4 April 2012

Leveson Inquiry: Module 2 - Press/Police - Day 21

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."

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 - Neil Wallis Live Blog (Monday's) HERE
Guardian - (Tuesday) James Murdoch Resigns from Chairmanship of BSkyB - Live Blog -  HERE
Guardian - Keir Starmer's Evidence to leveson Inquiry Live Blog - HERE

Module 2 

"The relationship between the press and the police and the extent to which that has operated in the public interest."
 Links to today's articles, information and comment relevant to the Leveson Inquiry
 Wednesday 4th April 2012
Link to Day 20 HERE

Today's Witnesses: ( 9:15 a.m. Start )
David Perry QC
Lord MacDonald ( Former DPP )
Keir Starmer ( DPP )

To be Read:
Karl Wissgott   Witness Statement in Full

David Perry QC

    @nataliepeck : David Perry QC led independent counsel advising CPS on prosecutions relating to "cash for honours" scandal.
    Mr Jay interviews David Perry QC via video link with Northern Ireland
    @nataliepeck : Perry instructed to act leading counsel in the prosecution of Goodman and Mulcaire, in 2006, with junior counsel Louis Mably. Jay looking through Perry's instructions from the CPS, inc. review of case, advice file, corres. from C Dowd and "vampire data" .
    Jay also looking at emails to Perry from Carmen Dowd, then head of the Crown Prosecution Service's Special Crime Division.
    Perry: If we used both RIPA and Computer Misuse Aact that was a confusing way to present the case - RIPA reflected conduct. 
    In summary, at this stage prosecution had info from mobile companies and potential victims, but nothing from Goodman and Mulcaire.
    In second conference, with investigating officers present, material had been obtained from Goodman/Mulcaire.
    Perry: Reference to 180 named targets in my notes. Don't believe I had been shown evidence but knew case went wider than 3 victims.
    Perry: Prosecution took a sample of victims to keep case manageable for all concerned and reflect the scope of criminality.
    Perry: Asked whether there was any evidence implicating any other individual employed by NI in the criminality we were looking at.
    Perry: I can't recall which officer gave reply but was was told there was no such evidence to suggest other individuals involved.
    Perry: Don't think anyone’s mind closed to possibility of decisions having to be taken, depending on evidence becoming available.  
    [Evidence of DS Philip Williams important here: he told Met in 2006 practice could be "quite widespread"
    Perry: Don't recall seeing the "For Neville" email.
    Perry: When looked at "For Neville" later, it was in isolation.
    Perry: Advised at the time focus should be on 12,300 rather than any greater sum Mulcaire received from continuing NI retainer.
    Jay asks if police officers were trying to argue for more substantial sum.
    [One assumes #Leveson pulling faces at inquiry counsel over Perry explaining points of law.]
    Perry: Defendent's lawyers arguing Mulcaire had conducted legitimate assignments for NI and retainer paid for those activities.
    LJ Leveson questions David Perry QC as to whether he ever wondered if there was much more to what was going on at the time 
    @skymarkwhite : Perry going over the decision making process with the CPS over the prosecution case against Mulcaire and Goodman. Perry aware the original phone hacking case was wider than the 3 victims on the indictment - notes indicated 180 possible targets. Perry says no evidence at time of original phone hacking prosecution to suggest it was wider than just Mulcaire/Goodman
    Perry says he doesn't recall seeing the infamous "for Neville" email at time of original prosecution 

    @IndexLeveson : Perry and Jay going through details of the decision making that led to the prosecution of Goodman and Mulcaire in 2006
    @rosschawkins : Ref in Goodman / Mulcaire prosecutors' notes to 180 victims, but prosecutor wasn't shown evidence relating to them. Perry explaining why they'd pick sample of victims for practical purposes in prosecuting, but need to reflect scale of criminality. #leveson suggests there was a far greater degree of criminality in Goodman / Mulcaire case than emerged in prosecution
    Jay quotes Mulcaire sentencing judge saying Mulcaire dealt with News Int staff other than Goodman

    @lisaocarroll : Perry: we were informed by police there was no evidence to show others at news of the world were involved Perry advice was to focus on cash payments of £12,300. (inquiry heard evidence previously Mulcaire was on £100,000 plus a year)#leveson inquiry shown note which says prosecution did not have evidence there were any other payments made to Mulcaire

    @nataliepeck : Jay asks about 2009 note. Perry: Did my best to assist in CPS attempt to recreate the state of mind that existed in 2006/2007. Perry: Drafted advice overnight based on doc from DCS Williams. If gives impression we took narrow view of the law, is incorrect. Perry 2010 advice reflects wider view would have been taken in relation to points 16-20 (not conspiracy charges). 
    Perry QC asked by Jay whether he thought the police did a good job
    @nataliepeck : Perry says he was not aware junior Met officers were concerned that some evidence was not being looked at. Perry: Found everyone working on the case highly skilled, competent and professional.

    Lord Ken MacDonald

      @nataliepeck :  As DPP, L Macdonald set up Organised Crime Division, Counter Terrorism Division, Special Crime Division+ Fraud Prosecution Service.  Jay moves straight to Goodman/Mulcaire prosecution. Macdonald: Terrorism plots overriding CPS in 2006, Peter Clarke had an enormous workload.
      Jay revisiting the particulars of the 2006/7 prosecution.
      Macdonald: Carmen would have updated me on the case as it went on.
      Macdonald: Seen material showing concern in counter terrorism dep about resources hacking investigation might consume. 
      Macdonald: Key point in April 2006 discussions was proving interception of messages took place before recipient had listened. 
      Macdonald: CPS resources had no impact on approach to case, would have prosecuted further offenders as appropriate.
      Macdonald: Visited by Nick Davies in July 2009 over 2006/7 investigation. Had limited knowledge so could not really help.
      Macdonald: I introduced a deliberate policy of deeper and broader engagement with the media, to increase public accountability. 
      Macdonald: I would meet journalists or editors for lunch or dinner to discuss our work off the record.
      Jay points out Macdonald met with almost all newspaper eds, apart from Paul Dacre.
      Macdonald: Whistle-blowing is from time-to-time in the public interest and should not face further legal impediment.   

      @rosschawkins : Former DPP Lord MacDonald says any criminal case involving Royal family is brought to attention of DPP and Attorney General.
      Then DPP MacDonald was warned in May 06 police had evidence about possible hacking of high profile individuals inc politicians & celebs. 
      CPS were aware of risk Goodman / Mulcaire lawyers might try to embarrass them out of prosecution by trying to make Princes give evidence.

      @lisaocarroll : #leveson news int told cps relevant info about financial relationship between Mulcaire and goodman would be provided voluntarily
      @IndexLeveson : Macdonald says he introduced deliberate policy of deeper, broader engagement w/ media. Macdonald: CPS is not the sort of organisation that is going to please everyone, is not in the business to do so. Macdonald says only editor he didn't meet was Paul Dacre.
      Macdonald says contact between public bodies & journalists is strongly in the public interest, adds there are obviously boundaries
      Macdonald: whistleblowing is, in my view, from time to time in the public interest & shouldn't face further legal impediment

      Keir Starmer

      Guardian - Keir Starmer's Evidence to Leveson Inquiry Live Blog - HERE
        @nataliepeck : Keir Starmer, Director of Public Prosecution, back at #Leveson today. Gave inquiry short update in Feb on DPA + statutory defences. Starmer: Sam Clements replaced Dowd because he was best placed to deal with the matter.Starmer: Concerned by Guardian reporting in July 2009 and wanted to make sure CPS had made appropriate decisions.
         Starmer: Didn't want to answer questions until I at least had an appreciation myself of what had happened in 2006/7.
        Starmer: We had limited documentation and relied on MPS records of approach taken in original investigation. Starmer: I took the Yates assessment at face value. 
        Starmer: I needed to reconstruct the picture from the CPS point of view as quickly as possible.
        Jay emphasises the CPS reliance on what the Met were saying about original investigation. 
        Starmer: Home Sec wanted CPS response ASAP. Fair to say that Simon Clements was under some pressure.
        Starmer reiterates his focus was suggestion that CPS had deliberately not prescuted an executive from the News of the World.
        Starmer: Press statement went out on 16 July 2009, saying I was satisfied CPS had made the right decisions in 2006.
        @skymarkwhite :
        DPP Keir Starmer now giving evidence. This is his 2nd time before #Leveson His witness statement runs to more than 60pages *gulp*
        Starmer talking about review CPS carried out into original #phonehacking investigation after Guardian exclusive in July 2009

        @IndexLeveson : Starmer: I needed to reconstruct the picture from the CPS point of view as quickly as possible. 
        @rosschawkins : DPP Keir Starmer talking about response to Guardian 2009 article, reconstructing picture of CPS actions in 06. Starmer says CPS only had 40 extracts from Mulcaire diary - ( a tiny fraction of the whole ) 
        Keir Starmer speaking about John Yates' curtailment of hacking investigation
        @nataliepeck : Back at #Leveson with DPP Keir Starmer. Jay asks about documents shown to CMSSC by Nick Davies.   Starmer: My issue was whether investigation never looked at other defendants because police were unsure about proving an offence. Starmer: Asked police to send me "For Neville" email. Taken at face value, suggested author and recipient were possible suspects. 
        #Leveson suggests email could be seen as a "flag" saying "look here" or "dig more".
        Starmer: I thought "for Neville" email warranted further investigation but had "degree of pushback" from John Yates.
        @rosschawkins : Starmer : there was a degree of push back (from Yates) to my suggestion there shd be more investigation of For Neville email
        Keir Starmer explaining why he'd thought the 'for Neville' email was important
        Guardian Live Blog:
        Starmer says he spoke to David Perry QC, leading counsel in the prosecution of Mulcaire and Goodman, and came to the conclusion that there should be more investigation of the "for Neville" email.
         Starmer says he issued a press statement on 17 July 2009 saying the CPS was considering the "for Neville" email and would be meeting the Met's John Yates about this.
        He says when he spoke to Yates "there was a degree of pushback against my suggestion" but the two later agreed to meet on the following Monday.
        Starmer and Yates met to discuss the "for Neville" email.
        Starmer said that Perry couldn't remember having seen the email and asked if the police had considered it in 2006.
        Jay taking Starmer through notes made at meeting with Yates. Yates still asserting not new material.
          Starmer: I thought the next best option was to go to David Perry for advice and Williams prepared background note.

        Guardian Live Blog:
        Starmer, Yates, DCI Philip Williams and others met to discuss the "for Neville" email.
        Starmer said that Perry couldn't remember having seen the email and asked if the police had considered it in 2006
        LJ Leveson asking Keir Starmer about his acceptance of Perry QC's advice about evidence
        Guardian Live Blog:
        At the meeting, Starmer says that he told Williams that he had understood that Perry had told a meeting on 21 August 2006 that there was no evidence of more journalists being involved in phone hacking.
        However, Starmer asked if the evidence might have suggested that the editor and other journalists had been involved.
        Starmer says he was told that emails from 2005 would have been difficult to investigate.
        Yates again stressed that the "for Neville" email was not new material and had already been seen by counsel.
        Starmer says he was "not altogether comfortable" with the impression he was being given by the meeting and wanted to ask Perry about what he had said in 2006.
        Starmer says he asked Perry to get back to him swiftly about specific questions.
        Perry gave him views about the law relating to interception (based on Williams's briefing) "for Neville" email and Starmer accepted his advice.
        Starmer says an MP wrote him a letter asking to reopen the phone-hacking case but it was not in the CPS's power to do so.
        He stresses that the reason the phone-hacking prosecutions did not go any further was not because of CPS advice.
        Starmer says he was told by Yates in July 2009 "Mr Starmer, you needn't concern yourself", but by later that year he had become concerned.
        @nataliepeck :
        Starmer: I'd asked Perry specific questions about "for Neville" and I accepted his response.
        Starmer: First instinct was email needed investigation but that wasn't an option, second option was to go to Perry.
        Starmer: Following CMS report, I felt I had exhausted the exercise with Perry – not sure what else as DPP I could do.
        Jay is now questioning Starmer on 2010, after NYT piece on hacking was published.
        Starmer: Decision to interview Sean Hoare under caution was operation decision by police. Do not know the basis.
        @IndexLeveson :
        Starmer says his first instinct was "flag" rather than smoking gun, hence suggesting further investigation of email
        Starmer adds investigation not an option, second option was to go to Perry

         @rosschawkins : Starmer : Yates said Gdn story showed nothing new "in confident terms"; KS became increasingly concerned about that confidence
        Mr Jay chooses his words carefully!
        @nataliepeck :
        Starmer: Don't doubt police thought they might have to prove that a message had been intercepted before it was listened to.
        Starmer: Clements note "DPP No one wants to reopen the investigation" from 2010 meeting. I don't recall what I said.
        Starmer statement referred to at #Leveson:
        Starmer: Info from Sienna Miller civil action cast some doubt on what I'd understood to be position.
        Starmer: Nothing less that a root and brach review of all the material CPS and police had is going to satisfy me about this case.
        Starmer: Indicated to (acting commissioner) Godwin we really had to roll our sleeves up and look at everything.

        @rosschawkins :
        Starmer recalls in Jan 2011 he was mindful that he was likely to be called before select committee, needed more assurance
        Keir Starmer - flagging a little?
        @lisaocarroll :
        Starmer memo on hacking early 2011: won't go away, civil litigation leading to disclosure: hard to avoid questions
        Starmer: 2011 notes of meeting - Yates says "Puts both organisations in difficult position. What did we do in 2009?"
        Starmer: Clear in mind I was going to settle for nothing less than full review of material unless somebody blocked me access to it.
        No reference should be made to part of memo document accidentally shown to court and annex.
        Starmer: CPS reveiw by Alison Levitt QC on hold and won't be published until charges decided.
        Starmer: I have taken the same approach as Macdonald to CPS.
        @rosschawkins :
        Starmer is having to remind Jay about questions Jay has lost. Awkward.
        Starmer : rarely do cases involving journalists come to us for consideration
        The inquiry will resume with evidence on week commencing April 23.
        That's it for module 2, althought catch-up evidence will be heard before start of mod 3.

        LJ Leveson wishes all a good Easter break