27 February 2012

The Leveson Inquiry - Module 2 : Police/Press - Day 1

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 Witness list for this week (6th - 9th February) to be found 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:
  • From Guardian Live Blog:
10:15 a.m. Dan Sabbagh has just tweeted:
  • From Guardian Live Blog:
10:45 a.m. Lisa O'Carroll has just tweeted from the high court:
  • From Telegraph Live Blog:
10.56 Information appears to have been given to Rebekah Wade, now Brooks, by someone involved with the police, Mr Jay says, referring to an email from Tom Crone to Andy Coulson. It also showed Brooks knew police had found evidence of more than £1 million paid to Mulcaire from News International.
The email also appeared to indicate police asked Brooks whether she "wanted to take it further", relating to the investigation.
  • From Guardian Live Blog:
11:20 a.m. Here's a rough transcript of that critical email, written by Tom Crone to Andy Coulson on 15 September 2006, with the subject "strictly private and confidential". It is based on a briefing that Crone, the chief lawyer of the News of the World was told by Rebekah Brooks, who was then editor of the Sun. We don't yet have a transcript, but Robert Jay QC has read it out. Not every aspect of this is clear, but the overall flavour is:
"Andy, here's Rebekah told me about info relayed to her by cops.
1. They are confident they have Clive and [Mulcaire] bang to rights on the palace interception.
2. …accesses to voicemails.From these they have a list of 100-110 victims.
3. The only payment records they found were from News International … the News of the World retainer and other invoices. They said that over the period they looked at (going way back) there seemed to be over £1m of payments.
4. The recordings and notes .. replaced by the next one who becomes flavour of the week/month.
5. They are visiting the bigger victims, ie where there are lots of intercepts.
6. Their purpose is to insure that when Glenn Mulcaire comes up in court the full case against him is there for the court to see (rather than just the present palace charges).
7. All they are asking victims is "did you give anyone permission to access your voicemail?" and if not "do you wish to make a formal complaint?"...
8. They are confident that ... they can then charge Glenn Mulcaire in relation to those victims. They are keen that the charges should demonstrate the scale of Glenn Mulcaire's activities so they would feature victims from different areas of public life, politics, showbiz, etc
"In terms of News of the World (a) they suggested ...News of the World journalists directly accessing the voicemails (this is what did for Clive). (b) but they have got hold of News of the World back numbers to 2004 and are trying to ... Goodman accesses to specific stories. (c) in one case they seemed to have a phrase from a News of the World story which is identical to the tape or note of Glenn Mulcaire's access. (d) they have no recordings of News of the World people speaking to Glenn Mulcaire or accessing voicemails. (e) they do have Glenn Mulcaire's phone records which show sequences of contacts with News of the World before and after accesses. Obviously they don't have the content of the calls so this is at best circumstantial."
And point 10: "They are going to contact RW [we think that must be Rebekah Wade] today to see if she wishes to take it further."
  • Labour MP Tom Watson has just tweeted:
  •  Dan Sabbagh has just tweeted:
tom_watson tom_watson I have written to the HMRC asking for an investigation into cash payments by the Sun. Will publish letter on blog later today. #Leveson 

 From Telegraph Live Blog:
11.37 Neil Garnham QC, for the Met, is now making a statement to the hearing. He says phone-hacking was not a matter of "life or limb".
There were, at the time of the original phone hacking investigation, 72 live terrorist plots under investigation...The inquiry should have at the forefront of its mind the obligations on the then commissioners to prioritise their limited resources in a way that best protected the people of London. The judgement that had to be made here was perfectly obvious; it was only five months before the phone hacking investigation began that London had been the subject of the terror attacks of 7/7.
  • From Guardian Live Blog:
Veteran media commentator Ray Snoddy has just tweeted:
  • From Guardian Live Blog:
Rupert Murdoch. Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images
Rupert Murdoch has just issued the following statement about testimony given at the Leveson inquiry:
As I've made very clear, we have vowed to do everything we can to get to the bottom of prior wrongdoings in order to set us on the right path for the future. That process is well underway. The practices Sue Akers described at the Leveson inquiry are ones of the past, and no longer exist at the Sun. We have already emerged a stronger company.
  • gordonrayner Gordon Rayner Uncensored version of papers should include names of News of the World execs who ordered #hacking
  • gordonrayner Gordon Rayner Mr Justice Vos agrees to release largely unredacted version of #hacking court papers released last week (more follows) 
  • gordonrayner Gordon Rayner Unredacted version of court papers now expected to be made available tomorrow #hacking

    • Tweet from Ian Katz:
    Worth re-reading these denials in light of nws that Coulson + Brooks were warned in 2006
    • Labour MP Tom Watson has just tweeted:
    • From Rupert Murdoch's Twitter feed:
    rupertmurdoch Rupert Murdoch Amazing! The Sun confirmed sale of 3.260,000 copies yesterday. Thanks all readers and advertisers. Sorry if sold out - more next time. 
        Monday February 27th 2012.
        (Leveson Inquiry Module 1, Day 40 can be found HERE)

        Today's Witnesses:
        DAC Sue Akers (MPS)
        Brian Paddick
        Sir John Prescott

        DAC Sue Akers (MPS)

          2nd Witness Statement in Full
          Previous Witness Statement, Correction to Evidence Given

          Guardian Live Blog HERE
          Telegraph Live Blog HERE

          From Guardian Live Blog:
          Akers says there was "a culture at the Sun of illegal payments".
          11.18am: Akers says payments were made not only to police officers but wide range of public officials – military, health, government, prisons and others. She suggests payments being made to officials in all areas of public life – there was a "network of corrupted officials", not in contact with each other, but journalists had network upon whom which to call.
          Payments to sources were openly referred to at the Sun, not named but the category of public official was named. Payments emphasised need for care and cash payments.There was also "trade craft" hiding payments to sources by making them to a friend or relative of the source. It was authorised at "very senior level" within the newspaper.

          Brian Paddick

          Witness Statement in Full

          Guardian Live Blog HERE
          Telegraph Live Blog HERE

          From Guardian Live Blog:
          Paddick says while he was at the Met he had lunch with staff from the Guardian and the Daily Mirror – although he describes the latter as "more of an audience with Piers Morgan".
          Paddick says he also has a working relationship with a (now former) Financial Times journalist Jimmy Burns.
          "We were on the same page in wanting reform of the police, better handling of race relations and that sort of thing," says Paddick. "We had an immediate rapport and had a series of lunches that he paid for."

          Paddick says former Met police commissioner Sir John Stevens had a strong relationship with the press and received very little criticism, but his successor, Sir Ian Blair, tried to change the force's culture and faced constant attacks.
          From Telegraph Live Blog:
          12.25 Mr Paddick explains he developed a relationship with crime reporter Jimmy Burns, of the Financial Times. The pair met over the Macpherson report in the wake of the killing of Stephen Lawrence.
          It became quite apparent that Mr Burns and I were on the same page in terms of wanting reform of the police, getting the police to be better at handling race relations. We subsequently had a series of lunches that he paid for where we discussed the possibility of moving things forward in terms of a culture change within the police.
          He goes on to discuss a lunch with the Daily Mirror, which was "more like an audience with Piers Morgan".

          From Guardian Live Blog:
          More from Paddick's witness statement concerning the relationship of other newspapers with the Met:
          Although most victims were not informed, in October 2006 the MPS specifically emailed John Wellington, managing editor at the Mail on Sunday, to let him know that names of a number of his journalists had been discovered in Mulcaire's documents. Once again, the relationship between the Met and certain tabloids was being prioritised over the rights of other victims.
          The inquiry has now resumed and Brian Paddick is being asked about phone hacking. He was a police commander at the time and says the inquiry was handled by the Met's anti-terrorism and royal protection unit, SO13.
          Paddick was told by police investigators there was "no evidence of illegal interception or monitoring of his phone".But his name did appear in Mulcaire's documents, says Jay.
          Paddick says the evidence was that he was one of Mulcaire's "projects". "Reasonable there was a prima facie case I was a target for phone hacking," Paddick tells the inquiry.
          Paddick says his mobile phone number was in Mulcaire's notebook, which he says is enough to warrant further investigation.
          Paddick says one of the methods Mulcaire used was persuading the telecoms company to reset mobile the pin number to default by phoning their helpdesk.
          From Telegraph Live Blog:
          14.28 Meanwhile, Mr Paddick is telling the inquiry that Mulcaire appeared to have possession of the new identities of people under the witness protection programme such as the killers of James Bulger.
          14.45 Coming to the end of his evidence, Mr Paddick says:

          There are thousands of honest decent police officers who like me are horrified by the sort of conduct that Sue Akers was talking about this morning..a lot of junior officers feel very let down by their senior officers. I want and they want a MPS that they can be proud of and I think that’s what the public want as well.
          From Telegraph Live Blog:
          14.52 Mr Paddick rejects the claim that public officials can legitimately be paid for information for public interest stories. He says it is an "acid test" of public interest if an official is willing to risk their job without pay to divulge information.
          14.56 Mr Garnham will now ask Mr Paddick some questions before Lord Prescott is sworn in. He is asked about his lack of confidence in the integrity of the investigation. Mr Paddick says he has concerns over the independence of the Independent Police Complaints Commission and he says he feels it should be led by an officer from outside of the Met.
          From Guardian Live Blog:
          Garnham asks Paddick when is it acceptable for a police officer to accept a drink – a cup of coffee – from a journalist.
          "Having coffee in a formal meeting it doesn't really matter who pays for it," he replies. "When it comes to wining and dining it puts people under obligations."

          Sir John Prescott

          Full Witness Statement 

          Guardian Live Blog HERE
          Telegraph Live Blog HERE 

          From Telegraph Live Blog:
          15.25 Lord Prescott is being asked about allegations he was a victim of phone hacking. He says he wrote to the Met in 2009 and was quickly assured there was no evidence his phone had been tapped. It took the Met several weeks to formally tell him this in writing. 
          15.27 Lord Prescott did not use the voicemail facility on his own phone because it "means you’ve got to reply to them if they leave you a message." Instead, his messages were intercepted through his chief of staff, Joan Hammell
          From Guardian Live Blog:
          Prescott says both the police and the CPS told him if he accessed a message first then if someone else hacked it, it wasn't illegal. He says this was "silly nonsense".
          From Telegraph Live Blog:
          15.40 There were references to Lord Prescott's name in Mulcaire's notes along with details of payments for £250, the inquiry hears. He says:
          I did suspect at first they meant my son because the Murdoch press and the Times had done a number of stories on him but I’ve since been assured not.
          Guardian Live Blog:
          Prescott says the police were "hiding things, not telling me the truth"."Misleading statements [from police] and continuing failure to investigate ... left me deeply dissatisified" and led him to take legal action, says Prescott in his written statement.
          Telegraph Live Blog:
          15.58 Lord Prescott says he knew the categories of potential victims and knew he fit into them but his name did not appear.
          He said it left him wondering "what the hell have they got against me?"
          "How much evidence do you want to have unless you don't want to look for it?" he adds.
          16.14 Lord Prescott is asked whether the Labour government was too close to the press. He says:
          Murdoch operated with all governments. I'm not the best person to talk about relationships with the press because mine has never been good. I’ll give you my opinion. With regards to the Murdoch press, I always thought it was wrong that politicians at the highest level were too close to Murdoch…There is always a price. It’s not exactly corruption and I’m not accusing them of that...I thought it gave a corrupting influence that they had too much influence and power.
           Prescott talks about the Barclay brothers, owners of the Daily Telegraph: "Those brothers changed it from the Telegraph to Daily Mail 2. Politicians look at this and think 'we are not going to get a fair crack.'"
          Prescott says he "always thought it was wrong, politicians at the highest level were just too close to Murdoch."He says newspapers always exact a price.
          There is always a price. It is not exactly corruption, they do have interests, power, and in the Murdoch press it is particularly organissed to achieve that. I never went to a social do I thought you paid too much of a price for it. All of the leaders of the parties and I include Cameron they believe you have to have access to editors as though they act independently [of Murdoch]. And then the paper [the Sun] says we won it.
          Telegraph Live Blog:
          16.27 After an impassioned discussion about the political influence of the press, Lord Justice Leveson asks Lord Prescott for the solution. He replies:
          I don’t want to see a statutory control of the press but what we need is a regulatory framework. I do believe it’s a judge who should make that judgement...You have to find a balance that people think is fair. Why should I have to decide that the only way I can get the truth out is to sue the press. What’s made the difference is no-win no-cost. I just think if you can’t get redress, you’ve got to have a sanction.