There is no evidence from Surrey Police’s records that messages on murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler’s mobile voicemail were deleted or caused to be deleted by private investigator Glenn Mulcaire or News of the World reporters. “So the story published by the Guardian on July 4 is a lie”, cry tabloids and broadsheets in unison. Well, not quite. As I have said in many a Twitter row on this issue since Saturday, if the Guardian’s story was inaccurate, then by all means, they should correct it.
Alistair Campbell blogged yesterday about his appearance and evidence to the Leveson inquiry. He had plenty to say, but I won’t repeat it – read the transcript of his evidence , and the statement he provided . What interests me especially is what he writes in that blogpost about the regime of regulation that should replace the PCC. He says
Skip to content Search site Hearings On Tuesday 24 July 2012, the gathering of formal evidence by the examination of witnesses was concluded. Further evidence was taken as read after this date and published on the website accordingly. Search for transcripts and video footage of the sessions by clicking on ‘morning hearing’ or ‘afternoon hearing’ below.
James Murdoch appears before the culture, media and sport select committee this month. Photograph: Reuters The work of the culture, media and sport select committee was once again under the spotlight when it questioned James Murdoch over the phone-hacking allegations. But while many might feel that Murdoch was in the parliamentary dock, the select committee process was also laid bare and ultimately exposed as being unfit for purpose. The rationale for establishing select committees remains laudable and many cite their introduction as one of the most important reforms in recent parliamentary history.
As this blog has previously set out , there is actually no such thing in England and Wales as a single "law of privacy". By this I mean that there is no free-standing general right of legal action to protect privacy against any and all threatened and actual intrusions. Instead, there is a bundle of civil and criminal laws relating to privacy which, when taken together, constitute the laws of privacy; just as a range of specific laws from copyright to patents constitute the laws of intellectual property. Some of these privacy laws are common law (or "judge-made"), most notably the laws of confidentiality and the misuse of private information, and such judge-made law always risks being dismissed as by "unelected judges".
New information obtained by The Independent challenges the timetable, as publicly stated by Rupert Murdoch's newspaper group, of when and how it first became aware of the extent of illegality at the now-defunct Sunday tabloid. Senior figures from NI have repeatedly stated to Parliament that the company had no significant evidence until 2008 that illegal voicemail interception went beyond the NOTW's jailed royal editor, Clive Goodman. The new evidence, which is likely to be central to the investigations into the Murdoch empire, reveals that police informed the company two years earlier that they had uncovered strong "circumstantial evidence" implicating other journalists.
There is a clear connecting thread between the events I describe in Good Times, Bad Times and the dramas that led so many years later to Rupert Murdoch 's "most humble day of my life". I was seated within a few feet of him in London on 19 July 2011, during his testimony to a select committee of MPs with his son James at his side. Not many more than a score of observers were allowed into the small room at parliament's Portcullis House, across the road from the House of Commons and Big Ben. A portcullis is a defensive latticed iron grating hung over the entrance to a fortified castle, the perfect metaphor for News International, which perpetually sees itself as beset by enemies.
Hacked Off was founded to campaign for a public inquiry into illegal information-gathering by the press and into related matters including the conduct of the police, politicians and mobile phone companies. Only a full public inquiry, we argued, could put the truth of the hacking scandal before the public and ensure that necessary lessons were learned. The summer revelations relating to Milly Dowler and others convinced the public and the political world of the need for such an inquiry and we did all we could to ensure that it was given powers to tackle all the issues effectively. Now the inquiry is established and the terms of reference are fixed, Hacked Off will campaign for a new independent system that:
Just over two months ago the Guardian published the story of Milly Dowler's phone – and how it was hacked by a private investigator working for the News of the World after the teenager's abduction and murder. It was a revelation which caused worldwide revulsion and outrage . It led to resignations, parliamentary debates, official inquiries and humble corporate apologies. A newspaper was closed and News Corp's bid to take control of BSkyB was stopped in its tracks by a unanimous vote of parliament.
The Independent has examined files seized as part of Operation Motorman in 2003 and been told by the lead investigator on that inquiry that his team were forbidden from interviewing journalists from a wide range of media organisations who hired a private detective agency to track down personal information. More than 17,000 searches were carried out, many of them in breach of data protection laws. In a signed witness statement given to this newspaper, the former police detective inspector who led Operation Motorman, accused the authorities of serious failings. "We weren't allowed to talk to journalists," said the investigator, who was working for the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).
A private investigator paid by journalists to illegally obtain information about celebrities and public figures has said he was a fall guy for the powerful newspaper groups he worked for. Steve Whittamore told Radio 4's PM programme that he had played "Oliver to the press's Fagin". He said it seemed unfair that newspaper executives and journalists who commissioned him had not been convicted of any wrongdoing. "It would appear unfair," he told the programme. "It would appear they should have stood and be counted but quite frankly I wasn't expecting any support from them.
by Brian Cathcart One of the minor oddities in all the accumulated evidence about phone hacking is a remark made at the Old Bailey on 26 January 2007, when Glenn Mulcaire was sentenced to six months in jail. Almost casually, it seemed, Mr Justice Gross observed that the private investigator had had other collaborators at the News of the World besides the royal editor, Clive Goodman.
John Whittingdale, the Conservative chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport committee, admitted he was an old friend of Mr Murdoch's close aide, Les Hinton, and had been for dinner with Ms Brooks. The Independent on Sunday has also learnt that Mr Murdoch's daughter Elisabeth, seen as the future saviour of the company, has also met Mr Whittingdale a number of times. Among her 386 "friends" on Facebook, the only MP she lists is Mr Whittingdale. He is also the only MP among 93 Facebook "friends" of Mr Hinton. It is also understood that the MP for Maldon was invited to Mr Hinton's wedding reception in 2009 but declined to accept in light of the committee's ongoing investigation into hacking.
Journalists are being tarnished by the activities of professional privacy invaders. It is time they were renamed and shamed. There is a confusion at the heart of British debates about privacy. We tend to speak of journalists, of their role, their rights, their responsibilities and very often their lack of restraint and how it should be addressed.
The House of Commons Select Committee on Culture Media and Sport yesterday heard evidence from four former “News of the World” executives, Jon Chapman, Daniel Cloke, Colin Myler and Tom Crone (pictured). The Committee also published correspondence with a range of witnesses, including a number of solicitors. Perhaps the most interesting evidence concerned the question of whether James Murdoch was aware of the so-called “For Neville” email, which showed that phone hacking was not confined to one “rogue report”. The former Legal Manager Tom Crone told MPs he was “certain” James Murdoch was told about the email. Mr Crone said he told him about it during a 15-minute meeting in 2008 that former editor, Colin Myler also attended. He said the email only emerged during the process of disclosure in the Gordon Taylor action against the “News of the World”: