13 December 2011

Leveson Inquiry: Hearings - Day 16


"I want this inquiry to mean something", not end up as "footnote in some professor of journalism's analysis of 21 century history." LJ Leveson in reply to A Rusbridger's submission to Inquiry.

Lord Justice Leveson (from Telegraph)

The Panel : top row (left to right)
  • Shami Chakrabarti, director of human rights group Liberty
  • George Jones, former Daily Telegraph political editor
  • Sir David Bell, former chairman of the Financial Times
Bottom row (Left to right)
  • Elinor Goodman, former Channel 4 political editor
  • Lord David Currie, former chairman of Ofcom
  • Sir Paul Scott-Lee, former West Midlands chief constable
The proceedings are shown here live on the Leveson Inquiry website.
BBC Democracy Live Leveson Inquiry live-feed here.

Full list of Core Participants to be found here. (Guardian Website)

Relevant links from mainstream media, blogs and social media:

(Twitter feed for Leveson Inquiry on right of Home page of this (#pressreform) blog.) 

Follow Leveson Inquiry:-

Links to articles from media, blog pieces, comment relevant to today's proceedings:

BBC News - Phone-hacking: the Main Players

BBC News - Infographic on links in phone-hacking scandal 
Guardian Leveson Inquiry Round-up Page

Phone-hacking: Full text of Statement Issued By Dowler Family Lawyer - Guardian (following Police revelation over the weekend that NotW did not delete messages from Milly Dowler's mobile phone)
Police Logs Raise Questions Over Deletion of Milly Dowler's Voicemails - Guardian
Audioboo - Nick Davies on the Milly Dowler Voicemails on Sky News - via @lisaocarroll

Further Statement - Sally and Bob Dowler - Hacking Inquiry - Hacked Off
New Inquiry Into Milly Dowler Hacking Launched - Guardian

Met Chief Lord Stevens' Diary Reveals News of the World Dinners - Independent

From Telegraph Live Blog 13.12.11

11.46 Glenn Mulcaire, who hitherto has kept a silence on what happened at News of the World, is in court today. He wants News International to pay his legal fees.
His lawyers have just named a "senior editor" as tasking Mulcaire to hack phone, insisting it was not just Goodman instructing him. His lawyer says Mulcaire "told Tom Crone in 2007 that it was not just Goodman but <a named editor> who had been tasking him".
Reporters at the High Court are seeking advice on naming this 'senior editor'.
" 12.42: An update to the Mulcaire hearing going on across town at the High Court. We can now report Glenn Mulcaire's lawywer has named the man instructing him to hack phones as Ian Edmondson, the NOTW news editor. Mulcaire's lawyer claims Mulcaire told Tom Crone, the NOTW lawyer, that Edmonson was his instructor."
Leveson Defends England Riots Sentencing - Guardian
BBC News - Leveson Inquiry: NoW 'Wanted to Contain Hacking Publicity'
Letters to Select Committee from James Murdoch and Linklaters
Background to the 'For Neville' Email - Guardian
BBC News - James Murdoch Apologises to MPs Over New Email

Daily Telegraph News
Email exchanges between News International's lawyers & James Murdoch in full here:

Josh Halliday
Glenn Mulcaire was asked to give evidence to Leveson inquiry but that was scuppered by his arrest last week.
Who Will Say Sorry to Rupert? - Kelvin MacKenzie - Spectator

Tuesday 13th December 2011 - Session begins at 11.30 a.m. 
( Link to Blog for Day 15 here )

Today's Witnesses :- Lawrence Abramson, Tom Crone, Julian Pike

Tom Crone

Tom Crone

Tom Crone's Page in Guardian
Tom Crone Profile - Telegraph

From Telegraph Live Blog:
"Tom Crone is the former lawyer for the News of the World. He has been accused of ordering the surveillance of Charlotte Harris, a phone hacking lawyer. In 2009 he and Colin Myler assured a parliamentary select committee they had no evidence phone hacking went beyond a single "rogue reporter". He has flatly contradicted James Murdoch's claim that Murdoch was unaware of the 'for Neville' email which suggested hacking was widespread."

Crone: advised NI on issues of phone hacking on one occasion before arrests in 2006, and on several occasions after

Crone very, very unwilling to give the date of the one occasion he gave legal advice on Phone-hacking before the arrests of Goodman and Mulcaire because it may incriminate him or someone else.Finally replies 2004.
Says he has never given advice on covert surveillance, but that he has on the Data Protection Act.
Knew about Operation Motorman for the first time after Whittamore arrested.
Former legal chief Tom Crone tells he advised journalists on phone hacking in 2004, 2 years before Mulcaire/Goodman arrests
Crone says he didn't deal with PCC complaints, was the Managing Editor, except on exceptional occasions. Says he had enought to do. Jay suggests that what because PCC complaints were not taken seriously. Crone denies this.
Jay suggesting Motorman implications had been ignored even when Myler arrived.
Crone not aware of any inquiry into the Motorman affair at New Int.
Crone says cash payments had almost been eradicated after 2007 - payments for tips for stories, pictures etc. Jay disputes this and Crone says he was never aware of it. Can't remember - except when Mulcaire payments became a serious matter.
Jay asks about PI use - Crone says after 2007 they weren't used to his knowledge.
Checking stories was responsibility of reporter, then the desk heads, then the Editor via the production staff. He was at times brought in to check legal factors in a story. Jay asks how he would know if a story had legal implications.
Jay asks if he listened to tapes. Crone says yes. Jay asks whether some of the stories were a result of phone-hacking. Did he seek the identity of the source? Crone says he wouldn't necessarily press for source.
PIs - Crone asked whether they were used as sources for NI stories, Crone says not aware of this use, didn't know until Mulcaire arrested and results of Motorman were made public.
Crone has admitted to hiring PIs, but not illegally. Used them for checking. Post-publication checking. Evidence-gathering.
Denies using PIs to surveille Harris and Lewis.

Natalie Peck
TC: We did use PIs to check information post-publication largely in libel terms.

T Portilho-Shrimpton
Crone says he's not sure it's right that he was aware many stories were obtained by PIs and turned into stories by journalists

Natalie Peck
TC: Surveillance (on Lewis and Harris) was conducted by newsdesk. Webb mentioned, I understood he was a freelance journalist.
Phone-hacking Scandal: Colin Myler and Tom Crone Come Out Fighting Against James Murdoch - Mail Online
Video - BBC News - Tom Crone Disputes Murdoch Evidence
Tom Crone is Gone -  New Statesman - David Allen Green
Video - Colin Myler and Tom Crone Give Evidence to MPs - Guardian
Video - Ex - News International Lawyer Hits Back at James Murdoch's Evidence - Sky News

Natalie Peck
Crone described as "quiet but potent" in Peter Burden's book 'Fake Sheiks and Royal Trappings.

Natalie Peck
RT : Crone: most of Peter Burden's conclusions before this inquiry were raeched by extrapolation and conjecture

Ross Hawkins
Tom Crone at : every newspaper lawyer has come across a journalist who has told a lie

T Portilho-Shrimpton
Crone: every newspaper has done copyright lifting

Ross Hawkins
Tom Crone at : I'm not a guardian of ethics here

PCC Code:  Jay asks did not Crone's advice cover the PCC Code before a story was published? Often consulted the PCC Board on a weekend. Seems to be saying Code issues not as important as privacy issues.
Frequent coversations with Kuttner and another Managing Editor about stories doubtful about. Jay wants to know just how seriously they took Code. Crone says very seriously.
Back to Burden's Book 'Fake Sheikhs etc....' says he never saw concocted stories from Mahmood.
Mosley: Crone saw a fair amount of the video tape. Was aware story being restricted to a few in the know. Jay wants to know who raised question of Mosley's being pre-warned. Myler on duty at time. They decided not to pre-notify because danger of leaks or Mosley would go for injunction.
Jay now admonishing Crone and NotW for not pre-warning Mosley. Crone ssays didn't want to be stopped by a court from printing it. Jay suggests someone like Eady would give injunction for that story.
Jay askes if he spoke to Thurlbeck about Mosley story. Crone says not.
Does Crone accept that the emails to the two women in the Mosley case were blackmail? Leveson now questioning corporate governance and legal propriety oversight to follow-up stories - what was Crone approach to these wome. Calls it 'remarkable'.
Leveson: Does it not follow that the way these stories were develping occupied a parallel universe to the one you were involved in? This was a big story, why wasn't he consulted?
Crone now at a loss to remember sequence of events.
Jay now asking about Crone's answer to Select committee about the emails to the 2 women in Mosley case.

From the Guardian:
"Crone says he was not "consulted" before the emails were sent to the two women.
3.47pm: Jay discusses the Mosley follow-up story the following Sunday when the paper attempted to get first-hand testimony from two of the women involved in the orgy.
They were allegedly told in emails from the former chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck that if they agreed to give their first-hand stories they would get anonymity and cash. If they didn't their identities would be revealed.
Crone admits that the emails came "pretty close" to blackmail."

Crone says he is unaware if Thurlbeck disciplined or spoken to after Mr Justice Eady's judgment

Crone says there was a general lack of respect for LJ Eady's judgements in the NI ranks.
Back to Mosley video - was Crone asked to advise on legality of displaying the excerpts? he didn't think he was.
Sarcastically, Crone says videos tend to be watched by thousands when placed on the website. He didn't advise it be taken down.

Crone: I thought it was pushing it to put up the video. Jay: did you advise it be taken down? Crone: I don't think so.

Guardian: Leveson says:
"Mr Crone I am slightly concerned, this was massive litigation, you were involved in privacy litigation with a man who clearly felt extremely strongly about what had been done to him and what concerns me is that the appropriate approach wasn't discussed with the most senior legal officer in the company …
4.12pm: David Sherborne says his recollection was that video was taken down before the application for interim relief following the publication of the first story, but was put back up."
"Crone says he has trouble remembering the precise advice he gave and in what order he gave it:
Part of the problem is memory … I have trouble remembering what happened in what order … you may say that's bad, but I say that's the truth."

T Portilho-Shrimpton
Crone: not true I promised Goodman he coud come back to a job at the newspaper if he didn't implicate it or its staff

John Bingham
Andy Coulson wanted hacker Clive Goodman to come back to work at NOTW after jail - Crone

Peter Howells
Coulson said that whatever happened to Goodman he would be able to come back to NOTW, not as reporter but doing book serialisation

Natalie Peck
TC: I was concerned by "rogue reporter" line. I thought it would come back to bite people. I had discussions about it.

Telegraph Live Blog:
"16.23 Crone says in his witness statement he believed since 2007 the "rogue reporter" theory was "erroneous from the outset." He had no "hard evidence" but did discuss it with other people - those conversations are privileged, he says.
"I expressed he view that others were probably involved," Crone says.
"The line was put out, one rogue reporter. You heard that party line being peddled. Didn't that ever cause you concern?" asks Jay.
"Yes, I felt it would come back to bite the people concerned," says Crone.
"You were certainly right there," says Leveson. "Did you do anything about it?"
"I had discussions," says Crone. He said he "reported upwards the legal ramifications.""

Hacked off
Crone: was surprised in the light of what was said by the judge... that we hadn't heard further from the police

Crone: hackgate worst thing in newspaper's history. Wanted to draw a line under it.
"Jay asks Crone whether it was News International's hope to protect the company from reputational damage."Yes. I cannot deny that," replies Crone. "I think that was everyone's hope to be perfectly honest.""
"Crone says he asked five or six News of the World journalists whether they had been involved in phone hacking. He adds that the journalists said they had not.Jay is reading out Mark Lewis' account of a meeting between Crone and Lewis in Manchester."
 LJ Leveson intervened at this point and after asking about the ethos at the NotW, which it has been suggested would have re-employed Clive Goodman after serving  his prison sentence, the Inquiry closed for the day.

Lawrence Abramson

Lawrence Abramson

Full Witness Statements:

Extract from an article in The Lawyer, 12th July 2011:-

"Harbottle & Lewis was instructed in 2007 to help with the investigation into phone hacking at the News of the World after the paper’s former royal editor Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire were jailed for hacking royal aides’ phones, and was sent a dossier of emails.
Following a review of the emails, Lawrence Abramson, then a partner at Harbottles, wrote to Chapman on 29 May 2007, stating: “I can confirm that we did not find anything in those emails which appeared to us to be reasonable evidence that Clive Goodman’s illegal actions were known about and supported by both or either of Andy Coulson, the Editor, and Neil Wallis, the Deputy Editor, and/or that Ian Edmondson, the News Editor, and others were carrying out similar illegal procedures.”"
From Telegraph Live Blog:
"Lawrence Abramson is a lawyer for Harbottle & Lewis. The firm of solicitors were hired by News International to review emails in 2007 to say whether the illegal actions of Clive Goodman, the News of the World's former royal editor who was jailed for phone hacking, were known to his superiors.
Abramson said he had reviewed the emails sent between newspaper executives including Andy Coulson, Stuart Kuttner, Ian Edmondson, Clive Goodman and Neil Wallis. He wrote he did not find any "reasonable evidence" of knowledge of the practice.
But when those emails were reviewed again by William Lewis, at the time News International's general manager and now an executive member of News Corporation's Management and Standards Committee, re-examined the emails they found evidence the practice went beyond a rogue reporter."

Harbottle and Lewis Lawyer 'Found No Criminal Activity - Guardian
Committee Publishes Further Evidence on Phone-hacking on 6th September - UK Parliament
Leveson Inquiry to Probe Emails Riddle - Telegraph

From Guardian Live Blog:
"Abramson is talking about the emails he was asked to look at by News International following claims by the News of the World's former royal editor Clive Goodman that "two others" were aware of his activities (phone hacking)."
"Mulcaire was paid £105,000.Abramson is talking about a conversation with a senior executive at News International over his initial instructions.
His notes show that other journalists used Mulcaire. He tells Leveson, however, that he doesn't think he was being told that Mulcaire was being used for phone hacking but for legitimate reasons."

T Portilho-Shrimpton
Email being shown to about Mulcaire contains sentences "concerned not to provoke Mulcaire?" "how do we contain it?"

Abramson: NoW concern was to contain publicity from Goodman alleging others at paper were aware of his activities.

Jay: Abramson's brief was to identify material that could possibly tend to support either of Goodman's contentions

Natalie Peck
LA: Was reviewing approx 2,500 emails, junior lawyers brought certain msgs to my attention. Another bundle arrived from Cloke.

T Portilho-Shrimpton
LA: team of junior lawyers, one paralegal and two trainees under my supervision went through News Int emails

Natalie Peck
Now being shown termination letter from Les Hinton to Goodman in Feb 2007 and Goodman's appeal letter.

Abramson: felt certain emails showed NoW in unfavourable light, were sort of ones I felt I had to flag up

T Portilho-Shrimpton
LA: emails showed they (News Int) were trying to influence the way the (Goodman) prosecution was being conducted

From Guardian Live Blog:
"Abramson says the emails might have been "potentially embarassing" for News International. Asked what might have been embarrassing, he says:
They showed confidential sources, concerns about confidential sources, cash payments.
They revealed quite an active involvement in Clive Goodman's prosecution … [how News International] tried to influence how the defence was conducted, and one email which has been redacted that showed [Jay then stops Abramson].
The earliest email in the Abramson investigation was sent in 2005."

lisa o'carroll
- Harbottle & Lewis lawyer also says he rejected an attempt from News Int to insert a sentence in its legal opinion on emails

Mark White
Abramson says he has since seen a batch of 2003 emails which would have changed his 2007 conclusions

Julian Pike

Julian Pike

Julian Pike, News of the World Solicitor, Says He Knew that Phone-hacking Was Widespread in 2009 - HuffPost

Full Witness Statements 

Extract from an article in The Lawyer (with link to backstory):
"According to BBC’s Newsnight, Pike instructed a private investigator to put Taylor Hampton solicitor Mark Lewis, acting for the family of murdered teenager Milly Dowler, under surveillance along with Mishcon de Reya media lawyer Charlotte Harris, who advised actress Leslie Ash and her former footballer husband Lee Chapman.
The purpose: to find out if the two were ’an item’.
Newsnight says it has seen an e-mail sent by Pike to private investigator Silent Shadow in which he claimed that finding out whether Lewis and Harris were living together “may assist us bringing professional misconduct proceedings against Lewis and/or Harris” as it might help confirm suspicions that the pair were sharing confidential information.
News International, the parent company of NoW, says it believes Lewis and Harris were indeed put under surveillance, which it noted was “not illegal” but “clearly deeply inappropriate in these circumstances”. It also says the actions were not condoned by the current executives of the company.
Farrers, which was unable to comment on the Newsnight story because of confidentiality, doesn’t act for NoW any more (see story). But it won’t have heard the last from Mark Lewis, who is now saying that he is considering filing a civil action against the firm.
This story, as they say, has legs."
From Telegraph Live Blog:
"Pike is head of media practice at Farrer & Co, the Queen's lawyers.
His website says he is "quite outstanding; he is clever, thoughtful, charming and great with clients".
But he is now facing an investigation by the Solicitors Regulation Authority after it was alleged that, when acting for News of the World, he also placed Charlotte Harris and fellow lawyer Mark Lewis under surveillance."

News International Lawyer Julian Pike Admits 'We Misled MPs' - Mail Online

From Guardian Live Blog: 
"Jay asks Pike if did he not "harbour doubts" as far back as 2007 when the News of the World's former royal editor was convicted and Mulcaire admitted other people's phones had been hacked. He says these other people would have been "outside the bailiwick" of a royal editor."Speaking generally one can have suspicions," says Pike, but he did not have evidence of this."

Mark White

We're a bit limited to what we're hearing from Julian Pike on certain matters as he cites client privilege.. frustrating!


Farrers have been advising News Group Newspapers for c. 25 years.

Natalie Peck

JP: When material came forward in Taylor case 2008, I started believing NoW rogue reporter defence was untrue.

Natalie Peck
RT : Jay: was it being conveyed to you (by Myler) that there was a need to close down future allegations? Pike: No.

"Pike concedes that counsel's view suggests activity was widespread, even if not endemic.
From Guardian Live Blog: 
Leading counsel Michael Silverleaf had told News International in a written opinion that there was "a culture of illegal information access" at News Group Newspapers. Silverleaf also referred to at least three journalists who appeared to have been involved in Mulcaire's activities.
Jay says: "The reference to a 'culture of illegal information access' rather suggests that it was reasonably widespread, doesn't it?"
Pike agrees, but says this was based on Operation Motorman and other information."
 Guardian lunchtime summary:
"• Former Harbottle & Lewis partner Lawrence Abramson has told the Leveson inquiry internal emails would have shown News International in "an unfavourable light".
• A dozen emails reviewed by Harbottle & Lewis could have been "potentially embarrassing" and lead to "adverse publicity".
• NI legal adviser Julian Pike says in 2008 he didn't believe the company's defence that phone hacking was restricted to one "rogue reporter"."
 From Guardian Live Blog, Transcript of Pike call to Tom Crone:

T Portilho-Shrimpton
Pike: didn't know whether it was a private investigator or a journalist carrying out surveillancr on Lewis and Harris

Natalie Peck

JP: I had concerns that Harris and Lewis may be exchanging highly confidential info from acting for claimants (inc GT) against NGN.

T Portilho-Shrimpton
Sherborne: how on the 13 May did you know about a claim from Sienna Miller that didn't even exist at the time? Pike: i don't know
Jay asks Pike if he doesn't think it unusual for two lawyers to be under surveillance. Pike answers that he does.

From Guardian Live Blog:
"Pike is asked about News International's alleged surveillance of two prominent lawyers who were working for phone-hacking victims in 2010.Pike says he had "knowledge in April 2010" that surveillance was being carried out on the lawyers, Mark Lewis and Charlotte Harris. However he did not know ant more detail:
I didn't know Mr Webb [a private investigator who was asked by NoW to tail Lewis and Harris] even existed in 2010.
He says it didn't follow that he would have thought a private investigator had been hired by NoW. It could have been a journalist, he said.
Pike says:
In my experience it's perfectly possible for both – a freelance journalist to carry out this task as well as a private investigator."

Andy Davies

Pike says he didn't enquire into the precise nature of the surveillance carried out on Lewis and Harris.

Guardian Live Blog:
"Leveson intervenes and asks Pike if he did not consider it inappropriate to put two lawyers under surveillance.
At the time I thought it perfectly obvious what the bounds of that investigation were meant to be and one had hoped at the time, that the NoW would be able to carry out a very straight foward job of surveillance on Lewis and Harris.
Jay asks if is it not unusual to put two lawyers under surveillance. Pike agrees."
"Pike is pressed on the question of whether he knew a private investigator was hired to tail Lewis and Harris.Leveson tells him: "We are dancing a bit on the head of a pin, aren't we Mr Pike?"
Pike insists that it doesn't follow that a surveillance operation on a newspaper would always involve a private investigator."


Email from Pike to Crone: they (Lewis & Harris) will continue to be deeply untrustworthy, continuous leaks to Guardian.

Natalie Peck

JP: If surveillance through me would have been PI. Through NoW could have been either (PI or journo).
From Guardian:
"Counsel for the inquiry, Robert Jay QC, is looking at a docunment on the News of the World's strategy.This suggested the motivation of the key civil litigation lawyers was political, with a number of "strong Labour supporters" who wanted to use phone hacking to advance their careers.
News International apparently wanted to use these tensions to its own advantage."

T Portilho-Shrimpton

Email from Pike says he didn't recall whether was told "something" about Lewis/Harris surveillance by Edmondson or Crone, says Jay

Andy Davies

Pike sent email to News Intl lawyer 26 mar 2010 suggesting there should be surveillance on lawyers Lewis and Harris


Pike: carrying out surveillance on L&H perfectly legitimate, but could not condone it in relation to their families.

Sherbourne asking Pike how he knew about a private, secret detail of Sienna Miller phone-hacking before it was made public.

Pike now wants Leveson to look at a Charlotte Harris document. Her serious allegations about what he said in a letter and a phone call. Pike states those allegations are untrue. He has the document. Leveson wants to see it. Pike says he would have to ask Linklaters if that would be allowable. Sherbourne has a signed version *with* the allegations, Leveson's does not have the reference. Was removed in final version by Harris and her lawyer. Pike said she's referring to a different case and what he said was about the client and not her.

Leveson says no need for him to go further. Harris must it sort out with Pike.

Natalie Peck
Charlotte Harris's allegation about "career suicide" letter was withdrawn in subsequent witness statement to Inquiry.