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

Sir, I'm moving on to the need for part 2 of this Inquiry. And it's worth reminding everyone of what part 2 is intended to be about.

Again, before I do so, I'm asked actually to clarify something I said earlier, which I'm happy to do.

When I described Heather Mills as being forced to come to this Inquiry, I wasn't by that description referring to the fact that she may have been served with a Section 21 notice. What I was referring to, and I've been asked to make clear, is that she felt compelled, self-compelled, to come and explain her position as opposed to being required to be here by the Inquiry. I hope that makes the position clear.

As I say, part 2 of this Inquiry is not just about hacking and it's not just about the News of the World. It is meant to enquire, as the terms of reference show, into illegal practices of all kinds, no doubt similar to those that have been investigated by Operations Tuleta and Elveden, and not just Weeting.

And it is meant to cover other newspapers, not simply the now defunct News of the World. As we've heard from DAC Akers yesterday, the net is wider, and what it will reveal, we believe, is a section of the press, rather than simply one misguided newspaper, which is far more rotten than many people had realised.

I understand, as we all do, why it was necessary here to put the cart before the horse, to look at the generality of the culture, practices and ethics before considering the prime reason the Inquiry was started, namely the specifics of the phone hacking scandal.

It was necessary because of the criminal investigation, and could this be a more auspicious day to say that and to say also that we should continue with the work of part 2 as soon as this is possible?

Further charges, even in the break that we have just taken, have been announced against those suspected of being involved, at least at the News of the World.

I anticipate that a very significant part of the media machine, which will grind into action once part 1 of the Inquiry ends, will be to say that part 2 is unnecessary. The public have had enough, the recommendations mean that this is all historic, so why the need to drag this all up? That is no doubt what will be said by the self-interested few, who will be anxious to avoid any further inquiry into the sordid details of precisely how corrupt this section of the press was, how far to the core this rot had spread or how high up the tree this went.

It can be answered in two ways. The first is by recognising, as we must do, the unsatisfactory nature of parts of Module 1, the spectacle of journalists coming to the Inquiry to give evidence about culture, practices and ethics, but not being asked about their direct knowledge or involvement in an episode which perhaps best exemplifies those very matters.

It was the constant question left hanging in the room, the one thing no one could ask as a series of News of the World executives and journalists gave evidence here, gave evidence about their views on regulation, articles they'd written, some important, some peripheral, or told us about their good deeds, the public awareness they've raised on issues of varying weight, such as road safety, abortion or wheelie bins; but not a word spoken about a culture of illegality, criminality or unlawful practices on an industrial scale, which we say was known about and then concealed by senior executives within the organisation.

As I say, we all know why that had to be the case, but perhaps it was the acts of one journalist which demonstrated how in one sense, one very real sense, the work of part 1 was compromised, how it can and will only be properly complete once part 2 is also completed.

The News of the World reporter who sat over there and refused to answer any questions even remotely relating to the issue of phone hacking, not to mention anything else which he didn't like.

He claimed or was entitled to claim the privilege of not answering anything, and yet, within hours, he went on Radio 4 vehemently, publicly protesting his innocence in relation to this practice, one which he had so resolutely refused to be tested in this room.

It was a farce. A piece of astonishing hypocrisy that no politician, for example, would survive.

So that is the first reason why part 2 must continue: to do the work that is necessary to complete part 1.

The other is that what we've seen so far, as DAC Akers speculated, is only the tip of the iceberg. Whilst much of what lies beneath the surface relates to practices which were taking place in the early 2000s and up until 2006, the story by no means ends there. The News Group cover-up of the truth carried on well into 2010 and beyond, and more is coming to light with Operation Tuleta.

DAC Akers even mentioned the fact that there were payments, we're told, by one of the newspapers to a prison officer, the last of which took place in February 2012, during this very Inquiry.

When I stood here even in November, in many ways we were only starting to scratch the surface of what went on during the phone hacking scandal, through the civil proceedings with the restrictions that it has. We have now begun to piece together with the help of what little disclosure we can still find, or drag out of News Group, the sheer scale of information which was being obtained, not just voicemails, not just PIN numbers, but a whole host of other personal details: friends and family numbers, utility bill information, texts, medical information, credit card entries and so on.

It is clear that Mr Mulcaire, or those working with him, blagged a horde of information similar to that which Mr Whittamore did for all the other newspapers. And we now know that what Mr Mulcaire did was only a fraction of what News Group's own journalists did themselves, in order to obtain colour for their stories, to corroborate tip-offs they might have had, to use them as a means to intimidate individuals into disclosing details about their private lives which they would never have wanted to reveal voluntarily.

We now have an internal instruction email passing between a senior executive and a journalist relating to a well-known individual's phone. Perhaps the smoking gun we have been looking for.

And most interesting of all is the evidence we have of the cover-up, the deliberate destruction by News International of millions of emails, which took place whilst the newspaper's executives were still peddling the line in public that this was just the work of one rogue reporter.

We now know what was happening behind the scenes, that this email deletion policy was being discussed and approved of at the highest, at the highest of levels within the company, despite the evidence which has been given to this Inquiry.

And when did this mass deletion take place, you may ask. Well, at two critical times, as we can now tell.

First, within days of the letter of complaint received from us in the Sienna Miller case landing on the desk of News International, asking to preserve all documents, as one does in civil litigation. And what about the second time that there was another mass cull? It was the day, the very day after the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Starmer, announced that he was conducting a comprehensive assessment into News International's voicemail interception activities.

I need say nothing more.

To return to my point, part 2 is not just about News of the World and what it did throughout the period. It would look at other newspapers as well, the same ones DAC Akers was talking about.

The simple point is this, sir: how do the public really know that this won't happen again? How do we know this wasn't rife, as we suspect it was, throughout not just the News of the World but a whole section of the press and carried on right up until the doors of this Inquiry? How do we know this unless the stables are properly cleaned out? The civil litigation won't do this, unfortunately. The criminal proceedings won't do it either, I suspect, any more than the prosecution of Mr Mulcaire and Goodman revealed much in the light of their guilty pleas.

So on behalf of the victims, I urge this Inquiry to proceed to part 2 as soon as it is possible to do so.

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