17 December 2011

Leveson Inquiry: Hearings - Day 19


"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

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) 
From Guardian:
Here's a quick reminder of the four modules within this first year of the inquiry.
Module 1: The relationship between the press and the public and looks at phone-hacking and other potentially illegal behaviour
Module 2: The relationships between the press and police and the extent to which that has operated in the public interest
Module 3: The relationship between press and politicians
Module 4: Recommendations for a more effective policy and regulation that supports the integrity and freedom of the press while encouraging the highest ethical standards.


Follow Leveson Inquiry:-
Links to articles from media, blog pieces, comment relevant to today's proceedings:

Hundreds of Computers Linked to Press Hackers - Independent - Sat. 17th December 2011

BBC Radio 4 Programmes - Recording - 16th December 2011 - Computer Hacking and the Press

Audioboo /Leveson Inquiry Week 5: BBC Radio4Today - Peter Hunt

BBC News - July 2011 - Jailed Mirror Reporter James Hipwell Accuses Piers Morgan

Leveson Inquiry - Evidence Weeks 3 and 4, 'the Good, the Bad and the Ugly' - Inforrm's Blog 

The Hacking Inquisitors: 'People Thought I Was a Paranoid Conspiracy Theorist' - Guardian

Phone-hacking: the Sun Boss Tells Alan Rusbridger the 'Guardian Needs to Clean up Its Own Stable' - Huff Post

Audioboo - English Chamber Choir Sings the Leveson Inquiry - via @JohnW_Bromford

Brother of Dead Phone-hacking Whistle-blower to Give Evidence - Telegraph

Chronology of the phone-hacking investigation since 2005 - long, very detailed article from New York Times. Written by Don Van Natta Jnr, Jo Becker and Graham Bowley, Sept. 1st  2010 :here

Monday December 19th 2011
( link to Day 18 HERE )

Today's Witnesses: - Matthew Driscoll, James Hanning, 
Stuart Hoare

Matthew Driscoll

Matt Driscoll

The Reporter Who Took on the News of the World and Won - Independent Nov '09

News of the World Faces £800 000 Payout in Bullying Case - Guardian  Nov '09

Conspiracy of Silence as Nationals Ignore NoW's £800 000 Payout - Roy Greenslade - Guardian Nov. '09

Witness Statement in Full

Record payout awarded to reporter in unfair dismissal case (from Hodge, Jones and Allen, Solicitors, Website)

24 Nov 2009

A former sports reporter for the News of the World has been awarded what is believed to be a record payout for unfair dismissal after launching a compensation claim against the newspaper.

Matt Driscoll started work for the tabloid in 1997 and had been promoted twice. However, his relationship with then-editor Andy Coulson turned sour in 2006 when Driscoll failed to act upon a story lead from Coulson.

After the corresponding article appeared in the Sun, Coulson was said to be unimpressed and sent an email to his deputy editor stating that he wanted Driscoll "out as quickly and cheaply as possible".

Driscoll claimed that he was then subjected to a "consistent pattern of bullying behaviour" by Coulson and other senior staff which culminated in him taking long-term sick leave for a stress-related illness.

"He did nothing to stop it, if anything he accelerated it," commented Driscoll, claiming that he had been one of the top 30 sports writers in the country before coming up against the "venom" of Coulson.

Driscoll was sacked in April 2007 while on sick leave and he decided to take legal action against the newspaper.

This week, an employment tribunal agreed that he had been unfairly treated and ruled that he should receive GBP 792,736 in compensation. It is thought that this is the highest payout of its kind in the media industry.

From a Guardian article, November 2009:
"A News of the World reporter who suffered from a culture of bullying led by former editor Andy Coulson, who is now David Cameron's head of communications, has been awarded almost £800,000 for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination.
Matt Driscoll, a sports reporter sacked in April 2007 while on long-term sick leave for stress-related depression, was awarded £792,736 by the east London employment tribunal. It is believed to be the highest payout of its kind in the media, and legal costs could take News International's total bill well over the £1m mark."" - read on....

From an Independent article, November 2009:
"Last Monday, a tribunal ordered the News of the World to pay Driscoll, 41, £792,736 in compensation for being the victim of "a consistent pattern of bullying behaviour", led by the paper's then editor, Andy Coulson. The size of the payout has astonished many in the industry and is thought to be the biggest settlement of its kind in the media.
It is a fresh blow for Coulson, who as David Cameron's director of communications has been responsible for rebranding the Conservative party with a softer image.
Driscoll described to the tribunal how, having taken against him, Coulson orchestrated a campaign to get him removed from the paper "as quickly and as cheaply as possible." "Overnight Coulson
Read more......
C Patry Hoskins asking about his time at the Daily Star. saying little money at that paper to pay for dark arts. Used old-fashioned journalism. Upheld good standards. Does recognise what Richard Peppiatt said about hounding stars in Showbiz - big grey area about what was true and what was not. Sometimes stories were fabricated. No such practices there in Sport section. Says Stat was afraid of being sued. Smaller the paper's budget the more accurate they have to be. Didn't want to be in court for libel.
Was 'poached' by NoW from the Daily Star.
Now looking at his Dismissal Appeal Statement.
Phil Hall was Editor. Then Rebekah Wade, Andy Coulson, Colin Myler.
Made good relationships with football managers and at first his time at Fleet Street was good. Career on the up. Getting glowing reports about his work. Got some good scoops. Wanted to come back to London. Attended meeting in London, was told he was to get promotion. 2003.

When Andy Coulson became editor, before negotiations were finished, he found the promotion had been given to someone else. Andy Coulson wanted his own man in place.
One day he got info from A Coulson that Arsenal were to play in purple strip. Had to investigate. Arsenal said not true. Sun got hold of story and few months later story proven to be correct - Driscoll was told by his boss that: 'We're dead.' Coulson not pleased. Driscoll knew it was beginning of end for him.
Blagging: techniques were used to get health, financial info etc. Says he's pretty sure the Sports Editor didn't do it. Special people in the Newsroom were used to do it for reporters.
From Guardian Live Blog:
"Driscoll is now being asked about 'blagging' and a story about a "prominent premier league player" and his medical records. He hit a brick wall and in the end he had to go to his sports editor to say he couldn't stand it up.
My sports editor said leave it with me, I can see what we can come up with.
That same day I got a call from the sports editor You're absolutely right, the story is true, I've got his medical records with me at the moment. Having been at the Daily Star where something like that never happened I was aghast.
[He said] It's nothing life threatening, I know exactly what it is, what procedure he has had"
"Driscoll says he is pretty certain the sports editor didn't get the footballer's medical records himself and there was A "private investigator would send an email to hospital and get details back".
I'm pretty certain sports editor didn't do that. He didn't tell me that, but I know through working practices that he wouldn't do that. special people on newsdesk and features desk to do that. [there was a] phone call to manager, he was v upset about that."
Driscoll now suggesting blagging was used as a method to trade for concessions - stories.

Telegraph Live Blog:
"13.58 Mr Driscoll inadvertently names a high profile Premier League manager during his evidence, referring to medical records that were obtained by the News of the World. The inquiry hears the newspaper struck a deal with the manager not to use them in return for other stories."
Phone-hacking: Driscoll didn't do any himself. Was known throughout Fleet Street that it went on. When he was at Star, he knew about some sort of Scanner.
At NoW, Features and News were where the phone-hacking went on. the Sports section took bits of info perhaps as a result of phone-hacking by Features, News.
McMullan's Evidence is now being discussed. Driscoll knows by word of mouth that the voice-mail access went on by some journalists but not to the extent McMullan stated. Driscoll is pretty certain the phone-hacking went on throughout Fleet Street. The hearsay evidence he has was from the time he was working there.

Telegraph Live Blog:
"14.05 Phone hacking did not happen on the sportsdesk, according to Mr Driscoll.
My knowledge goes as far as speaking to colleagues of mine at lunch or on certain jobs. It was known throughout the whole of Fleet Street that news reporters, features writers, could obtain either text messages or voicemails. It goes back a long way. Towards the end of my Daily Star years, there were scanners that could get into old mobile phones.

In sport, we speak to people face to face, There would be no interest in using any of those techniques on a football club. Sport is completely different to news and features. News and features can write one story about one person and not have to speak to them again."
Blagging: Driscoll agrees with McMullan that blagging was widespread.
PIs: Driscoll says he has no knowledge of their use.
Bin-searching: Driscoll knew this went on.
Driscoll says pressure to get stories, to sell the paper encouraged the 'Black Arts'.
Senior Executives on the paper, he says, had too much power. Thinks it was also true of other papers. Ordinary journos felt they couldn't question decisions. Editors lived cosseted lives. Some good journos who became editors lost touch with reality. Had to maintain readership. All about making sure they sold more papers - didn't keep a grasp of reality.

Guardian Live Blog:
"He believed that News International believed they were untouchable because they had the government ... fighting their corner."
Guardian Live Blog:
"The inquiry is now turning to bullying. Driscoll is being asked to talk about a report he did on Arsenal footballer Kolo Toure after the 7/7 bombings in 2005.
The club made a complaint about the article which was about life as a muslim following the attack."
Telegraph Live Blog:
"4.18 Mr Driscoll is now talking about a disciplinary hearing he had after a complaint over an interview he did with Kolo Toure. He was summonsed to a meeting because he had failed to provide both parts of the interview on tape, desite having the second part in shorthand notes.
He tells the hearing that Andy Coulson told him: "In my opinion, I would have sacked you.""
Became depressed in 2005 - Doctor advised him to distance himself from sources of stress. (NoW) News of World were told this by Union Rep but took no notice, phoned him every day, send letters by recorded delivery, threatened him with stoppage of pay if he wouldn't see the company medical officer. Company nurse came to his house, pay stopped. reinstated only when he agreed to see their doctor. Disciplinary Hearing. Then threats to dismiss him. All of this happened over one year 2005-6.

From Telegraph Live Blog:

"14.27 Another disciplinary hearing took place in which Mr Driscoll received a final written warning after a complaint over an article he had written about Charlton. He was represented by Steve Turner, who will give evidence tomorrow. He was later diagnosed with severe depression and his pay was stopped because he would not see a company doctor.

My GP was at pains to try and help me and make me better, and he was stressing the importance of distancing myself from the source that was making me ill, which was the News Of The World. They took no notice of any instructions he gave me, it made no difference to them at the time."

Ben Fenton
Was dismissed in absence when he said he cdnt attend crucial meeting because of his father's illness.

Now discussing Driscoll's Unfair Dismassal Appeal.
Leveson particularly highlights that a vast range of NI company/medical officials were at tribunal whereas Driscoll had support only from his Union Rep and his father.

T Portilho-Shrimpton
MD: NI accepted he was a disabled person during time he was diagnosed with severe depression

Ben Fenton
[Sadly, this tale of earnest persecution of a person whose face doesn't fit is as grimly unsurprising to hacks as dark arts are. ]

Ross Hawkins
Driscoll at : his representative at ind tribunal said he'd dealt with three similar cases at NI

Coulson wrote privately to Wallis : 'Want him out as quickly and as cheaply as possible .'
All of this documentary evidence being discussed now is intended to prove the culture of bullying within the NoW.
NoW tried to contest the Appeal hearing judgement 3 times.
2007 - Mulcaire, Goodman convicted. Part of DCMS transcript being read. Chapman being quoted.
Discussing the different ways people were treated when deemed to have committed a 'crime'. Driscoll highlighting the difference between the way he was treated and that of Goodman and others.
Driscoll Saying it was because Coulson wanted him out and the other people around him did everything they could to make it happen.
He had an email with evidence that his phone was hacked about 3 weeks after his judgement had arrived (Sep 2008).
Driscoll says his career is finished because who would want to employ someone who took on the bosses and won and isn't afraid to speak out about it.
Managing Editor of Sun had given the impression that the rest of Fleet Street saw signs of frailty in him and wouldn't want to employ him.
Driscoll puts his entire illness stems from the way he was treated.
He says he has no axe to grind. Hoped that things would have got better after Myler came in, says clearly it did not.

Ross Hawkins
Driscoll at : was a culture of lying as well as the culture of bullying the tribunal found

Driscoll: when I spoke to New York Times, wasn't whistleblowing, was blowing a fuse.

PCC: Thinks that PCC needs more power.

James Hanning

James Hanning

James Hanning Becomes Independent on Sunday Deputy Editor - Guardian - February 2008

James Hanning - Journalisted.com

Interview from ABC with James Hanning -  Audio - July 2011

James Hanning spoke to Sean Hoare in an off-the record interview. Now wants to speak openly about it because it's what Sean would have wanted. Purely in personal capacity. Sean Hoare trusted Hanning it is said.
First met him in Summer 2010. Met 4 or 5 times. Quite long meetings. SH came from Watford to London and they went for lunch a couple of time. Discussion about writing a book together. Both had found out things (about phone-hacking?) and talked about them.
SH, Hanning says, was not as far as he could tell on drugs at the time, not sure about the drinking. Got no impression that SH's memory was impaired at all. 
SH understands that he felt aggrieved, wounded at having to give up a profession he loved. Says SH thought there was a small element of wanting to strike back at those who'd wronged him, but that there was some feeling that he wanted to be public-spirited by blowing the whistle. Hanning thought SH's evidence could be corroborated.
Asked whether there was any political axe to grind on the part of SH by pointing the finger at Andy Coulson. he said he didn't get the impression that this was an important motivation. Says SH had been offered £60 000 to tell his story which he refused. No payments given as far as he knew.
Phone-hacking. SH had admitted that he had hacked phones himself and had told him it had been carried out by others. SH named about 8 people. Says it had been going on a long time. Targets were of all sorts. SH was showbiz reporter and targeted that sort of person.
SH also told him there was a certain amount of cash in office - used to pay other papers' journos for their News List. £400 in cash paid over. £200 to other papers' journos, £100 to Sean Hoare:

Ben Fenton
Hoare and "another executive" split the remaining £200, Hanning tells Cash made things happen.

From Guardian Live Blog:
"Hanning remembers Hoare telling him of a female celebrity getting in touch with someone at the NoW because they had been trying to get in touch with them and wanted to give this person their number.
The executive referred to hacking as "screwing".

[The celebrity said] this is my PA's number and the female celebrity handed over the number to a senior executive and the senior executive handed it to another and said 'there you are there is X's number tell him to 'get hacking'' or words to that effect or that's one thing to get on with hacking, or 'screwing' as the term be - that's another phone to screw."

T Portilho-Shrimpton
JH: Sean thought NoW was source of info, but also soure of entertainment
From Guardian Live Blog:
"Hanning says he believes the illegal activities were known about at senior levels.
Stuart Hoare mentioned it [the newsdesk] being out of control.
I'm not sure it is a term I would use, it seems to me it was known what was going on."
"Hanning is now being asked about The SunQ. Did he talk to him about hacking on the Sun?
A. I don't remember him saying that specifically. If I am not speculating, he would assume that I would understand that that would be the case. It seemed to me to be implicit."
Nobody had an easy ride at NoW, SH told Hanning. Pressures great. Tough place to be, the red-top market. Probably get sacked if not producing stories enough.
Hanning says Hoare at first was in a privileged position when things were going well. Didn't discuss the ethos.
SH mentioned one individual having a very bad time and to whom SH lent his shoulder. he was very much liked.

Dan Sabbagh
Leveson Inquiry hears loose reference about "a suspected break in to obtain information". Not sure by whom.

Hanning asked when he would consider subterfuge a justifiable way to gather information. Hanning says he thinks the Code is good on this. Doesn't think a footballer's private life is of interest unless something illegal is going on.

Ben Fenton
Hanning says Hoare never mentioned break-ins to obtain information.Doesn't approve of fishing expeditions.

From Guardian Live Blog:
"Hanning is being asked about blagging and how widespread that is. He says the practices of blagging and phone hacking became more common.
Because they were effective, they seemed to work in proving the truth of the story then they became more commonly used
And then came to be the starting point of the story, fishing expeditions...
To turn to Sean, [he would be told] 'Why don't you do some 'finger fishing' why don't you find out what X is up to, in a casual way, we could do with a story about X'"
Hanning thinks that if public figures are living a lie, they must expect to come under public scrutiny .He can see why this would be considered to be in the public interest.
PCC not adequate on enforcement of transgression of public interest cases.
Hanning says he has no direct knowledge of hacking going on at any other papers other than the tabloids, but believes it did happen, heard rumours. Not restricted to red-tops.
Payments made to Police were generally known of. Police recognised as fertile source of information. Doesn't understand the relationship between the NoW and the Police. Can't give any sense of what went on.
Power of the media and politicians: Labour Gvmnt and this Gvmnt great concern to get the headlines. This translates into power for the press.
Churnalism: Believes the approval of a subject should be sought and gained before printing an article. Too much PR happening these days.
Leveson asks about whether there is a different test to be applied to the public interest rule depending on the type of paper. Hanning says there should. Red-tops in a different ball-game. Leveson presses him as to whether the test should be different. Hanning thinks and then says no, he doesn't suppose it should.
PCC: Hanning doesn't think Editors should be allowed to walk away from it.
Hanning thinks a way should be found to get everyone to sign up to it. 'Strongly encourage'.
Hanning very vague on how he thinks the PCC should change.
Not far off being pretty good. Leveson pushes him further on this. Hanning says journalists do not like the idea of being brought up before the PCC. Hanning thinks the mediation system OK. Complaints system not sufficient remedy.

Now being asked by lawyer Davies whether he has notes on his interviews with Sean Hoare and would he willing to let Inquiry have them. he says he would allow this.

Stuart Hoare  
(brother of the late Sean Hoare, formerly a NotW reporter) 

Stuart Hoare
Chronology of the phone-hacking investigation since 2005 - long, very detailed article from New York Times. Written by Don Van Natta Jnr, Jo Becker and Graham Bowley, Sept. 1st  2010 :here

Stuart Hoare: " My Brother Told Me Phone-hacking Was Routine at the Sun" - Hacking Inquiry Blog

Full Witness Statement 

From Guardian:

"The brother of Sean Hoare, the former News of the World reporter who blew the whistle on phone hacking, is to appear on same day as Piers Morgan at the Leveson inquiry into press ethics next week.[ed - Piers Morgan is scheduled to appear on Tuesday December 20th.]

Stuart Hoare is expected to be asked what his brother, who was found dead at his home in July, had said about the culture and work practices at the Sunday tabloid.
An inquest in November heard that Hoare suffered from alcoholic liver disease and died of natural causes.
Stuart told the inquest the medical evidence "reflected the deterioration and stress he was under for the last few months".
Sean Hoare
Hoare made fresh allegations against his former employer in the New York Times in late 2010 and the coroner told how he had been "indicating that he was drinking as a crutch" following these revelations.
He will appear on Monday as will James Hanning, the deputy editor of the Independent on Sunday, who is expected to testify about Hoare."
Stuart told the inquest the medical evidence "reflected the deterioration and stress he was under for the last few months".
Hoare made fresh allegations against his former employer in the New York Times in late 2010 and the coroner told how he had been "indicating that he was drinking as a crutch" following these revelations.
He will appear on Monday as will James Hanning, the deputy editor of the Independent on Sunday, who is expected to testify about Hoare."

Above: Youtube Video of Sean Hoare speaking on a Panorama programme about phone-hacking at the News of the World

Stuart Hoare giving evidence sound only.
Stuart explains how he and his brother took very different paths in life, though they were very close.
Stuart says Police have certain emails from Sean with evidence of 'Dark Arts' at News of the World and he would be willing to let the Inquiry have them.
Stuart says Sean Hoare was struggling during his last year because of pressures put on the journalists to get stories. He was given a payoff to leave. Loved journalism, began writing intermittently for other titles.
He got so fed up with journalism then that he walked away and worked at an equestrian centre.

Phone-hacking. Stuart asked not to give names unless already used by PH.
Discussions with his brother about phone hacking took place before and after Sean left News of the World and the Sun.He wants to make it clear that the practices were taken to the NoW from the Sun. Regular practice at both papers. Sean witnessed the practice.
Now looking at article by Nick Davies. An article about Sean Hoare after he died.
Stuart says his brother thought he was producing, ego being stroked, name on front page etc  - not until later in his career that he began to feel very strongly about how the practices were used and spoke to his family about it.
Pinging. Speaking about time when NYT were interviewing Sean Hoare. Intimating police complicit in this practice. New York Times Article

Used like a GPS sytem to track targets.

From Telegraph Live Blog:
10.24 Mr Hoare is now discussing the practice of "pinging" or locating people via their mobile phones with help from police officers.
When we discussed this, and we discussed this a couple of months before his death, I was saying to him, is that it? Are you done with what you've got to tell? And he said, "No, I've got to talk about this practice."
Stuart very keen to stress that Sean did not receive any payment for his interviews at NYT.

Now having questions put to him by C Patry Hoskins from the lawyers representing various papers.
Great deal of emphasis being put on his addictions (and possible resentment/vindictiveness towards the papers) and their effect on his memory, veracity.
When he gave interviews to Nick Davies and the NYT, he was not drinking nor taking drugs.

Stuart Hoare says although he can't name names, the 'Seniors' involved in what happened know what they did wrong and he's just trying to put the record straight.
Lord Leveson explaining why he mustn't name names - not an attempt at cover-up  but to learn about press culture and ethics.