The purpose of this site is for information and a record of Gerry McCann's Blog Archives. As most people will appreciate GM deleted all past blogs from the official website. Hopefully this Archive will be helpful to anyone who is interested in Justice for Madeleine Beth McCann. Many Thanks, Pamalam

Note: This site does not belong to the McCanns. It belongs to Pamalam. If you wish to contact the McCanns directly, please use the contact/email details campaign@findmadeleine.com    

Leveson Inquiry: Crone, Myler and Sanderson*

MCCANN FILES HOME BACK TO GERRY MCCANNS BLOGS HOME PAGE PHOTOGRAPHS
NEWS REPORTS INDEX MCCANN PJ FILES NEWS MAY 2007
 

Tom Crone, Colin Myler and Daniel Sanderson

Evidence given to the Leveson Inquiry by News International executives Tom Crone and Colin Myler, and by Daniel Sanderson, the former News of the World reporter who wrote an article based on Kate McCann's diaries

Witness List: Week Commencing 12 December 2011

Witness List: Week Commencing 12 December 2011

Tom Crone

Leveson Inquiry: live, 14 December 2011
Leveson Inquiry: live The Telegraph

By Matthew Holehouse
14 December 2011

- Extract -

11.08 Crone said yesterday his responsibility was legality, not ethics. Who was the "guardian of ethics" at News International, if not you?

Crone says that was the chief executive - James Murdoch.

Jay [Robert Jay QC] asks if Crone was involved in the publication of Kate McCann's diaries against her wishes. Crone says he was the lawyer that weekend, and "played some part in clearing it up afterwards".

Did he believe there to be a privacy issue? Crone says he believed publication had been approved by the McCann's representatives via email to the head of the newsdesk.

Jay says he has seen documents that "broadly support" that.

----------------------

Leveson Inquiry: live Guardian News Blog

By Lisa O'Carroll and Josh Halliday
14 December 2011

- Extract -

11.12am:
Crone is now being asked about his involvement in the publication of Kate MCann's diary.

"I was the lawyer on the News of the World that weekend and I played some part in clearing it up afterwards," he says.

He adds that it was his understanding that the McCanns had given the head of news permission to publish.

--------------------

NOTW ex-legal manager claims James Murdoch had 'direct' evidence phone hacking extended beyond one journalist The Independent

By Sam Marsden
Wednesday December 14 2011

- Extract -

Mr Crone also said he understood a representative of Madeleine McCann's family gave the News of the World permission to publish the personal diary of the missing girl's mother.

Kate McCann told the inquiry last month that she felt "violated" and like "climbing into a hole and not coming out" when the intensely private journal appeared in the paper on September 14, 2008.

Mr Crone said today: "My understanding was that the representative of the McCanns had given the OK, the permission to the head of the newsdesk at the News of the World, to run the diaries or extracts from the diaries. I think he had emails to support that."

Mr Jay said: "I have seen some documents which on one interpretation of them broadly support what you are saying."

Leveson Inquiry: Transcript of Tom Crone's evidence, 14 December 2011
Leveson Inquiry: Transcript of Tom Crone's evidence Leveson Inquiry

Wednesday 14 December 2011

- Extract -

19   Q.  Was not told to him, okay.  I'm going to come back to

20       the issue of culture more widely at the end, but can

21       I just pick up some discrete points?  First of all, did

22       you have any involvement in the publication of the

23       doctored Kate McCann diary, which I think was --

24       certainly in September 2008, the exact date has

25       temporarily eluded me.


                                            45


1   A.  I was the lawyer on the News of the World that weekend

2       and I played some part in clearing it up afterwards.

3       The legal problem afterwards.

4   Q.  But can we look at the possible legal or privacy problem

5       before?  Did you detect there to be a privacy issue?

6   A.  My understanding was that the representative of the

7       McCanns had given the okay, the permission, to the head

8       of the news desk at the News of the World to run the

9       diaries.  Or extracts from the diaries.

10   Q.  Yes.

11   A.  I think he had emails to support that.

12   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  Oh?

13   MR JAY:  I've seen some documents which on one

14       interpretation of them broadly support what you're

15       saying, but I just want to understand what your position

16       is.

Colin Myler

Leveson Inquiry: Colin Myler, 14 December 2011
Leveson Inquiry: Colin Myler

Leveson Inquiry: live, 14 December 2011
Leveson Inquiry: live The Telegraph

By Matthew Holehouse
14 December 2011

- Extract -

16.14
Myler disputes that he "berated" Gerry McCann over the family's interview with Hello Magazine, instead of News of the World. Instead, he "merely pointed out to him" that Hello's circulation was relatively small at 300,000 against his millions. He says:
 
I had no cause at any stage to berate or be irate at Gerry. The relationship was such that he would call and thank the NOTW for what we were doing, and it was a relationship that I valued

Kate McCann

Colin Myler said he believed Kate McCann was happy for her diaries to be printed by the News of the World. She was not.

16.19 Myler
is asked about how Kate McCann's diary appeared in the paper.

Ian Edmondson
said in an email to Myler that the source was a female Portuguese journalist. Their source was the Portuguese police, who translated the diary. News of the World paid 3000 euros for it, with a final payment of 20,000 euros for exclusive publication.

Edmondson was at that time in daily contact with Clarence Mitchell, the family's spokesman. Myler said:
 
Ian Edmondson had assured me on more than one occasion Clarence was aware of what we were intending to do and said 'Good'... I think it was clear that Mr Edmondson had spelt out what he was doing

Myler says he made his views clear in the Friday news conference "by using the phrase 'I do not want Kate to come out of church on Sunday morning and find the diaries were there without her knowledge'... I wouldn't have published if I thought she hadn't been made aware of it."

16.31 "
I was given an absolute categoric assurance Clarence knew what we were doing," Myler says. There is a 'transcript' of conversations between Edmondson and Mitchell. Why then did he apologise?

"Because I felt very bad she didn't know. Why would I do something as personal as that, no matter how much behind a shield of nailing the lies in the Portugese press", he says.

Leveson says the transcript between Edmondson and Mitchell discussing the diary is highly ambiguous.

Myler refuses to say what they paid for the diary in the end. They made a donation to the family's fund and printed an apology about the 'misplaced understanding'.

Leveson Inquiry: Transcript of Colin Myler's evidence, 14 December 2011
Leveson Inquiry: Transcript of Colin Myler's evidence Leveson Inquiry

Wednesday 14 December 2011

- Extract -

22   Q.  Fair enough.  I just wanted to test that one with you

23       and others will consider where we are in the public

24       interest.

25           Can I ask you next, please, about your third


                                            76


1       statement, before coming on to other matters.  This is

2       dealing with the McCann diaries.

3   A.  Yes.

4   Q.  Amongst other matters.

5           You make it clear in paragraphs 5 and 6 of the

6       statement, 51874, Mr Myler --

7   A.  Yes, I have it.

8   Q.  Do you have it to hand?  The newspaper was very

9       supportive of the McCanns, and you wouldn't adopt the

10       stance that other national newspapers had taken by

11       printing malicious stories which had no foundation and

12       emanated largely from the Portuguese press.  So that was

13       your position.

14   A.  Yes.

15   Q.  You had a very successful appeal, which raised

16       £1.5 million in 48 hours.  In paragraph 7 you say that

17       you spoke to Dr Gerry McCann on a frequent basis about

18       developments in the case, "or more often than not just

19       to catch up".  About how often did you speak to him?

20   A.  Every maybe -- in the early stages, probably a little

21       bit more regularly, but weeks, perhaps, depending on

22       what was happening, what was developing, what we were

23       aware of or what we were working on.  But as

24       I explained, the news desk in particular were in much

25       more regular contact with their spokesman.


                                            77


1   Q.  This is Mr Ian Edmondson on the one hand who was the

2       news editor?

3   A.  Yes.

4   Q.  And the spokesman was Mr Clarence Mitchell, who we heard

5       about on the other?

6   A.  Yes.  And before that, I think it was

7       Justine McGuinness, yes.

8   Q.  Did you have any direct dealings with Mr Mitchell?

9   A.  Not really, no.

10   Q.  Not really or at all?

11   A.  No, hardly at all.

12   Q.  There was evidence from the McCanns about three weeks

13       ago now that following something published in Hello

14       magazine, there was an irate phone call between you and

15       him.  Is that right, Mr Myler?

16   A.  I was surprised to hear that from Gerry.  I think he

17       actually said that I berated him.  I don't recall that.

18       I've not really got a reputation for berating people,

19       and I certainly wouldn't have any cause to berate Gerry

20       after what -- and what they were going through.

21       I pointed out to him simply that the surprise of doing

22       something with Hello magazine with a circulation of,

23       I don't know, I'm guessing at that time maybe 300,000,

24       against a circulation of the News of the World which was

25       over 3 million, and as I'd said --


                                            78


1           There's only one mistake in this statement,

2       actually.  It says we initiated discussions with

3       Vodafone about a European amber alert system.  In fact,

4       they came to us through somebody I knew at Vodafone who

5       had been thinking about this, and proposed that we could

6       try to establish with Vodafone who would waive all

7       frees, it would be free, a system that other

8       telecommunications firms would join in, which in many

9       cases could be of huge importance in the case of

10       somebody going missing.  So an alert would flash up on

11       your cellphones, wherever you were, giving basic details

12       of boy, girl, size, age, what they were wearing.

13           I know that Gerry and Kate were very interested in

14       the scheme that was very successful in America and

15       I think they'd been over to America to explore how it

16       worked and how they could bring it back to Europe.  It

17       was one of the things that they were working on.

18   Q.  That's fair enough, Mr Myler, but the context of the

19       Hello magazine evidence was Dr McCann, in the

20       transcript:

21           "I think it would be fair to say that Mr Myler was

22       irate when he learned of the publication which happened

23       and was berating us for not doing an interview with the

24       News of the World."

25           So it's accepting the berating from you, but he was


                                            79


1       irate.  Maybe it's a matter of perception.

2   A.  He was irate?

3   Q.  Mm.

4   A.  No, I don't think it -- Gerry wasn't irate.

5   Q.  Sorry, it was you.

6   A.  I was irate, yes.

7   Q.  And berating them.

8   A.  I had no cause at all at any stage to berate or be irate

9       with Gerry.  Indeed, the relationship was such that he

10       would call and thank me for what the News of the World

11       had been doing.  It was a relationship that I valued.

12   Q.  Okay.

13   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  So one understands, you can get in

14       touch with him whenever you want, if you want to, if you

15       think it's important?

16   A.  To a point.  I mean I was very aware that they did enjoy

17       and protect their own privacy and space, as it were.

18       They had a lot going on and they were dealing with a lot

19       of issues, and dealing with a lot of -- I mean, the

20       pressure was pretty intense on them.

21   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  Oh, I'm sure.  I didn't quite mean

22       that.  I really meant that if you had something that was

23       significant and important, particularly if you felt it

24       might impact on that privacy --

25   A.  Yes, I --


                                            80


1   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  -- you were able to pick up the

2       phone --

3   A.  I know where you're heading, yes, of course, yes.

4       I know where you're going, sir, with respect.  And

5       I mean respect, as opposed to what you said the other

6       day to Mr Wallis.

7   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  I'm a very open person, Mr --

8   A.  I like to think I am, too.

9   MR JAY:  Mr Myler, did you have his mobile phone number?

10   A.  I think I did, yes.  The point I'm making, Mr Jay, is

11       that I didn't abuse that.  I was aware of what they were

12       dealing with, and unless there was a reason specifically

13       to discuss, I didn't want to waste their time.

14   Q.  Right.  You tell us that the "Kate's diary in her own

15       words" story was published in the News of the World on

16       14 September 2008 and you also tell us it was not

17       a story which was produced in a matter of days.

18   A.  That was -- again, might I just say that I only received

19       from Linklaters yesterday in the bundles, six arrived

20       yesterday morning, so I only saw for the first time

21       records from other people that were requested, because

22       I've not had access.

23   Q.  I think it's --

24   A.  And the statement to you was obviously made before that,

25       so it was from recollection.


                                            81


1   Q.  I think it's important to try and understand what

2       material, documentary material, you had available to you

3       in September 2008, rather than material which you've

4       only seen subsequently, since only the former would have

5       informed your thinking at the time, wouldn't it?

6   A.  Yes, but it's -- we're now 2011.  It's remembering.

7   Q.  Indeed.  You tell us in your witness statement that the

8       story was presented to you by Mr Edmondson, is that

9       correct?

10   A.  It is.

11   Q.  And he made it clear to you that he had a copy of the

12       diary.  Did he let you know or tell you from where he

13       had obtained it?

14   A.  I can't recall the conversation specifically, but I'm

15       sure he would have done.

16   Q.  Well, we can be more precise.  If you could pick up the

17       Linklater file, if we can describe it in those terms,

18       and look, please, at tab 2.

19   A.  Sorry, what number is it?

20   Q.  The papers which arrived from Linklaters which you

21       mentioned three minutes ago.

22   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  Do you not have the file?

23   A.  If it's not here.

24   MR JAY:  We can provide you with another file.  It's there.

25       We'll get it to you.


                                            82


1   A.  Sorry.  I couldn't fit it in the bag, actually.

2   MR JAY:  It has tabs, so it's easier to ...

3   A.  Thank you.

4   Q.  Tab 2.

5   A.  Yes.

6   Q.  Mr Edmondson to you, 5 September.  So we are nine days

7       before the story:

8           "We have got the Kate McCann diaries journalist at

9       a meeting.  They are in Portuguese, translated by cops.

10       Official police document looks good.  Don't think this

11       is a set-up.  We can take possession after paying

12       a small deposit and pay the balance upon publication,

13       3,000 euros in total.  Get it as great stuff for next

14       week?  Ian."

15           So your source, as it were, was I think a Portuguese

16       journalist?

17   A.  Mm.

18   Q.  I think it was a woman journalist, but it's not going to

19       matter.  Made clear to you that the Portuguese police

20       had translated the diary and therefore they remained in

21       Portuguese but they looked as if they were what they

22       purported to be; is that correct?

23   A.  Yes, according to this.

24   Q.  Were you concerned by the fact that the diary had been

25       obtained from the police in some way?


                                            83


1   A.  I can't recall exactly how the conversation developed

2       and when and where it would have taken place with

3       Mr Edmondson, but if I remember correctly, elements of

4       the diary had already been published in some of the

5       Portuguese papers, I believe, previously, so I assumed

6       that it was the same journalist who was the author of

7       those stories, who had come to us.

8   Q.  But were you aware of some of the background which

9       comprised this: that the police had obtained the diary,

10       having seized it from Dr Kate McCann, and then there was

11       an order by the Portuguese judge for the diary to be

12       returned, but I think a copy by then had been taken?

13       Were you aware of any of that background?

14   A.  I don't recall that specifically, I'm sorry.

15   Q.  But it was clear to you that the ultimate source -- the

16       proximate source was the journalist, but the ultimate

17       source was the Portuguese police.  That much was clear,

18       wasn't it?

19   A.  I think it's clear that that's where it probably would

20       have emanated, yes.

21   Q.  And then there were discussions about the cost, which

22       I don't think we need dwell on.  And then --

23   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  This is a formal agreement is made in

24       writing, behind tab 3?

25   A.  Yes.


                                            84


1   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  This is 5 September?

2   A.  Yes.

3   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  A substantial sum of money to supply

4       the diary of Kate McCann for exclusive publication?

5   A.  Yes.  According to this, yes.

6   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  Yes.  That's the --

7   MR JAY:  So at that stage you had a contractual commitment

8       to pay an amount, and the consideration would be

9       exclusive publication in the News of the World; is that

10       right?

11   A.  Generally, yes.

12   Q.  It wasn't your understanding that anybody had asked for

13       Dr Kate McCann's consent by that stage, was it?

14   A.  At that stage?

15   Q.  Yes.

16   A.  I -- well, this is Friday at 8.06 pm.  I know, as

17       I said, that Ian Edmondson was probably at that stage

18       almost in daily contact with Mr Mitchell.  What

19       conversations had taken place, I don't know.  But I know

20       that they had a very close relationship and a very close

21       working professional relationship.

22   Q.  I think the question is a bit more precise.  Before

23       making the contractual commitment --

24   A.  Yes.

25   Q.  -- which would save you having to pay money which might


                                            85


1       not lead to anything --

2   A.  Well, it would be on publication.

3   Q.  It would be on publication.  But were you satisfied that

4       Dr Kate McCann had given her consent or was the issue of

5       consent something which you were going to address later?

6   A.  Well, I don't know -- at that stage, I didn't know

7       whether or not they had it.  You know, physically had

8       from the journalist what she said she had.

9   Q.  No, indeed not.  But --

10   A.  So I -- the question really about whether or not we had

11       permission from Kate or whatever conversations

12       Ian Edmondson would have had with Mr Mitchell, until he

13       had it, I'm not sure it was relevant.

14   Q.  Sorry, my understanding of this contract, and it's quite

15       a short document with very few stipulations, is that on

16       consideration of the diary being supplied to the

17       News of the World, News of the World would pay 20,000

18       euros to the journalist, and its purpose would be for

19       exclusive publication in the News of the World?

20   A.  Yes.

21   Q.  But the payment of 20,000 euros wasn't dependent on it

22       being exclusively published in the News of the World?

23   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  Yes, it was, paragraph 6.

24   A.  Yes, it was.  Yes, it was.  All the contracts were on

25       that basis because we would run out of money rather


                                            86


1       quickly --

2   MR JAY:  Yes, you're right, I'm wrong.

3           So the next few days, I think the documents show,

4       were devoted to establishing that the diaries were what

5       they purported to be, do I have that right?

6   A.  Yes.

7   Q.  And then did there come a point, you having established

8       that, that you wanted to ascertain whether or not there

9       was consent from Dr Kate McCann for publication?  Have

10       I correctly understood the position?

11   A.  Yes.

12   Q.  But the obvious question, Mr Myler, is this: why did you

13       not telephone either of the McCanns and find out whether

14       they consented?

15   A.  Because Ian Edmondson had assured me on more than one

16       occasion that Clarence was aware of what we were

17       intending to do and had said, "Good".  I think it was

18       very clear from Mr Edmondson's point of view how he'd

19       spelt out what he was doing, and indeed I stressed very

20       clearly by using the phrase that I did not want Kate to

21       come out of church on Sunday morning and find that the

22       diaries were there without her knowledge.

23   Q.  But you were of course aware that if Dr Kate McCann had

24       not given her consent to the publication of this

25       personal diary, she would be outraged by the


                                            87


1       publication.  You were aware of that, weren't you?

2   A.  I wouldn't have published if I'd thought that she hadn't

3       been made aware of it.

4   Q.  And Mr Edmondson was telling you that he'd obtained

5       consent on what day?

6   A.  Well, it was absolutely clear from the Friday to the

7       Saturday that that assurance had been given to him and

8       given again to me.

9   Q.  It was going to be a front page story, wasn't it?

10   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  Which Friday to which Saturday are we

11       talking about?  What date?

12   MR JAY:  12th and 13th, isn't it?

13   A.  In other words, sort of from the Friday conference to

14       deciding, you know, what you're doing with the front of

15       the paper.

16   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  I see.

17   A.  I made it clear, I think on the Friday, by using that

18       phrase, and I repeated it to him again on the Saturday.

19       And at no stage did he indicate to me that Mr Mitchell

20       had told him it wouldn't be appropriate to do what he'd

21       been told we were doing.

22   Q.  Given the importance of all of this, why not just pick

23       up the phone yourself and find out?

24   A.  Mr Mitchell was a very experienced media spokesperson,

25       absolutely.  I had no reason to believe that what


                                            88


1       Mr Edmondson was telling me wasn't correct.

2   Q.  Did Mr Edmondson tell you clearly that he had told

3       Mr Mitchell that a copy of the diary had been obtained

4       via the Portuguese police, had been translated by you,

5       and that sections of that translation were going to be

6       published in the News of the World as opposed to the

7       News of the World simply using publications which had

8       already been made in Portugal to base a story?

9   A.  No, no, no.  My understanding was that it was very clear

10       that Mr Edmondson had explained what had we had because

11       I think the extracts that had appeared in Portugal were

12       very minor, limited.  I don't know how much they used.

13       But there was a -- I think there's a transcript in here

14       of a conversation where he explains that he was trying

15       to get me to go big with it, and I think in the course

16       of that conversation I think Mr Mitchell had said that

17       he'd vaguely remembered when they had been used in part

18       in the Portuguese press and that they were obviously

19       very selective.

20   Q.  Yes, but did Mr Edmondson make it clear to you that he

21       had made it clear to Mr Mitchell that he had the whole

22       diary and was going to cause extracts from it to be

23       published in the News of the World?

24   A.  That's what he led me to believe, yes.

25   Q.  Because reading the transcript, and this is something


                                            89


1       which you didn't, of course, see at the time, the

2       transcript of the conversation --

3   A.  Sorry, which tab are we?

4   Q.  This is tab 9.

5   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  You did see it just a few days later

6       on the Tuesday.

7   MR JAY:  A four-page transcript of a conversation between

8       Ian Edmondson and Clarence Mitchell on Friday, September

9       12, 2008.  It's quite a complicated document, and

10       certainly bears at least one interpretation, probably

11       several.  You saw it two days later or two days after

12       publication, on the Tuesday, didn't you?

13   A.  This is the transcript of the conversation between

14       Ian Edmondson and Mr Mitchell?

15   Q.  Indeed.

16   A.  Yes.

17   Q.  We know Mr Edmondson sent it to you.  You're the first

18       recipient on the email, aren't you?

19   A.  Yes.

20   Q.  Having seen that transcript, and I'm not going to go

21       through it now, why did you apologise to the McCanns at

22       all?  Unless it was capable of bearing at least a number

23       of interpretations?

24   A.  Well, because I felt very bad that she didn't know.  And

25       as I've said before, without her permission, I wouldn't


                                            90


1       have published it.  I mean, why would I do something as

2       personal as that, however much behind a shield of

3       nailing the lies of the Portuguese media and the press?

4       I don't think that would have been sufficient for the

5       grief it caused her, and I had absolutely nothing to

6       gain and everything to lose, given the relationship that

7       we had established.

8   Q.  But if that was your thought process on 16 September,

9       why wasn't it the thought process you had the previous

10       week, Mr Myler?

11   A.  Because I was given an absolute categoric assurance that

12       Clarence knew what we were doing.

13   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  Well, you've read this transcript,

14       I'm sure.  It's clearly not a document that spells it

15       out in words of one syllable, is it?

16   A.  You know, Mr Edmondson, given the number of times

17       I asked him for the assurance to make sure that there

18       was absolute clarity and understanding, had no view that

19       there was anything ambiguous in what we were going to

20       do.

21   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  It may be, Mr Myler, that it's unfair

22       to ask you much more about this, but would you agree

23       with this: this document is most clearly ambiguous?

24   A.  This --

25   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  This is the transcript that you were


                                            91


1       sent by Mr Edmondson as establishing, presumably, the

2       consent about which you were then concerned.  And it's

3       not terribly clear.  Would you agree with that?

4   A.  I need to --

5   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  All right.

6   A.  I only got this bundle yesterday.

7   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  That's entirely fair enough.

8   A.  I'm sorry.

9   MR JAY:  What was the total sum that the News of the World

10       paid for this diary?

11   A.  I don't know.  We'd have to check.  Because often when

12       sums are going into a managing editor's sheet,

13       particularly when they have brackets which says they're

14       still being negotiated, the tendency was for that sum to

15       be negotiated down, and therefore it was a running

16       memoir, if you like.  Chances are that that figure

17       possibly could have come down.  So the managing editor's

18       office will have a record of that.

19   Q.  Okay, but you made a donation to the Madeleine fund?

20   A.  Oh yes.

21   Q.  Was it a substantial donation?

22   A.  I believe it was.  And an apology the following week,

23       I think it was the following week, negotiated with,

24       I think, Mr Thomson from Carter Ruck, and in it was an

25       acceptance and an acknowledgment that there had been


                                            92


1       a misplaced understanding that we had Kate's permission

2       and, you know, we made that very clear, that the last

3       thing we wanted to do was to cause her any more

4       distress.

5   Q.  May I move off that to another topic.  This topic is

6       such that I won't be able to conclude it today.  I don't

7       know how you --

8   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  Do I understand that, save for

9       Mr Myler, we're not going to find ourselves tomorrow

10       running over a witness?

11   MR JAY:  We won't, because there's another witness,

12       Mr Sanderson, who deals with these matters.  He'll be

13       quite short.  And then Mr Webb, who won't be that long

14       either, so although we're not doing very well today,

15       overall we're not doing badly.

16   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  No, well, I understand the point.

17       All right, I think that Mr Myler is due a break as well.

18   A.  Okay.

---------------

PDF download:

Wednesday 14 December Transcript of Afternoon Hearing (pdf, 148KB)

click here to download file

Leveson Inquiry: Witness Statement of Colin Myler, 14 December 2011
Leveson Inquiry: Witness Statement of Colin Myler Leveson Inquiry

Wednesday 14 December 2011

[text version will appear here]

----------------------

PDF download:

Wednesday 14 December Witness Statement of Colin Myler (pdf, 290KB)

click here to download file

I thought McCanns knew about diary, Myler tells court, 14 December 2011
I thought McCanns knew about diary, Myler tells court journalism.co.uk

Former News of the World editor says he regrets publication of diary excerpts but was assured that mother of Madeleine McCann had given her consent

By: Joel Gunter
Posted: 14 December 2011

Former News of the World editor Colin Myler told the Leveson inquiry today that he thought Kate McCann had given her permission for excerpts from her diary to be published when the tabloid bought them from a Portuguese journalist.

The excerpts – which were purchased for €3,000, Myler revealed today – included entries from the days shortly after Madeleine McCann's disappearance in May 2007.

According to Myler, he was told by former News of the World news editor Ian Edmondson that the family had consented to the publication of the diary, which Myler conceded today probably emanated from the local police.

The former editor said today that Edmondson had been in daily contact with the McCann family's representative Clarence Mitchell, and that Edmondson had said Mitchell was aware of the News of the World's intention to publish and had said "good".

Myler said he had told Edmondson on the Friday night: "I don't want Kate coming out of church on Sunday morning and finding out that her diaries have been published without her knowledge."

Myler told the court he regretted the publication, but had been given assurances by Edmondson that the tabloid was on safe ground. Lord Leveson challenged the clarity of Edmondson's assurances, calling a transcript of a conversation between him and Myler over the issue, which was read in court, "ambiguous".

Myler told the inquiry that he would not have published if he had known Kate McCann had not given her consent, and "felt very bad" about the episode.

The former editor was also grilled by inquiry counsel Robery Jay QC about the allegation that he "berated" Gerry McCann over the phone after the McCanns decided to give an interview to Hello magazine rather than the News of the World.

Myler denied the claim, telling the court that he had "no cause at any stage to berate or be irate at Gerry". He said he "valued" his relationship with Madeleine's father, and had simply pointed out to him that the News of the World had better circulation than Hello.

Myler echoed other former News of the World staff in claiming during his testimony that he did not recognise the picture of the tabloid painted by former deputy features editor Paul McMullan and that illegality was restricted to a small number of people.

He told the inquiry that those who had used illegal methods in the course of their work should feel "the full force of the law".

Pressed about the News of the World's decision to publish the controversial video of Max Mosley visiting prostitutes, Myler admitted that he believed Mosley would obtain an injunction if they informed him in advance. He defended the story, which he entered for the scoop of the year award, claiming that there was a public interest in Mosley's actions due to his presidency of the international motorsport body the FIA.

He acknowledged that letters sent by chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck to the prostitutes in the video were threatening and called the terms used by Thurlbeck "unnecessary". Leveson told Myler he thought that the letters were in fact "outrageous".

Myler's evidence continues tomorrow from 10am. He will be followed by former News of the World reporter Daniel Sanderson, who wrote the stories featuring excerpts from Kate McCann's diary, and private investigator Derek Webb, who alleges he was instructed by the News of the World executive to obtain a press card from the NUJ in order to help pose as a journalist.

Why I published Kate's diary: NotW's ex-editor thought he had mother's permission to print entries that left McCanns mentally raped, 15 December 2011
Why I published Kate's diary: NotW's ex-editor thought he had mother's permission to print entries that left McCanns mentally raped Daily Mail

•  Colin Myler claims family's press spokesman had given the go ahead

By REBECCA CAMBER
Last updated at 9:06 AM on 15th December 2011

Vanished: Madeleine McCann disappeared from Praia da Luz in Portugal in 2007

The News of the World's former editor said yesterday he believed he had permission to publish the extracts from Kate McCann's diary that she later said had left her feeling 'mentally raped'.

Colin Myler said he was told he had full support for publishing a story from Clarence Mitchell, the press spokesman for Kate and Gerry McCann, whose daughter Madeleine disappeared from Praia da Luz, in Portugal, in 2007.

Mr Myler told the Leveson press standards inquiry he had 'nothing to gain and everything to lose' from upsetting the couple, having developed a good relationship with them.

Mr Myler, who edited the News of the World from 2007 until it closed this year, said: 'I stressed that I did not want Kate to come out of church on Sunday morning and find that the diaries were there without her knowledge.'

Mrs McCann's diary was published in the News of the World on September 14, 2008.

She told the inquiry last month that when she saw it published she felt 'violated'. Her husband said: 'Kate was distraught and in her words felt "mentally raped".'

The McCanns said Mr Mitchell was told by the paper's Head of News Ian Edmondson that it was planning to run a 'supportive story' but not that it would publish the diary.

'Everything to lose': Former News of the World Editor Colin Myler claims he had been told the McCann's press spokesman was aware of the article

Mr Edmondson, who has since been arrested as part of the phone-hacking inquiry, told Mr Myler the diary was obtained from a Portuguese journalist.

Asked why he did not phone Mr McCann to check if permission had been given, Mr Myler said: 'Because Ian Edmondson had assured me on more than one occasion that Clarence [Mitchell] was aware of what we were intending to do.'

After the diary was printed, Mr Myler ran an apology in the paper 'because I felt very bad that she didn't know', he said.

Speaking after yesterday's hearing, Mr Mitchell said: 'At no point in the one brief call that I received from Ian Edmondson on the Friday evening before publication did he spell out categorically that they had purchased a version of Kate's diary that had been leaked by the Portuguese police and that they were planning to publish it in as big a way as they subsequently did.'

Daniel Sanderson

Leveson Inquiry: journalist who obtained Kate McCann's diary to appear, 15 December 2011
Leveson Inquiry: journalist who obtained Kate McCann's diary to appear The Telegraph

Daniel Sanderson, the former News of the World reporter who wrote stories based on Kate McCann's diaries, will give evidence to the inquiry today.

Kate McCann/NOTW front page

By Donna Bowater
8:50AM GMT 15 Dec 2011

Mr Sanderson's name was the byline on the News of the World front page that revealed Mrs McCann's private diary.

She has already told the inquiry how publication of the diary, written after her daughter Madeleine went missing, without her consent left her feeling "totally violated".

In their evidence, Mrs McCann said she gave the diary to Portuguese police but it was later returned.

She said she believed a copy had been made before it was translated into Portuguese and then back to English and given to the press.

Mr Sanderson is expected to face questions over how he got hold of the diary.

Former police detective turned private investigator Derek Webb, who was hired by News International, will also give evidence to the inquiry.

Mr Webb was the only private detective former News of the World editor Colin Myler admitted hiring yesterday.

The inquiry heard Mr Webb was arrested over work with a journalist in Thames Valley and was barred for working for the tabloid.

But when the case collapsed, he was rehired but was told he should register as a journalist with the National Union of Journalists (NUJ).

Asked about Mr Webb's work, Mr Myler said yesterday: "I never had any reason to be asked or questioned about the work he had done via an issue or a payment or a complaint or a problem."

Leveson Inquiry: Daniel Sanderson, 15 December 2011
Leveson Inquiry: Daniel Sanderson

Leveson Inquiry: live, 15 December 2011
Leveson Inquiry: live The Telegraph

By Matthew Holehouse
15 December 2011

- Extract -

12.14 Leveson is now hearing from Daniel Sanderson, a former NOTW reporter whose name appeared on the McCann diaries story. He was the most junior reporter at the newspaper when the story appeared in September 2008.

He tracked down the diary after reading in The Sun that extracts of the diary were being leaked in the Portuguese press. He was asked by Ian Edmondson to track down the journalist who was running the extracts. He asked a freelance journalist based in Spain to collect the diary, which then arrived at the NOTW.

Sanderson was not aware of the time that the ultimate source of the diary was the Portuguese police. "I did not speculate where the diary came from at the time," he says. "All I knew at the time was that there were extracts being circulated round Portugal, and someone was responsible," he said.

Jay asks whether he considered if the McCanns were circulating the diary. "I didn't speculate," says Sanderson. "I was a junior reporter at the time."

Leveson says this leaking was illegal under Portuguese law. Did he think about it?

Sanderson says he does not want to appear "flippant" about a "private document". But it was being publicly circulated. He did not know what the newspaper wanted to do with it

You were just doing the job you were asked to do?

"Every job I embarked on I considered privacy, public interest and whether I was adhering to the PCC code. But the reality was we weren't in possession of the diary so we didn't know what we were dealing with," says Sanderson. He was told they would not publish it without the permission of the McCanns. "In hindsight it was clearly the wrong decision to publish," he says.

Leveson says he won't criticise Sanderson for the job he was asked to do as a junior reporter. But understanding what thought processes junior staff do is important.

NOTW reporter Daniel Sanderson
NOTW reporter Daniel Sanderson

12.24 Sanderson says the diary had been translated from English to Portuguese. Thinking back, he says, it was obvious it had come from the Police - he thinks there were comments written on certain pages. "The whole thing caused me concern," he says, crestfallen. Did he share that with Edmondson?

"My thinking was this story was going to be published with the co-operation of the McCanns. We were translating the document, we were checking with the McCanns, that was my understanding throughout.

"Don't forget, I wasn't aware necessarily what the newspaper was planning to do with the document once it was in the NOTW offices."

Sanderson says he arranged for the document to be translated and he wrote up the story as it came through section-by-section. He checked the translation against internet sources to ensure it was not a fake - such as the family meeting the Pope.

12.29
Sanderson says he believed the McCann's agent would be asked to consent at the end of the week. He says if they did not give the green light - even after he had finished the story - it would not be published.

Jay asks how the story was changed by editors after Sanderson had sent it to Ian Edmondson.

Sanderson says his commentary was taken out, and they just published extracts from the diary with a short introduction on the front page.

Sanderson says in his statement he wishes to give a public apology to the McCanns, having seen how it made them feel.
 
 I did feel very bad that my involvement in the story made Mrs McCann feel the way that it had. Why was it the wrong decision to publish? Because they didn't have the permission. They didn't have Mrs McCann's permission to publish.
 

Leveson says it was an "intensely personal document."

"As you read it for the first time did you think you had any business writing a word of it without making sure it was truly what they wanted?"

Sanderson said it wasn't in his "sphere of responsibility". He said Edmondson spoke to Clarence Mitchell, the McCann's spokesman, every day. He did not have Mitchell's phone number. The first time he spoke to Mitchell was three weeks ago, to say he would apologise. "That's not just for this inquiry. That's because I'm genuinely sorry," he says.

12.36
"It was a high pressure environment to work in," Sanderson says.
 
 In order to work at the News of the World you have to give a certain part of your life over to it. It's very, very hard work and the phone is constantly on. You can be called evenings, weekends. There's no point making any plans with friends because if you do they are likely to be cancelled because the news editor wants you to go on a job. You can't work at NOTW if you're not prepared to work hard.
 
Sanderson says he did not experience bullying.

He says it is "nonsense" that untrue stories appeared. "The first thing you did was you made sure it was true."
 
 The first thing you did when you received a tip was to ascertain whether the tip was true. You worked out whether the story was appropriate for the News of the World. And then you went about proving that it was true. It was never that you sat there thinking, let's make up this story about this person. The story had to be true.
 
There were "numerous processes," Sanderson says, to stand up stories. "If you met someone, the first thing you did was sit down and say what evidence have you got." Often this came as text messages, credit card bills, other witnesses and signed affidavits. That information would then be passed up to the news editor and the editor.

Leveson insists that NOTW stories contained comment. Sanderson is puzzled; his were always 'quite factual'.

12.45
Leveson takes a lunch break. Derek Webb, the private investigator, is giving evidence from 2pm.

Leveson Inquiry: live, 14 December 2011
Leveson Inquiry: live Guardian News Blog

By Lisa O'Carroll and Josh Halliday
15 December 2011

- Extract -

12.18pm: Daniel Sanderson
the News of the World reporter whose name appeared on the Kate McCann diary story in the News of the World, is up next.

McCann told the inquiry that publication of the diary left her feeling "violated".

Leveson inquiry: Daniel Sanderson gives evidence
Leveson inquiry: Daniel Sanderson gives evidence

12.19pm: Sanderson explains how he got in touch with a Portuguese journalist and they discussed payment for a copy of the diary. Sanderson then liaised with the news editor at the time, Ian Edmondson.

Edmondson hired a freelancer, Gerard Couzens, who is based in Spain to travel to Portugal to meet the journalist and collect the diary.

Sanderson says he wasn't aware at the time that the ultimate source was the Portuguese police.

12.22pm: Sanderson says he knew the diary was "a private document".

Leveson asks if he was concerned about the provenance of the diary.

Sanderson says:
"A diary is clearly a private document but at the time this was being publically circulated around Portugal. What the newspapers planned to do with the diary once we were in possession of that I didn't know that at the time."
12.23pm: Sanderson says he thought the News of the World was not going to publish the diary without the McCanns' consent.
"It was clearly a private document I understood that, but at that stage we were not in possession of the diary so we didn't know what we were dealing with. As I understand the News of the World did not intend to publish it. I was told at the time that we would not be publishing the diary unless we had the express permission of the McCanns."
12.26pm: Jay again asks Sanderson if he was he not concerned about the provenance of the diaries.

Sanderson struggles to answer and says: "I was a junior reporter at the time."

Leveson intervenes and says that because he is looking into press ethics "what junior members of staff thought is important".

12.28pm: Sanderson says he was concerned about the publication of the diaries:
"The whole thing caused me concern...

With hindsight, it was clearly the wrong decision to publish."
12.29pm: Sanderson says he believes the document came from the Portuguese police.
"It had obviously been translated from Portuguese. I suppose thinking back it must have come from the Portuguese police. From memory when I was looking through the documents, I think there were comments on certain pages I remember. There were notes and comments, it looked like some kind of official document."
He he asked if has not concerned about the provenance; that they may not have come from the McCanns?
"It's very very difficult for me to try explain but my thinking throughout this whole process was this story was going to be published with the co-operation of the McCanns."
12.31pm: Sanderson explains how the diaries were translated piecemeal.
"We were translating the document; we were writing the story; we were checking with the McCanns and they were happy with the story; we would publish it.

I wasn't aware what the NoW planned to do with the diary once it was in the office.

We looked at the diary and for every entry we would cross-reference that with stories that may have appeared in the newspapers."
12.34pm: Sanderson says he understood that the story would only be published if the paper was given the "green light" by the McCanns' press secretary, Clarence Mitchell.

12.36pm: Sanderson says his story was changed entirely.
"I wrote a story based on the extracts of the diary and it was changed. All my pieces were taken out and the diary or extracts of the diary were published in its entirety without any writing from me … Does that make sense?"
12.38pm: Sanderson apologises to Kate McCann.
"I have every intention of apologising to the McCanns ... I did feel very bad that my involvement in the story had made Mrs McCann feel the way that she had.

Why was it the wrong decision to publish? Because they didn't have permission to, they didn't have Mrs McCann's permission to publish the story."
12.39pm: Leveson now intervenes and turns to Sanderson to ask if he not think about the McCanns when he read a document that was "intensely personal".
"Did you think you had any permission writing a word of it, without making sure this truly was what they wanted?"
Sanderson answers:
"Seeking their permission was not in my sphere of responsibility."
Leveson says it can't just have been the responsibility of Ian Edmondson, who Sanderson says he understood to be in regular contact with the McCanns. "To reveal the most intimate moments may actually give rise to other considerations that might require more carful consent," the judge says.

Sanderson replies:
"My understanding was that the news editor spoke to the McCanns' press secretary on daily basis so in terms of getting the McCanns' consent that was a job for the news editor. The first time I spoke to the McCanns' press secretary was three weeks ago when I heard how it made Mrs McCann feel and to tell him that I intended to apologise. That's not just for this inquiry, it's because I'm genuinely sorry."
12.45pm: Sanderson on working at the News of the World:
"It was a high pressure environment to work in. In order to work at the NoW, you have to give a certain part of your life over to it. It is very very hard work. The phone is constantly on. You can be called on evenings, weekends. There's no point making any plans with friends because if you do they are likely to be cancelled because the news editor wants you to go on a job. It was very hard work."
He says he did not experience a "culture of bullying".

12.48pm: Sanderson now explains how a story would have been stood up in the News of the World. He said he would have had to get proof such as bills, credit card statements or even affidavits from tipsters to try and prove what they were telling the paper was actually true.

"The whole time you're operating as a journalist you're considering the PCC code at every level," he says.

12.49pm: The Leveson inquiry has now broken for lunch.

Leveson Inquiry: Transcript of Daniel Sanderson's evidence, 15 December 2011
Leveson Inquiry: Transcript of Daniel Sanderson's evidence Leveson Inquiry

Wednesday 15 December 2011

- Extract -

6   MR JAY:  Thank you, Mr Myler.

7           The next witness is Mr Sanderson.

8                  MR DANIEL SANDERSON (affirmed)

9                       Questions by MR JAY

10   MR JAY:  First of all, make yourself comfortable,

11       Mr Sanderson, and provide us with your full name.

12   A.  My name is Daniel Mark Sanderson.

13   Q.  Thank you.  You have provided a witness statement which

14       starts at our page [5]2723, which extends over four

15       pages.  Have you now signed a copy of that statement?

16   A.  I have.

17   Q.  And is that the evidence that you give to this Inquiry?

18   A.  Yes.

19   Q.  Can I ask you first about your career and about

20       yourself?  You started, I believe, at a regional

21       newspaper; is that right?

22   A.  That's right, yeah.

23   Q.  Just tell us in your own words your career path until

24       the News of the World?

25   A.  I started my journalistic career as a local newspaper


                                            73


1       called the Worthing Herald.  From there I went to

2       a company called Kent News and Pictures.  I was at Kent

3       News and Pictures for about eight months and then

4       I moved to a company called Ferrari Press Agency.  From

5       Ferrari Press Agency, I was -- I started work at the

6       News of the World on a Saturday.  I worked on a Saturday

7       for about a year, and then was offered a full-time job

8       at the News of the World.

9   Q.  Yes.  And the year you're referring to is that the

10       Saturday job started, I think, towards the latter part

11       of 2006; is that correct?

12   A.  That's correct.

13   Q.  And then the contract job in 2007, is that also correct?

14   A.  That's correct.

15   Q.  When did you become a staff reporter at the

16       News of the World?

17   A.  That was in 2009, I believe.

18   Q.  So in 2008, when the McCann diaries story came out in

19       September, you were in a very junior position; is that

20       correct?

21   A.  I was.  I was probably the most junior reporter at the

22       newspaper.

23   Q.  Right.  You tell us something about the background to

24       this McCann diary story, that on 28 July 2008, the story

25       appeared in the Sun newspaper which said that extracts


                                            74


1       of Kate McCann's diary had emerged in Portugal; is that

2       correct?

3   A.  That's correct.

4   Q.  Did Mr Edmondson ask you to track down the person who

5       was in possession of the diary and was leaking extracts

6       of it in Portugal?

7   A.  That's correct.

8   Q.  What did you do to track down the diary, as it were?

9   A.  I phoned -- I made contact with two newspapers in

10       Portugal.  I was advised that one particular journalist

11       was in possession of a copy of the diary and made

12       contact with that person.

13   Q.  Was that person a Portuguese journalist?

14   A.  That's correct.

15   Q.  Was there a discussion then about how much it might cost

16       to obtain the diary from -- I think it was a woman, from

17       her?

18   A.  I believe that formed part of the conversation, yes.

19   Q.  Yes.  But you, of course, did not go out to Portugal

20       yourself, did you?

21   A.  No.

22   Q.  You say in your statement that you liaised with

23       Mr Edmondson, who was the news editor, was he?

24   A.  That's correct.

25   Q.  And were told to ask a freelance journalist called


                                            75


1       Gerard Cousins, who was based in Spain, to travel to

2       Portugal to meet the journalist and collect the diary;

3       is that right?

4   A.  That's correct.

5   Q.  And it's at that point that your involvement, as it

6       were, ceased until the diary arrived in the News of the

7       World's offices on Saturday, 6 September 2008; is that

8       correct?

9   A.  That's correct.

10   Q.  Can I ask you this, though, in relation to the diary:

11       were you aware that the ultimate source of the diary was

12       the Portuguese police?

13   A.  I wasn't aware at the time, no.

14   Q.  When, if at all, did you become aware of that fact?

15   A.  I haven't -- I didn't speculate as to where the diary

16       came from at the time.  Yeah.

17   Q.  So is your evidence you didn't know from where the diary

18       came at the time?

19   A.  All I knew at the time was that I'd read in the Sun

20       newspaper that there were extracts being circulated

21       around Portugal, and obviously somebody was responsible

22       for circulating those extracts, so I was then asked to

23       make enquiries as to how that was the case and who was

24       in possession of a copy of the diary.

25   Q.  But you didn't believe, did you, that the McCanns had


                                            76


1       put out the diary in some way?

2   A.  No, but I didn't speculate at the time where the diary

3       had come from.  It's the point I'm trying to make.

4   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  You may not have speculated, but it's

5       quite an interesting question.  Were you at all

6       concerned about the provenance of the diary?  We now

7       know that the Portuguese law does not permit all this

8       and that this diary was obtained quite wrongfully.  I'm

9       not suggesting you knew that at the time, but

10       I appreciate you were doing the bidding of the news

11       editor, but were you concerned about the provenance of

12       the diary and the propriety of doing what you were being

13       asked to do, or not; was it just a question of being

14       told what to do and you did it?

15   A.  I don't want to give the impression that I just

16       flippantly, you know, was told to find out the source of

17       the diary and so I did that.  You know, a diary is

18       clearly a private document, but at the time, as I say,

19       this was being publicly circulated around Portugal.

20       What the newspaper planned to do with the diary once we

21       were in possession of it I didn't know at the time.

22       Does that answer your question?

23   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  I understand that, and it may be that

24       copies are going around Portugal.  But you did not

25       concern yourself, you were simply doing the job that you


                                            77


1       were asked to do?

2   A.  No, it's not -- every story I ever embarked on with the

3       News of the World I considered things like privacy,

4       public interest and, you know, whether I was adhering to

5       the PCC code.  It was clearly a private document,

6       I understand that.  But the reality of the situation is

7       that at that stage we weren't in possession of the

8       diary, so we didn't know what we were dealing with.

9           The other point that I think it's very important to

10       make is that as I understand it, the News of the World

11       had no intention of publishing that diary --

12   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  I'm only interested -- now you're

13       going to -- were you told this at the time or is this

14       something again you learned later?

15   A.  Was I told what at the time?

16   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  About the intentions of the

17       News of the World?

18   A.  No, no, I was told at the time that we would not be

19       publishing the diary unless we had the specific express

20       permission from the McCanns.

21   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  I see.  We'll come back to some of

22       those questions, I'm sure Mr Jay will, when you've

23       actually read the translation of the diary.

24   MR JAY:  Were you told by Mr Edmondson before the diary

25       arrived in the offices of the News of the World, which


                                            78


1       we know to have been Saturday, 6 September 2008, that

2       there was no intention of publishing a story based on

3       the diary until the McCanns' express consent had been

4       contained?

5   A.  That was my understanding, that there would be

6       a conversation between the News of the World and the

7       McCanns to obtain their permission to publish the diary.

8   Q.  Were you told that by Mr Edmondson in those terms?

9   A.  Yes.

10   Q.  You said that you weren't going to speculate as to the

11       source of the diary.  You also said it was a private

12       document.  Did you think at all about the provenance of

13       the diary?

14   A.  My understanding was that we were going to -- the

15       News of the World was going to obtain permission from

16       the McCanns.

17   Q.  But that's a separate issue, Mr Sanderson.  There's the

18       issue of obtaining consent and there's the issue of the

19       provenance of the diary.  Were you thinking at all about

20       the possible provenance of the diary?

21   A.  Of course I was.  My understanding of the situation was

22       that -- at the time -- it's very, very difficult to

23       speculate about the provenance of the diary until it was

24       actually in the office, and, you know, I was a junior

25       reporter at the time.


                                            79


1   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  Mr Sanderson, I'm not going to be

2       critical of you in relation to the decisions you've made

3       about this.  You were asked to do a job and you did it.

4   A.  Yes.

5   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  But one of the things I am required

6       to think about is the culture, practice and ethics of

7       the press, as I'm sure you are very, very aware.

8   A.  Yes.

9   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  Therefore, what junior members of

10       staff are thinking about is actually not unimportant,

11       and that's why you're being asked the questions.

12   A.  I know, and I fully appreciate that.

13   MR JAY:  Can you assist us then with your answer?  Because

14       we have a private diary and that diary has somehow

15       entered the public domain.  Those are the facts which

16       you know.

17   A.  Yes, absolutely, but as I've said before, they were

18       already in the public domain circulating in Portugal and

19       I have to say I wasn't aware of the judge's comments

20       that you're referring to at the time about it being, you

21       know, a private document.  I wasn't aware of that at the

22       time.

23   Q.  I think you said earlier that you were aware that it was

24       a private diary --

25   A.  I was aware it was a private diary.  A diary is by


                                            80


1       definition a private document.  I accept that, and, you

2       know, with hindsight it was clearly the wrong decision

3       to publish.

4   Q.  When you come back to the office after the weekend on

5       Tuesday, 9 September 2008, Mr Edmondson shows you a copy

6       of the diary.  It's all in Portuguese, so it's been

7       translated evidently from the original?

8   A.  That's correct.

9   Q.  Was there anything about the diary which caused you to

10       speculate as to its source or was your state of mind the

11       same as it had been previously?

12   A.  Thinking back, I mean it had obviously been translated

13       from English to Portuguese.  I mean, the source was --

14       I suppose, thinking back, it must have come from the

15       Portuguese police, absolutely.

16   Q.  Why do you say that?

17   A.  From memory, when I was looking through the documents,

18       I believe there were comments on certain pages, I think.

19       I can't remember.

20   Q.  Which -- obviously you don't speak Portuguese --

21   A.  No, but there were notes and comments, and I don't know,

22       it looked like some kind of official document, if that

23       makes any sense.

24   Q.  So was it at that point that you realised that the

25       source was probably the Portuguese police?


                                            81


1   A.  Oh yes, no absolutely, absolutely.

2   Q.  Did that cause you any concerns?

3   A.  The whole thing caused me concern.  The whole thing

4       caused me concern.

5   Q.  Did you share those concerns with Mr Edmondson?

6   A.  Did I share them with Mr Edmondson?  It's very, very

7       difficult for me to try and explain, but essentially my

8       thinking throughout this whole process was that this

9       story was going to be published with the co-operation of

10       the McCanns.  Does that make any sense?

11   Q.  Yes.

12   A.  So, you know, we were translating the document, we were

13       writing the story, we were checking with the McCanns

14       that they were happy with the story, it would be

15       published, the McCanns would know all about it.  That

16       was my understanding of the situation throughout.

17       Because, don't forget, I wasn't aware necessarily of

18       what the newspaper planned to do with the diary once it

19       was in the News of the World offices.

20   Q.  But once it was in the News of the World offices, the

21       position was that it was translated on a piecemeal

22       basis?

23   A.  That's right.

24   Q.  And the English translation came back to you; is that

25       correct?


                                            82


1   A.  That's right.  I arranged for the diary to be translated

2       from Portuguese back into English, and as you can

3       probably imagine, that was quite a laborious task.

4   Q.  Indeed.  And when the translation comes back, do you

5       start writing up the story?

6   A.  That's right, yeah, yeah.  The translation was coming

7       through in sections and I was writing the story during

8       the week.

9   Q.  I think it was your concern also to ascertain that the

10       diary was not a fake, so you were checking the

11       translation against Internet sources; is that right?

12   A.  That's right.  We looked at the diary and for every

13       entry we would cross-check that, we would

14       cross-reference that with stories that may have appeared

15       in the newspapers.

16           So, for example, I think there was an entry -- there

17       was one entry about the McCanns planning to visit the

18       Pope on a certain date, and we -- I cross-checked that

19       with reports that they had seen the Pope on that date.

20   Q.  Yes.  In relation to obtaining the agreement of the

21       McCanns, your evidence is, and this is page 52725, under

22       question 6, just above the lower hole punch:

23           "My understanding of the situation was that

24       Mr Edmondson had sought permission to publish the diary

25       from Mr Mitchell.  I acquired this understanding because


                                            83


1       Mr Edmondson told me he was going to speak to

2       Mr Mitchell about the story at the end of the week."

3           So the conversation was likely to take place, if it

4       was going to take place, on the Friday, 12 September; is

5       that right?

6   A.  That's my understanding, yes.

7   Q.  But it's not your understanding, is it, that there was

8       any earlier conversation between Mr Edmondson and

9       Mr Mitchell?

10   A.  No.  No.

11   Q.  Had you completed the story, at least from your end, by

12       the end of the week?

13   A.  Yes.

14   Q.  So it follows, does it, that by the time the story was

15       given up by you to Mr Edmondson, you didn't know one way

16       or the other whether the McCanns' consent had been

17       obtained?

18   A.  No, my understanding was that the McCanns' consent would

19       be obtained.

20   Q.  Well, your understanding, at its highest, was that the

21       McCanns would be asked through their agent whether they

22       consented.  Is that not the true position?

23   A.  Sorry, can you repeat that?

24   Q.  Your understanding was, at its highest, that the

25       McCanns' agent would be asked for consent at the end of


                                            84


1       the week.  Is that not correct?

2   A.  That's correct, yeah.

3   Q.  But you didn't know one way or the other whether the

4       McCanns would give the green light to the publication of

5       this story, did you?

6   A.  No, but my understanding was that if they hadn't given

7       the green light, then the story wouldn't have been

8       published.

9   Q.  Your understanding was that if they didn't give the

10       green light, at a point after you provided the story to

11       Mr Edmondson, then the story wouldn't be published?

12   A.  That was my understanding, yes.

13   Q.  Was the story, once you'd given it to Mr Edmondson, in

14       other words your copy, between then and its publication,

15       how at all was it changed by editors?

16   A.  How was the story changed?

17   Q.  Yes.  Well, your copy, how was it changed?

18   A.  Well, from memory, I wrote a story based on the extracts

19       from the diary and it was changed -- it was changed --

20       what essentially happened was that all of my pieces were

21       taken out, and the diary was just published in its

22       entirety, or extracts of the diary were published in

23       their entirety without any -- without any writing from

24       me at all.  Does that make sense?

25   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  So it wasn't a story that you'd


                                            85


1       written at all.  It just became the diary?

2   A.  Basically, yeah.

3   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  And was that the bits that you'd

4       taken out of the diary or other bits?

5   A.  No, no, that -- so I filed this very long story that had

6       explanations of bits of the extracts in, and the story

7       that appeared in the paper, all of those explanations

8       were taken out and it was just the diary.  There was

9       a bit on the front page that I'd written, but ...

10   MR JAY:  I see.  So the front page contained your --

11   A.  It was like an introduction.  It was an introduction.

12   Q.  And then the rest of it were just extracts from the

13       diary; is that right?

14   A.  Yes.

15   Q.  So your story, as it were, was somewhat mutilated, if

16       I can --

17   A.  It was changed, yes.

18   Q.  It was changed.  Of course, as your statement makes

19       clear, and this is in relation to Mr Edmondson speaking

20       to Mr Mitchell, you say:

21           "I didn't actually ever have the conversation with

22       Mr Edmondson specifically that he had received

23       permission to publish from the McCanns."

24   A.  No.

25   Q.  So this was because, presumably, you'd handed over the


                                            86


1       story to him before he'd had any conversation with

2       Mr Mitchell; is that correct?

3   A.  That's true.  Yeah, that's the case.

4   Q.  You also say in your statement under paragraph 5, but

5       still on page 52725, you say:

6           "However, with hindsight, the decision to publish

7       Mrs McCann's diary was clearly the wrong one.  Having

8       read how the article made Mrs McCann feel, I intend to

9       apologise to her for writing the story once I have given

10       evidence."

11           So you're giving that apology publicly and we

12       understand that.  But can you explain why it was clearly

13       the wrong decision, in your own words?

14   A.  Yes, I have every intention of apologising to the

15       McCanns for my involvement in the story.  I know it's

16       not your question but that is my intention.  I felt --

17       I did feel very bad that my involvement in the story --

18       my involvement had made Mrs McCann feel the way that it

19       had.  So that's the first thing.

20           Why was it the wrong decision to publish?  Because

21       they didn't have the permission to.  They didn't have

22       Mrs McCann's permission to publish that story.

23   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  Can we unpick that a bit, too?  You

24       read this diary?

25   A.  I did.


                                            87


1   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  Some of it is factual.

2   A.  What do you mean --

3   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  Some of it is factual, she's

4       describing events that have happened?

5   A.  Yes.

6   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  But it's also an intensely personal

7       document.

8   A.  Yes.

9   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  As you read it for the first time,

10       did you think you had any business writing a word of it

11       without making sure that this truly was what they

12       wanted?

13   A.  Seeking their permission, seeking the McCanns'

14       permission wasn't in my sphere of responsibility.

15   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  You see, it's all very well having

16       a conversation with somebody saying, "Is it all right?"

17       but a lot depends upon the tenor, and what's actually

18       happening, what's being done.

19   A.  Mm.

20   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  And one can visualise somebody

21       saying, "Yes, well, if you're simply going to say I kept

22       a diary, that's fine".

23   A.  Sure.

24   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  But to reveal the most intimate

25       moments may actually give rise to other considerations


                                            88


1       which require a rather more careful consent.

2   A.  Absolutely.  My understanding of the situation was that

3       the news editor spoke to the McCanns' press secretary on

4       a daily basis, so in terms of getting the McCanns'

5       consent or having those conversations, that really was

6       a job for the news editor.  I didn't have the McCanns'

7       mobile number, I didn't have the McCanns' press

8       secretary's mobile number.  The first time I spoke to

9       the McCanns' press secretary was about three weeks ago,

10       when I heard how the story had made Mrs McCann feel and

11       I phoned him to tell him my intention to apologise.

12       That's not just for this Inquiry, that's because I'm

13       genuinely sorry.

14   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  I'm sure it is, but did you expect --

15       I appreciate that the word copy approval is never given,

16       but did you expect that in order to get a fully informed

17       consent, effectively the McCanns would be shown what you

18       had written?

19   A.  You would have expected that, yes.

20   MR JAY:  Can I ask you some general questions about culture

21       in the News of the World?  How would you define the

22       culture in the News of the World when you were there,

23       Mr Sanderson?

24   A.  It was a high pressure environment to work in.

25   Q.  Yes?  Anything more that you could tell us?


                                            89


1   A.  What would you like to know?

2   Q.  Well --

3   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  How it manifested itself.  How the

4       high pressure manifested itself.

5   A.  In order to work at the News of the World, you have to

6       give a certain part of your life over to it.  It's very,

7       very hard work.  The phone is constantly -- the phone is

8       constantly on.  You can be called evenings, weekends.

9       There's no point making any plans with friends because

10       if you do, they're likely to be cancelled because the

11       news editor wants you to go on a job.  It was very hard

12       work.  It was very hard work.

13   MR JAY:  Did you feel you had to buy into that, as it were?

14   A.  Yeah.  I mean, you can't work at the News of the World

15       if you're not prepared to work hard.

16   Q.  Was there a culture of bullying in your view?

17   A.  No.  I didn't experience that.

18   Q.  You heard the question I asked Mr Myler based on

19       Mr Wallis' evidence about a certain conception of the

20       story driving the direction into which it's going to go

21       and be written.

22   A.  Mm.

23   Q.  Do you feel that that was the position or not?

24   A.  No, I think that's nonsense.

25   Q.  Why do you say that?


                                            90


1   A.  Because, it's like Mr Myler pointed out earlier on,

2       a story only ever appeared in the News of the World

3       if -- well, stories that I worked on, the first thing

4       you did was you made sure it was true.

5   Q.  Is that the first thing you did and the last thing you

6       did, or were there other things you did before

7       considering whether it was appropriate to proceed with

8       a story?

9   A.  You talked about -- you talked about picking up the

10       phone and receiving a tip.  To take you through the

11       process, you know, the first thing you did when you

12       received the tip was ascertain whether the tip was true.

13           I mean, there were other things, like, for example,

14       you picked up the phone and you saw -- you worked out

15       whether the story was appropriate for the

16       News of the World, so you used your values and

17       experience of the newspaper to see whether that story

18       that the person is phoning in with is appropriate to the

19       News of the World.  And then you went about proving that

20       it was true.  It was never that you sat there thinking,

21       "Oh, well, you know, let's make up this story about this

22       person".  The story had to be true.

23   Q.  How did you go about verifying its truth?

24   A.  Well, there were numerous processes that you went

25       through to prove a story was true.  Do you want to know


                                            91


1       them or --

2   Q.  Yes.

3   A.  I mean, for example, with any story, if you met somebody

4       with a story for the News of the World, the first thing

5       that you did was you sit down and say, "Okay, you're

6       telling me this story.  What evidence have you got that

7       what you're telling me is the truth?" Okay?  So there

8       would be things like text messages.  You're telling me

9       something, how can you then prove that that's true?  Can

10       you show me text messages that prove what you're saying

11       is true?  Can you show me credit card bills?  You said

12       you were somewhere, can you prove that for me?  Are

13       there other people who will back up your story?  Will

14       you sign an affidavit saying that what you're telling me

15       is the truth?

16           There were so many levels that you went through to

17       prove that a story's true, because you're the first

18       gatekeeper, if you like, and then that story that you've

19       managed to establish is true then goes to the news

20       editor and then goes up to the editor.

21   Q.  And then in terms of compliance with the PCC code, in

22       particular privacy issues, but that's not the only

23       issue, what process, if any, do you go through to

24       satisfy yourself that those matters are being addressed?

25   A.  Well, the whole time that you're operating as


                                            92


1       a journalist, you have the PCC code -- you're

2       considering the PCC code at every level.

3   Q.  You've given us a very precise process, if I may say so,

4       in terms of verifying fact or verifying evidence.

5   A.  I'm just trying to explain to somebody who might not

6       know the intricacies of the operation, that's generally

7       how you work.

8   Q.  But in relation to the code, very often it's a balancing

9       exercise between rights of individuals and the public

10       interest.

11   A.  Yes.

12   Q.  Is that a process you were familiar with?

13   A.  It's something that you have to think about as

14       a journalist every day.  You have to consider the PCC

15       code, and I think Colin -- Mr Myler said earlier it's

16       about personal standards, and you have to maintain those

17       personal standards while you're operating as

18       a journalist.

19   Q.  Were there occasions when, apart from the case we've

20       been discussing, when you felt uncomfortable in relation

21       to your obligations under the code on the one hand and

22       what you were being tasked to do in relation to

23       a particular story on the other?

24   A.  No.

25   MR JAY:  Okay.  Thank you, Mr Sanderson.


                                            93


1   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  Facts are one thing.  What about

2       comment?

3   A.  What about comment?

4   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  Yes.  Newspaper stories do not merely

5       consist of a recitation of facts.  They are then the

6       subject of comment, which actually then provides the

7       focus of the story, doesn't it?

8   A.  Yes.

9   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  Would that comment be yours or one of

10       your more senior manager's?

11   A.  I'm sorry, I don't follow.

12   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  I want to know to what extent did you

13       include within your stories comment and context which

14       was yours rather than the facts that you'd actually

15       simply been given.

16   A.  You got the facts and then you wrote the story.

17   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  With your own comments to it?

18   A.  I was quite factual when I wrote my stories.  I didn't

19       really add comment.

20   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  You didn't add comment?  Did you ever

21       see that comment was added?

22   A.  Stories are sometimes changed by subeditors, so you'd

23       write a story, you'd send that through to the news

24       editor, they'd send it through to the subeditors, and it

25       would be changed to fit with the space of the page.


                                            94


1       But, you know.

2   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  But not in any sense to change the

3       slant of the story?

4   A.  Not in my experience.

5   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  I see.  All right.  Thank you.

6   MR JAY:  Thank you, Mr Sanderson.

7           I think the next witness is due to start at 2.00, so

8       we can have a slight longer --

9   LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:  Very good.  All right, thank you.

10       Thank you very much indeed.

11   (12.45 pm)

12                   (The luncheon adjournment)



PDF download:

Thursday 15 December Transcript of Morning Hearing (pdf, 144KB)

click here to download file

Leveson Inquiry: Witness Statement of Daniel Sanderson, 15 December 2011
Leveson Inquiry: Witness Statement of Daniel Sanderson Leveson Inquiry

Thursday 15 December 2011

Statement of Daniel Sanderson

In response to the numbered questions set out in the letter from the Leveson Inquiry dated 2nd December 2011.

1. Please explain exactly how NoW obtained a copy of Dr Kate McCann's diary: you are not required to name any sources, but you are required to identify the precise provenance of the diary, explain the circumstances in which NoW received it, and confirm (if it be the case) that it was of the original which had been seized by the Portuguese authorities.

A story appeared in The Sun newspaper on July 28, 2008, which said that extracts of Kate McCann's diary had emerged in Portugal, covering the first weeks after her daughter Madeleine disappeared.

In the article there were two extracts that Mrs McCann had made in her diary.

I was asked by my news editor lan Edmondson to track down the person who was in possession of the diary and was leaking extracts of it in Portugal.

After Mr Edmondson agreed, I called several newspapers in Portugal to ascertain who had the diary.

I was put in touch with a journalist in Portugal who confirmed that they were in possession of a copy of the diary and were willing to sell it to the NoW for, if my memory serves me correctly, 18,000 Euros.

I believe the newspaper agreed to pay something like 9,000 Euros immediately and the rest on publication of the story. The purchase was authorised by Mr Edmondson.

I liaised with Mr Edmondson and was told to ask a freelance journalist called Gerard Couzens, who is based in Spain, to travel to Portugal to meet the journalist and collect the diary.

From there my involvement ended until the diary reached the offices of the NoW.

My understanding is that Mr Edmondson took control of the diary's delivery to our offices.

I believe that Mr Couzens met the journalist on Friday September 5, 2008 in Portugal and paid her Euro 9,000 for a copy of the diary.

It's my understanding that Mr Couzens delivered the diary to the NoW's offices on Saturday September 6, 2008.

I was first made aware that the newspaper had the document when I returned to the office after the weekend on Tuesday September 9, 2008.

Mr Edmondson showed me the diary that morning.

It did not appear to be the original diary, but a copy that had been translated from English into Portuguese.

MOD100052723

----------------

2. Was the copy NoW obtained in English or Portuguese?

The NoW copy was in Portuguese.

3. What steps, if any, did you take to establish its authenticity and that it was a document which you were entitled to possess?

Over the course of the working week commencing on Tuesday September 9th 2008, I organised for the diary to be translated back into English using a London-based translation service (I cannot recall the name).

It was a laborious task and the final section was completed on Friday September 12, 2008 - two days before the story was published.

I spent the week writing the story as and when sections had been successfully translated.

In terms of its authenticity, we approached the diary from the viewpoint that it was a fake. We had to cross check every entry against our online cuttings system to check that each entry was correct and the diary was genuine.

For example, if there was an entry where it said the McCanns had met The Pope that day, I had to check in cuttings that newspapers had reported that the McCanns had indeed met The Pope on the corresponding date.

My understanding of the situation was that the news editor, Mr Edmondson, would also confirm with the McCann’s press spokesman Clarence Mitchell that the diary was genuine.

4. What was paid for the diary and to whom?

I believe 18,000 Euros were paid to the Portuguese journalist (the P J). It was paid in two parts; 9,000 Euros up front and 9,000 Euros on publication. I can't be certain of this figure, but it is certainly a fairly accurate estimate. I am aware of the approximate figure because that is the price that had been agreed with the PJ in my initial phone conversations with the PJ. The PJ set the price, which I had communicated to Mr Edmondson. Mr Edmondson then authorised both payments to the source. The PJ then contacted me after publication to organise the second payment, which was authorised by Mr Edmondson.

5. By what reasoning process did you and others at News International (whom the Inquiry requires you to identify) deem it appropriate to publish extracts from the diary given its the obvious privacy implications, including the fact that you knew or must have know that the diary was confidential (if it is your position that you did not know this, please explain its basis)?

In order to answer this question, I need to explain how a national newspaper works. As a reporter, I reported to my line manager Mr Edmondson, the news editor or assistant editor (news) as was his official title. Mr Edmondson reported to the editor, Colin Myler, and other senior executives.

Once I had obtained the diary, obviously there were a number of discussions between myself and Mr Edmondson as to how the piece should be written sensitively.

MOD100052724

-----------------------

Then after I had written it, the decision to publish ultimately rested with Mr Myler.

I feel that it is appropriate to note that in my role as a reporter, I did not have any say as to whether the story was published.

But I think in terms of considering it being appropriate to publish Mrs McCann's diary and the obvious considerations over privacy, the view taken by senior executives was that there were all sorts of false allegations being made about the McCanns and they really were being pilloried in the press, that this account gave a true picture of the McCanns and dispelled some of the lies being written about them.

The NoW had always been wholly supportive of the McCanns' search for their daughter. Two weeks after she went missing in 2007, the newspaper teamed up with wealthy businessmen to pledge £1.5 million to anyone who could help with information leading to Madeleine's safe return.

However, with hindsight, the decision to publish Mrs McCann's diary was clearly the wrong one. Having read how the article made Mrs McCann feel, I intend to apologise to her for writing the story once I have given evidence.

Although I feel it is important to point out that I had no say in whether or not the diary was published.

6. Why did you not contact the Dr Kate McCann in advance of publication in order to check the facts and in particular to obtain her consent to publication?

It was clear to me that we could not publish the story without the McCanns permission.

My understanding of the situation was that Mr Edmondson had sought permission to publish the diary from Mr Mitchell.

I acquired this understanding because Mr Edmondson told me that he was going to speak to Mr Mitchell about the story at the end of the week.

It is only natural Mr Edmondson sought that permission because he had an on going relationship with Mr Mitchell. As I understand it, they spoke almost daily on the phone to talk about stories connected to the case.

[I have only spoken to Mr Mitchell once about three weeks ago to inform him of my intention to apologise to the McCanns for my involvement in the story that upset Mrs McCann.]

I didn't actually ever have the conversation with Mr Edmondson specifically that he had received permission to publish from the McCanns.

I assumed that because that is what he said he intended to do and the story was published, that he had received permission from Mr Mitchell.

However, following publication, News International released a statement saying they published the extracts in the belief held in good faith that that they had permission to do so.

MOD100052725

--------------------------

They said it was now clear that their belief was misplaced and that Kate neither approved of nor knew that the extracts were to be published.

I believe that the newspaper agreed to make a donation to be used in the search for Madeleine and published a correction on September 21, 2008.

It is clear from that statement that Mr Myler believed that the newspaper had permission to publish by the McCanns when it had not.

I was not responsible for contacting Mr Mitchell to obtain permission to publish Mrs McCann's diary.

7. What consideration if any was given by you to any public interest considerations; and if so, what were they?

As I said in response to question five, I think the view at the NoW was that there were a lot of lies being published about the McCanns and this was a supportive piece that put the record straight.

It was part of the Portuguese police case into the disappearance of Madeleine and it was an account of how Mrs McCann was feeling after her daughter vanished.

8. What legal advice, if any, did you take on any of foregoing issues?

As I understand it, Mr Edmondson, Mr Myler and other senior executives would have taken advice from Tom Crone, News International's former legal affairs manager. In his absence, they would have sought advice from Justin Walford, The Sun's legal manager.

I wasn't party to any of the legal conversations concerning publication.

9. Please outline any discussions you had, if any, at sub-editorial and editorial level on the foregoing issues.

I liaised with Mr Edmondson about how the piece should be written in terms of sensitivity and the evidence I had gathered over its authenticity.

It is normal for a reporter to discuss with his news editor how he (the news editor) wants a story written.

It was my job to seek to determine that the diary was genuine and ensure that it was written as sensitively as possible.

...

Daniel Sanderson

....12.2001

MOD100052725

--------------------------

PDF download:

Thursday 15 December Witness Statement of Daniel Sanderson (pdf, 174KB)

click here to download file

NOTW reporter apologises for Kate McCann diaries story, 15 December 2011
NOTW reporter apologises for Kate McCann diaries story The Telegraph

Daniel Sanderson told the Leveson Inquiry he is "genuinely sorry" for his role in the publication of Kate McCann's private diaries in the News of the World.

Daniel Sanderson

By Matthew Holehouse
1:41PM GMT 15 Dec 2011

Mr Sanderson said he was the most junior reporter at the newspaper when he was asked by Ian Edmondson, the news editor, to obtain a copy of Mrs McCann's diaries. They had been leaked by the Portuguese police to local journalists.

Sanderson obtained a copy for 3,000 euros, with a further 20,000 to be paid to the source after the story was printed.

He said he was acting under the belief that Edmondson would seek permission from Clarence Mitchell, the family's spokesman, before printing the extracts.

Sanderson said he spoke to Mr Mitchell for the first time three weeks ago, to tell him he wished to publicly apologise for the story.

"That's not just for this inquiry. That's because I'm genuinely sorry,"

"I did feel very bad that my involvement in the story made Mrs McCann feel the way that it had. Why was it the wrong decision to publish? Because they didn't have the permission. They didn't have Mrs McCann's permission to publish," he said.

Mrs McCann told the inquiry she felt "violated" by the story. "I’d written these words at the most desperate time of my life, and it was my only way of communicating with Madeleine".

Sanderson told Lord Justice Leveson the notion the News of the World printed untrue stories was "nonsense".

"The first thing you did when you received a tip was to ascertain whether the tip was true. It was never that you sat there thinking, let's make up this story about this person. The story had to be true," he said. Journalists would seek evidence such as text messages and credit card bills to support a source's claims, he said.

He told the inquiry into press ethics the paper was a "high pressure environment" but he did not encounter bullying.

"In order to work at the News of the World you have to give a certain part of your life over to it. It's very, very hard work and the phone is constantly on. There's no point making any plans with friends, because if you do they are likely to be cancelled because the news editor wants you to go on a job," he said.

With thanks to Nigel at McCann Files

TO HELP KEEP THIS SITE ON LINE PLEASE CONSIDER

Site Policy Sitemap

Contact details

Website created by Pamalam