28 February 2012

Leveson Inquiry: Module 2 - Press/Police - Day 2

Lord Justice Leveson
"The focus of the Inquiry is ‘the culture, practices and ethics of the press’ in the context of the latter’s relationship with the public, the police and politicians. All of these matters overlap, and my goal must be to consider what lessons, if any, may be learned from past events and what recommendations, if any, should be made for the future, in particular as regards press regulation, governance and other systems of oversight."

Module 2

"The relationship between the press and the police and the extent to which that has operated in the public interest."

Useful Links:
Leveson Inquiry Witness Statements HERE 
Leveson Inquiry Witness Lists HERE 
Video Recordings of each day's proceedings HERE
Live Feed From Leveson Inquiry Site HERE
BBC Democracy Live Feed HERE 
Telegraph Live Blog HERE
Guardian Live Blog HERE
Links to today's articles, blogs, comment and information relevant to the Leveson Inquiry:
Guardian front page - February 28th 2012
From the Telegraph - February 28th 2012

    Tuesday, February 28th 2012.
    (Link to yesterday's Hearing HERE)

    Today's Witnesses:
    Nick Davies (Guardian) 
    Jacqui Hames
    Simon Hughes MP
    Chris Jefferies

    Statements to be read:
    Magnus Boyd
    Bryan Adams
    Jane Winter

    Nick Davies

      Nick Davies on Phone-hacking and the Police - Guardian Video:

      Telegraph Live Blog HERE
      Guardian Live Blog HERE

      Guardian Live Blog:
      Davies says 90% of the work he does is off the record, including officially sanctioned interviews with police officers.
      Davies says authorised contact with the police can be helpful, but there is a danger of conflict in the relationship between reporters and press officers.
      He says press officers are employed to get an organisation's point of view across: they will make editorial judgments for you and will choose what and when to disclose; sometimes they lie.
      In his statement, Davies says in some forces the press office seeks to dominate contacts with the press; in other cases there is an attempt to make unauthorised meetings an offence.He says in the aftermath of the phone-hacking scandal there has been a backlash in which some forces – not connected with the hacking investigations – have attempted to criminalise unauthorised contact.
      Davies says that the hacking scandal would never have been uncovered if officers had
      been forbidden to speak to the press without authority, as the current
      Met leadership proposes.
      Telegraph Live Blog:
      He says there is "no allegation" of bribery or inference in investigations against the police officers who have been arrested for leaking to the Guardian.
      They are being told they face a prison sentence of 18 months for talking to a reporter without permission. Davies says there is a "backlash" against "unauthorised contact" with journalists within the police. Without such contact the phone hacking scandal would not have been revealed.
      It used to be common practice for journalists to speak to any officer they chose. Now they must go through the press office. "There are these worrying signs that in the aftermath of the hacking scandal there has been a real tightening up," he says.
      Guardian Live Blog:
      Davies says he has written about 90 stories on phone hacking and has had a lot of trouble getting information from Scotland Yard.He adds that he has backed questions up by submitting Freedom of Information Act requests, but these have been subject to delays.
      Often the material obtained is incomplete or inaccurate.
      He therefore also uses unofficial sources.
      Financial Times media correspondent Ben Fenton has just tweeted:
      Davies says journalists often work together on a difficult story because nobody wants to get shouted at by their newsdesk. Co-operation is not unusual. 
      Davies says police officers often do not know the rules for talking to the press. He says the rule should be that officers are free to talk, but they should be barred from discussing certain areas.
       Leveson points out that this might force individual officers to make judgments about what is in the public interest.
      Davies suggests they could talk to their press office if they are unsure, but the default position should be for information to be open.
      Davies says "We don't want secret police or secret hospitals. Secrecy helps abuse."
      Davies says the problem is not with individual officers having lunch or drinking with journalists; rather, the problem is what went catastrophically wrong in the police investigation of News of the World phone hacking.
      Davies says the victims of press falsehood and distortion need a fair, quick system for dealing with issues.
      Davies says Met police officers dining with News of the World executives is not the issue; the problem is whether a close relationship impeded the phone-hacking investigation.

      Jacqui Hames

      Telegraph Live Blog HERE
      Guardian Live Blog HERE

      From Guardian Live Blog:
      Hames says it was a "baptism of fire" when she first started presenting Crimewatch, which generated much press interest in her life. "Lamb to the slaughter," she suggests.
      For a complete novice it was a role that was "fraught with danger" representing the police service, and the risk of saying something that embarrassed the police or the programme.
      Telegraph Live Blog:
      11.58 She says the Met changed under Sir John Stephens in 2005. Officers would not "dream" of speaking the press before then. Under Stevens there was an "open door" policy which led to a "free for all". It led to tabloid crime correspondents being brought along on Flying Squad raids.
      Hames says it is "irresistable" for police to want to get credit for good work. But some examples - such as the Mirror splashing on a photo of a suspect being arrested after a raid on a gold facility - were "not appropriate". "Judgement by a national newspaper are just not appropriate," she says. "More thought should have gone into it." It also put "noses out of joint" on other newspapers and the Mirror did not cover the story well, she thinks.
      Guardian Live Blog:
      Hames uses the example of a raid on which a Daily Mirror reporter and photographer were invited to join the Flying Squad.Hames says it was inappropriate for media to "tag along" in this way.
      "Photographing a man who had just been arrested and hadn't been charged and put on the front page of a newspaper was inappropriate. We all live by the rule that people are innocent until proven guilty," she says.
      "By any stretch of the imagination this puts him firmly in the second category. Judgement by a national newspaper is not appropriate."
      Hames says: "You can have a relationship with journalists and retain professional integrity. No reason why if you are open and honest about that discourse it can be of benefit to everybody."Leveson says it depends on the nature of the relationship. "Police sources say ..." can be problematic, says Leveson.
      Now Hames is speaking about the Daniel Morgan murder:

      From Telegraph live blog:
      12.33 We are now hearing about surveillance of Hames by NOTW.
      Background: Daniel Morgan was murdered in 1987. No-one was charged. A fresh appeal took place in 2002. Hames' detective husband, David Cooke, made a public appeal on Crimewatch. Police intel found one of the suspects wanted to make Cooke's life "difficult". The couple got police protection.
      An email was sent to the Crimewatch production office suggesting Hames was having an affair with a police detective.
      Then two vans were spotted outside the couple's home. Cooke was being placed under surveillance.
      Police learnt the vehicles were leased to News International. Hames suffered 'great anxiety'.
      Dick Fedorcio, the Met police's head of press, confronted Rebekah Brooks. Brooks told Fedorcio it was because they suspected an affair between Hames and Cooke.
      "Scratching my head and being as kind as I possibly can I can't think of any reason why that would be a valid reason," she says. It's a "pathetic reason". They were together for 11 years and well-known as a couple - they'd been pictured together in Hello magazine. "It wouldn't have taken much to have refuted that allegation".
      The real reason, she believes, was because Cooke took on the Morgan case. She was told by officers that intel suggested there was a bid to derail the Morgan probe. Her mail was being tampered with and bids made to secure their financial information. She says there was a suspicion there was "collusion" between the NOTW and the people suspected of murdering Daniel Morgan.
      Justice For Daniel Website
      Daniel Morgan Murder: 24 Years, Five Police Enquiries But No Justice - Guardian
      Daniel Morgan Murder Trial: Senior Detective Alleges Police Corruption - Video - Telegraph
      Nick Davies - Police Confront Rebekah Brooks With Evidence of Crime
      Murder Trial Collapse Exposes News of the World Links to Police Corruption - Nick Davies, Vikram Dodd - Guardian
      12.43 Cook was 'not happy' about surveillance. He managed to force a meeting between Fedorcio and Brooks. She continued to maintain there was an affair between the couple. Hames has become visibly distressed. Leveson says her statement is sufficient and she needn't go on.
      "You are not the first person given evidence who reacts in this way. There is nothing to apologise for at all."
      Hames says: "I don't think anyone from any walk of life should have to put up with it."
      Do read para 40 of police officer Jacqui Hames's #Leveson statement on surveillance:
      "The News of the World has never supplied a coherent explanation for why we were placed under surveillance. Ill 2003, David, together with Dick Fedorcio and Colnmander Andre Baker, met Rebekah Brooks to discuss the matter.

      "She repeated the unconvincing explanation that the News of the World believed we were having an affair. She agreed to iook into Alex Marunchak’s associations with Rees and Fillery but to my knowledge nothing further was ever said about the subject, indeed Mr Marunchak was subsequently promoted.

      "I believe that the real reason for the News of the World placing us under surveillance was that suspects in the Daniel Morgan murder inquiry were using their
      association with a powerful and well-resourced newspaper to try to intimidate us and so attempt to subvert the investigation."
      Simon Hughes

      Simon Hughes speaking to Guardian about compensation claims by those affected by News International's phone hacking

      Telegraph Live Blog HERE
      Guardian Live Blog HERE

      From Guardian Live Blog:
      Hughes says he believes his phone was hacked in 2005 and 2006. He was unable to access messages, and there were occasions when messages were stored in the system and were not displayed as "new messages" and yet he had not heard them.
      Hughes says his office received phone calls from somebody at the Sun who wanted to talk about a "private matter" during the Lib Dem leadership campaign.
      Hughes agreed to meet them and the reporter shared said the Sun had "come by" information – "records of telephone calls made by me".
      From Telegraph Live Blog:
      10.16 Hughes says during the Mulcaire prosecution that he was told other politicians had been targeted at the time, but police did not inform other politicians. But he was not told other NOTW journalists were involved in hacking.
      Mulcaire had Hughes' personal details, and there was evidence of Mulcaire making calls to Hughes' phone.
      The police did not reveal Mulcaire had Hughes' private phone number and secret office 'hotline'. This was despite Hughes taking measures to keep his information private after being a witness in a murder trial.
      One of his friends was persued "serially and regularly" by the press as a result of their contact to Hughes, based on a "salacious assumption". That assumption was "not what they'd like it to have been".
      The 'Outing' of Simon Hughes by The Sun in 2006 - BBC News 
      Evening Standard Newstand Headline from 2005/6 (via @linkmachinego )

      Guardian Live Blog:
      Hughes says he was told by police that they had "incontrovertible" evidence his phone had been hacked. He asked whether other political colleagues were also the subject of interference.
      "I was told they were [but] other colleagues were not willing to go public about it.
      "Secondly I asked whether other people were involved. They said we were just proceeding against Mulcaire."
      The Guardian's Dan Sabbagh has just tweeted:

      So cops had evidence Hughes friends and associates targeted and three potential commissioners, but didn't show him for 5 years.
      Hughes says the police were guilty of an "unforgivable" and "completely unacceptable failure" by not bringing to court full extent of News of the World payments to Glenn Mulcaire.
      From Telegraph Live Blog:
      10.45 Hughes is discussing the revelation that News International paid at least £500,000 to Glenn Mulcaire. But at the 2006 trial into phone hacking the only transaction given as evidence was worth £12,300.
      "The fact that the court did not have before it information that was clearly known to the police, Andy Coulson, Rebecca Wade, is a serious failuire which meant the court was asked to do a job on incomplete evidence... I think that is a completely unacceptable failure."
      The Guardian's Lisa O'Carroll has just tweeted:

      court just shown table of payments to Mulcaire showing he got total of between £775k between £850k. details from 1999 shown

      The Guardian's Dan Sabbagh has just tweeted:
      From Guardian Live Blog:
      Hughes says: There shouldn't be people going into Downing Street by the back door. We need to have a system where it is open and transparent and we know the score."
       Jay asks Hughes about evidence of "subterranean" press influence on government policy and appointments.
      "On policy? Yes," says Hughes. "The issue that has worried parliament most is dominance of any particular organisation in the market. The suspicion has been that News International has been seeking to make its case privately as well as publicly to have as little restriction on acquiring interests as it would wish for its own commercial reasons.
      "That is an example I am clear where there has been both public and private lobbying. That is a really important issue that goes to the heart of a free and diverse media."
      Coulson directed point: (ed's comment, not Guardian's)
      Hughes also makes a broader point about government appointments.
      "Appointments of people to serve government who come from media backgrounds are in principle good things," he says.
      "We need people in government service who understand the way the media works. It seems to me they should however by carried out carefully and mindful of the risks and disadvantages and it may be that they haven't always been so."
      Jay says what everyone else is thinking: "That was a very general comment."
      Re PCC:
      Hughes says the industry should be ambitious with the successor to the Press Complaints Commission.Leveson says he has no shortage of ambition, but how to fulfil it? Journalists, unlike lawyers and doctors, can't be struck off, he says; they are just exercising their right to freedom of expression.
      The Guardian's Dan Sabbagh has tweeted:

      Chris Jefferies

        Telegraph Live Blog HERE
        Guardian Live Blog HERE

        From Guardian Live Blog:
        Jay asks Jefferies about a News at Ten report on 4 January 2011 that criticised Avon & Somerset police's investigation into the murder of Joanna Yeates.The force banned ITV News was from a press conference because of the critical tone of the report.
        Jefferies confirms that he is aware of the report.
        Telegraph Live Blog:
        He recalls telling detectives about hearing people leaving by the side gate of the flats as a supplementary statement in the days following the murder. It aroused people suspicion, and he was later arrested for her murder. They thought he might be trying to "deflect attention" from his involvement in the case.
        On Wednesday 29 December he became the suspect of media attention. A Sky News team wanted to speak to him and many reporters arrived at his house. "They had somehow got to hear about the content of that second witness statement... They had got hold of a garbled edition of it." They wanted to know if Jefferies had seen Yates. He believes the statement was leaked by the police.
        Guardian Live Blog:
        The following day, 30 December 2010, the Daily Mail reported that "Bachelor Chris Jefferies, 65, apparently told police he saw three people, ... 'I saw her leave with two others and talking in hushed tones'".
        He says he has spoken to the only people who could have known this information and they did not give it to the press.
        2.12pm: Jefferies says on 29 December 2010 it was reported that he had heard Yeates's voice on the night of her murder. He says the only way this information could have been released from his statement was through a leak from the police to the press.
        The police admitted they "inadvertently" disclosed Jefferies's name after it was mentioned by a journalist.
        BBC News - Christopher Jefferies Claims Police Leaked Information - January 2012

        From Guardian Live Blog January 2012:
        Wallace is asked about the Mirror's coverage of Christopher Jefferies, Joanna Yeates's landlord.The Mirror was fined £50,000 for contempt of court, while the Sun paid out £18,000. The Mirror is pursuing an appeal.
        Wallace confirms he had personal involvement in the story if it made the front page.
        Off-the-record briefings from Avon & Somerset police formed part of the background to the Mirror's coverage.
        Wallace apologises for the paper's coverage.
        "I wish to express my sincere regret to Mr Jefferies and particularly his family and friends who would have seen this unfold," he says. "We obviously caused his family great regret … I regard it very much as a black mark on my editing record."
        Guardian Live Blog today:
        Jefferies says his solicitor was puzzled by lines of questioning, and then discovered they came from stories in the press – for example that he had a "wild temper" and so on.
        Yeates's killer, Vincent Tabak, was arrested on 20 January 2010 and then charged on 22 January after confessing to the murder.
        However, Jefferies says his police bail was only lifted in March. He claims the police took so long because they wanted to give the impression that he had been arrested on the basis of stronger evidence than was the case.
        Jay says the police leaking information to the press is only a disciplinary matter, and is not covered by the criminal law.
        Jefferies says it should be a "far more serious offence" for police who disclose inappropriate information.From his witness statement: "It is my very firm view that it must be considered a far more serious offence than it currently is for police to disclose inappropriate information to members of the press and that to do so should be an imprisonable offence, subject to a public interest defence."