence of Mr Dacre of much the same question, you indicated that what interested you and the Inquiry was whether it was accepted that there was a possibility that some the inquiries could not be justified. If I can just quote a sentence from what you said. At page 56 of Day 37 in the afternoon, you said this:

"I'm not concerned to ask how many or who because that's a detail which, for the purposes of my Inquiry, I don't believe I need to go into."

You said something very similar in response to Mr Sherborne on Wednesday afternoon at page 76 when you said that the purpose of the Inquiry cannot be to answer all the factual issues and you said this:

"It would be quite impossible to look at ten years of journalistic endeavour across a wide range of titles and do balanced and fair justice to individual incidents."

Fourth point --

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