Jerry Lawton (Daily Star), Matt Baggott (former chief constable
of Leicestershire police), Matt Sprake (photographer) and Rebekah Brooks give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry.
Police blamed for McCann and Jefferies media
mistakes, 20 March 2012
Police blamed for McCann and Jefferies media mistakes Press Gazette
By PA Mediapoint
Police could have reduced negative media coverage in the cases of Madeleine McCann's disappearance
and Joanna Yeates's murder if they had given journalists off-the-record guidance, Daily Star crime correspondent Jerry
Lawton told the Leveson Inquiry.
Lawton praised the way many UK forces share information with reporters, in particular
West Yorkshire Police and Greater Manchester Police.
But he criticised Leicestershire Police, who assisted Portuguese
detectives in investigating what happened to Madeleine, and Avon and Somerset Police, who led the Joanna Yeates investigation.
"Unusually both forces refused to give any guidance on any of the multiple lines of inquiry that came in to most
newspapers during those on-going investigations," he said in a written statement.
Kate and Gerry McCann, and Christopher Jefferies, who was wrongly arrested over Joanna Yeates's murder, have told the
Leveson Inquiry of their distress at a series of damaging newspaper articles about them.
Lawton noted in his statement:
"It is surely of significance that the cases in which individual police forces have chosen not to engage with the press
have resulted in some of the most vociferous complaints about coverage.
"Had Leicestershire Police chosen
to give off-the-record guidance to the press about the state of the Madeleine McCann investigation then coverage may have
been markedly different.
"Instead Leicestershire greeted every query with, 'It is a Portuguese police
investigation, you need to contact the Portuguese police', in full knowledge - as you have previously heard in the inquiry
- of the fact the Portuguese police refused to comment officially on any aspect of the case due to that country's official
He added: "Had Avon and Somerset Police chosen to give discreet off-the-record guidance
regarding Mr Jefferies' background and the nature of his arrest it is possible he may have been spared the ordeal he described
to the inquiry.
"In my experience journalists, news desks and editors listen to, respect and react to police
'Unbelievable that a newspaper should go to those lengths'
in the day the inquiry heard claims from retired criminal investigator Dave Harrison that the News of the World potentially
jeopardised the Suffolk Strangler investigation by spying on a surveillance team from the Serious Organised Crime Agency
Daily Express crime correspondent John Twomey, who is chairman of the Crime Reporters' Association, said it was
"shocking" that the paper followed a police surveillance team.
"It's just quite unbelievable,
really, that a newspaper should go to those lengths," he told the inquiry.
"I think it would have taken
most reporters - certainly most crime reporters - by surprise."
Twomey denied a suggestion that journalists
paid for meals in top restaurants with senior police officers as an "inducement".
He said former Metropolitan
Police counter-terrorism chief Andy Hayman was "freer in the way he expressed himself" after having a glass or two
of wine over lunch but never gave away any secrets.
The crime reporter also voiced concerns about a proposal that
police officers should have to record all contacts with journalists.
He said: "If, say, a Detective Chief
Inspector is anxious to get promotion in the future, and a rule like that is introduced, should it be, then he or she will
probably cease all contact.
"Because when they go for promotion or maybe a selection board for a specialist
CID unit, they don't want anyone to access the details and say 'Well, hang on, that person on the list three years
ago, for instance, has seen crime reporters every now and again'."
Sunday Express associate editor James
Murray, meanwhile, warned that The Guardian’s July 2011 revelation that NoW journalists listened to Milly Dowler’s
voicemail messages could “fatally” damage relationships between journalists and the police.
told the inquiry he had heard stories in the past about the NoW employing former detectives or ex-special forces troops to
carry out investigations.
He said he understood that the now-defunct Sunday tabloid used its resources to conduct
surveillance to find out, for example, whether two celebrities were having an affair.
"There's a general
appreciation that the News of the World - pretty much a lone wolf - was carrying out that sort of activity," he said.
The journalist also said that police officers could become less likely to divulge a good story after drinking alcohol.
"Some of the best information I've got is over a cup of tea when everyone is very sober," he said.
Kate and Gerry McCann urge PM to save 'no
win, no fee' for libel cases, 26 March 2012
Kate and Gerry McCann urge PM to save 'no win, no fee'
for libel cases The Guardian
Parents of missing Madeleine join victims of tabloid excess and libel reformers in open letter to David Cameron
Owen Bowcott, legal affairs correspondent
Monday 26 March 2012
Kate and Gerry McCann, the couple whose daughter Madeleine went missing
in Portugal, have written to the prime minister urging him to abandon his government's plans to alter no-win, no-fee legal
The couple, making their first public intervention in politics, are among a group of libel reform campaigners
and well-known victims of tabloid newspapers who warn that plans to rewrite what are known as conditional fee agreements (CFAs)
will ensure that only the rich have access to justice in future.
The letter, to be delivered to David Cameron on
Monday, comes before Tuesday's third reading in the House of Lords of the legal aid, sentencing and punishment of offenders
bill (Laspo), which has already suffered nine defeats on different amendments at the hands of peers.
is also signed by Christopher Jefferies, who won libel damages from eight newspapers over false allegations during the Joanna
Yeates murder inquiry in Bristol, and a consultant cardiologist who had to defend himself against libel claims when he criticised
It is the first time the McCanns have voiced their concerns about the impact of the government's
The letter has been co-ordinated by Hacked Off, which campaigned for a public inquiry into phone
hacking, and the Libel Reform Campaign.
As well as cutting £350m out of the Ministry of Justice's annual
legal aid budget, the Laspo bill will reconfigure no-win, no fee agreements. It prevents claimants from recovering their expensive
insurance premiums and lawyers' success fees from losing defendants. Instead, the costs will have to be paid out of any
Martin Moore, of Hacked Off, said: "The government suggest they are going to deal with costs
reform for privacy and libel cases in the forthcoming defamation bill, because they accept there is a problem. In that case
they need to remove these sorts of cases from the scope of the current legal aid bill. That would also mean that the Leveson
Inquiry can then be allowed to look at this issue as well without having been pre-empted by the government."
The justice secretary, Kenneth Clarke, has condemned the current system of CFAs for encouraging a "compensation culture"
under which claimants sue too readily without thinking much about the costs incurred. Those with good causes will always find
lawyers to take on their cases, it is argued.
Opponents of the changes, such as the Law Society, which represents
solicitors, warn that it will make it unattractive for lawyers to take up cases and will stop the less well-off from obtaining
redress through the courts. The letter to the prime minister warns: "Parliament is on the cusp of passing a law that
will grossly restrict access to justice for ordinary people in privacy and libel cases, without even any saving to the public
purse. We strongly object to the passing of this unjust measure and urge you to amend it before it is too late.
successful libel defendant obviously does not get any damages so these reforms will prevent all but the rich from being able
to defend their right to free speech against wealthy or corporate libel claimants.
"In future ordinary defendants,
like Peter Wilmshurst, Hardeep Singh and Heather Brooke, will also be unable to get support for legal action taken against
them often by large institutions with deep pockets trying to silence them. That would be bad news for science and medicine,
for free religious debate and for transparency in the public interest.
"And victims of the tabloid press like
Christopher Jefferies, Bob and Sally Dowler, Kate and Gerry McCann and Robert Murat will not be able to take legal action
against the tabloids for hacking into their phones, for false accusations, and for gross misrepresentation."
Kate and Gerry McCann accepted damages of £550,000 and a high court apology from Express Newspapers over "utterly
false and defamatory" stories published about the disappearance of their daughter in 2007. The letter argues that newspaper
corporations with big legal departments will be able to intimidate victims of false stories because they would face millions
of pounds in costs if they lose.
Wilmshurst, one of the signatories, is a consultant cardiologist who used a CFA
to successfully defend himself in three libel actions brought by an American company. He said: "The government say they
expect people to pay lawyers' success fees from their damages. But defendants in libel actions don't win damages,
they only win their free speech rights.
"These reforms obviously don't work for innocent libel defendants
and I am shocked the government has not yet listened to our plight. If this bill becomes law in its current state, people
like me will not only have to risk their house for the other side's costs, but would not be able to find a lawyer. It
is a terrible attack on free expression of doctors and scientists."
Dr Simon Singh, of the Libel Reform Campaign,
said: "Although I did not wholly rely on a no-win, no-fee agreement when I successfully defended myself against the British
Chiropractic Association, scientists, doctors and writers like me nearly always need some help in financing a defence against
a wealthy libel claimant. Without proper provision, we will be unable to defend our freedom of expression. I know the government
understands the importance of reforming libel law to make it fairer for all, so I am optimistic the problem will be solved."
Last year the parents of the murdered teenager Milly Dowler also wrote to Cameron asking him to reconsider the bill
urging him to abandon legal reforms that will prevent victims suing for compensation. A Downing Street spokesman said on that
occasion: "The government is absolutely committed to ensuring that people can access the justice system regardless of
their financial situation, which is why we are committed to maintaining 'no win, no fee' arrangements.
are many deserving cases brought before the courts. But we have to stop the abuse of the system by others pursing excessive,
costly and unnecessary cases. Under the current arrangements, innocent defendants can face enormous costs, which can discourage
them from fighting cases. This simply isn't fair.
"By balancing the costs more fairly between the claimant
and defendant, these changes will ensure that claimants will still be able to bring deserving claims, and receive damages
where they are due, and most importantly they will make the no win, no fee system sustainable for the future."
The Dowlers' lawyer, Mark Lewis, said: "The reply we got from David Cameron simply said that their sort of high-profile
case would always be able to get legal help, but said nothing about how they could protect themselves from Mr Murdoch's
costs if they had lost, given the abolition of the insurance arrangements. And anyway, why should only so-called high-profile
cases have access to justice? The law should not pick and choose in that way."
Dear David Cameron: Full text of the open
letter on legal aid bill, 26 March 2012
Dear David Cameron: Full text of the open letter on legal
aid bill The Guardian
'Parliament on the cusp of passing a law that will grossly restrict access to justice for ordinary people in privacy
and libel cases'
Monday 26 March 2012
Dear Prime Minister
The legal aid sentencing
and punishment of offenders bill will have its third and final reading on Tuesday in the House of Lords. Parliament is therefore
on the cusp of passing a law that will grossly restrict access to justice for ordinary people in privacy and libel cases,
without even any saving to the public purse. We strongly object to the passing of this unjust measure and urge you to amend
it before it is too late.
Of course we are the first to recognise that legal costs in many cases are too high and
also that some reforms are justified, but the bill includes changes to conditional fee ("no-win, no-fee") agreements
and to after-the-event ("no-win, no-premium") insurance schemes which will effectively make them non-viable in libel
and privacy cases, where financial damages to a successful claimant are far too small to cover these costs as the bill currently
proposes they should. So only the rich could take on a big newspaper group. A successful libel defendant obviously does not
get any damages so these reforms will prevent all but the rich from being able to defend their right to free speech against
wealthy or corporate libel claimants. Although the aim of reducing costs is very laudable, the position of lower and middle
income claimants and defendants in these types of cases has simply been ignored.
Even if a lawyer will take a high-profile
case without a "success fee" that compensates for the risk of losing some cases, or even does the case pro-bono,
there is still the enormous risk to defendants and claimants that if they lose, they will have to pay the other side's
costs. A person of ordinary means in that position basically has the choice of living with injustice or risk losing their
Lord Justice Jackson recognised this problem when he proposed an alternative to insurance in his review but
the government – without explanation – has not accepted his recommendations in these cases.
this means that in future ordinary defendants, like Peter Wilmshurst, Hardeep Singh and Heather Brooke will also be unable
to get support for legal action taken against them, often by large institutions with deep pockets trying to silence them.
That would be bad news for science and medicine, for free religious debate and for transparency in the public interest. And
victims of the tabloid press like Christopher Jefferies, Bob and Sally Dowler, Kate and Gerry McCann and Robert Murat will
not be able to take legal action against the tabloids for hacking into their phones, for false accusations and for gross misrepresentation.
Newspaper corporations with big legal departments and their own insurance would scare people off by the prospect of facing
a million pounds worth of costs if they lose. This is obviously both wrong and unfair to the ordinary citizen with a good
The bill simply fails to consider people like us. Unless a change is made on Tuesday, the government will
have succeeded only in uniting both claimants and defendants from modest backgrounds – together with their supporters
– against the government and much of the good will generated by the setting up of the Leveson inquiry and promising
a libel reform bill will be lost.
We urge you to take action now to amend the legal aid, sentencing and punishment
of offenders bill to specifically remove libel and privacy cases, or you will stand accused of being unfair to ordinary people
and giving yet more power to large media corporations and corporate libel bullies.
Gerry and Kate McCann
Leveson inquiry: Press speculation 'hindered'
Madeleine McCann inquiry, 28 March 2012
Leveson inquiry: Press speculation 'hindered'
Madeleine McCann inquiry journalism.co.uk
Former chief constable of Leicestershire police said a 'greater understanding of the complexity and consequences
of speculation' should be learnt from the McCann case
By: Rachel McAthy
28 March 2012
The former chief constable of Leicestershire police, now chief constable
of the police service of Northern Ireland, today said that "speculation" in the UK press did "hinder"
the inquiry into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
The inquiry was told that the Leicestershire force, covering
the McCann's local area, was "asked to co-ordinate the UK response to assist the Portuguese enquiry".
In evidence to the Leveson inquiry chief constable Matt Baggott told the court the force received complaints about press
behaviour "around disruption to daily life caused by a large media presence".
Baggott said he wrote two
letters to "all the prominent editors" calling for "restraint in reporting on the case".
the letters he wrote he had "been surprised at the reporting of some alleged facts" and was "deeply concerned
at the implications".
He added that the reaction was "not hugely positive" given that "speculation
Baggott also told the inquiry "there could have been a greater authority to explain the boundaries
of what that press reporting should have been".
"The difficulty was it involved a European dimension
as well as a national one. But there could be stronger guidelines and consequences."
He added that the speculation
occurring in areas of the press "certainly hindered the inquiries to find and trace Madeleine simply because of the reaction
that came from the media speculation".
Giving evidence to the Leveson inquiry last year the parents of Madeleine
McCann said they were "tried by the media" in the wake of her disappearance.
They also spoke about a
"tremendous amount of speculation", with coverage becoming often "exaggerated" and other reports being
"simply made up" and "inaccurate, untruthful and incredibly damaging".
Asked what lessons could
be learnt from the McCann case, Baggott today said while the inquiry is ongoing "the lesson to be learnt is probably
a greater understanding of the complexity and consequences of speculation and loose reporting of facts".
is a serious issue for the press to consider", he added.
"I don't think some of this speculation
was necessary ...it certainly wasn't practical and it certainly wasn't proportionate.
"... A greater
understanding of consequence would have been appropriate."
Speaking more generally about police officers disclosing
information he said there is a need for a "balance" to be found "between giving local colleagues the ability
to storytell with the right ethical guidance and support, which is entirely appropriate, while making sure the very real issues
of the inappropriate use of information, whether that's for personal gain or through gossip still remains under tight
"Our relationships with the media probably need to be reasserted based on what the man or woman
on the street would think."
He added: "It should be amicable and it should be very friendly, but it should
always professional and for a purpose."
Leveson inquiry: ex-police chief defends
not preventing false McCann DNA reports, 28 March 2012
|Leveson inquiry: ex-police chief defends not preventing
false McCann DNA reports The Guardian
Matthew Baggott says it was correct 'not to put the record straight' over false reports about Madeleine McCann
Wednesday 28 March 2012 18.40 BST
The UK police were right not to "put the record straight"
over false reports claiming Gerry and Kate McCann were implicated in their daughter's disappearance, the Leveson inquiry
Matthew Baggott, the former chief constable of Leicestershire police, told the inquiry on Wednesday
he could not have released information about DNA tests conducted in the UK to counter leaks by the Portuguese police that
falsely claimed they showed the McCanns had hidden Madeleine in the boot of a hire car in Portugal.
there were both legal and professional reasons for this. Portuguese secrecy laws made it "utterly wrong to have somehow,
in an off-the-record way, have breached what was a very clear legal requirement upon the Portuguese themselves", he told
Lord Justice Leveson.
He also said the Leicestershire force's priority was to maintain a positive relationship
with the Portuguese police, with a view to "eventually ... resolving what happened to that poor child".
Last November the Leveson inquiry heard how the Daily Express reported there was DNA evidence that could show the little
girl's body had been stored in the spare tyre well of a hire car.
It turned out the analysis conducted in the
UK was "inconclusive" and there was no foundation for making that allegation. Express Newspapers paid £550,000
damages to the McCann's in 2008 for inaccurate reporting by the Daily Express and the publisher's three other titles.
Leveson asked Baggot about evidence submitted by a Daily Star crime reporter two weeks ago that the Leicestershire
police "knew perfectly well that the results didn't demonstrate that", and could have given off-the-record briefings
to British journalists not to report a DNA link.
"Even with the benefit of hindsight, sir, I'm still convinced
we did the right thing and I think integrity and confidence, particularly with the Portuguese, featured very highly in our
decision-making at that time," said Baggott.
He added: "So the relationship of trust and confidence would
have been undermined if we had gone off the record in some way or tried to put the record straight, contrary to the way in
which the Portuguese law was configured and their own leadership of that."
When they appeared before Leveson
late last year, Gerry and Kate McCann told how they were left distraught by false claims in the UK press that they were responsible
for their daughter's disappearance or her death.
Leveson later accused the Daily Express of writing "complete
piffle" and "tittle tattle" about Madeleine McCann.
McCann holiday photos 'appropriate',
18 July 2012
Wednesday, 18 July 2012
A photographer has told the Leveson Inquiry he thought finding and photographing the parents of missing Madeleine McCann
when they were on holiday in Canada had been "appropriate".
Matthew Sprake, who runs a picture agency,
said The People newspaper had asked him to cover Kate and Gerry McCann's first holiday "without Madeleine" in
2008 - the year after the little girl vanished while on holiday with her parents in Portugal.
Mr Sprake, 42, managing
director of NewsPics and a former civilian photographer with the Metropolitan Police, suggested that publicity might help
find Madeleine - who was three when she disappeared in Praia da Luz on May 3 2007.
"I have got to be careful
what I say because of where we are," Mr Sprake told inquiry chairman Lord Justice Leveson. "The information came
from a source close to the family. At the time I thought it was appropriate."
He added: "With the McCanns
there was feeling by keeping Madeleine in the news it was helpful to the cause of finding Madeleine."
said he had been sent to Canada by The People and had worked with a People journalist.
Asked what his "brief"
had been, he said: "The McCanns were going on holiday for the first time without Madeleine. To find them. Photograph
Mr Sprake said he had taken photographs at Vancouver airport and said he had not "set up"
"I would not know whether something had been set up with a newspaper, by an agent,"
said Mr Sprake. "The set of pictures we got at the airport were not set up by me."
Mr and Mrs McCann
gave evidence to the Leveson Inquiry in November, when they told Lord Justice Leveson that they had been "hemmed in"
by journalists after leaving Portugal and returning to their home in Rothley, Leicestershire, following Madeleine's disappearance.
Wish She Was Here, 13 July 2008
Wish She Was Here The People
EXCLUSIVE Maddie in parents' hearts as they take the twins on first break without her
Moving pictures of holiday brave McCann family thought would be impossible to bear
By Daniel Jones And Tracey Kandohla
13 July 2008
A young family bid farewell at the end of a summer break - and for Kate and Gerry McCann it can only be a deeply emotional
For the parents of missing Maddie simply taking the decision to go on holiday was almost too hard to bear.
It was the couple's first proper getaway with their three-year-old twins since that fateful trip to Portugal 14
Not for them the excitement and anticipation of other holidaymakers.
Not for them the promise
of time free from the stresses of workaday life.
For Kate and Gerry their threeweek trip to Canada could hardly
be anything but a painful reminder of what happened in Praia da Luz in May last year. And Maddie did not leave their minds
for a moment.
Yet the courageous couple knew it had to be done. For their own sake, and their twins, they knew
they needed to take that painful step and go abroad without Madeleine.
As our deeply moving pictures show, hugs
and tears marked the poignant goodbye to friends and expat family members at Vancouver airport as the holiday ended.
Doctors Kate and Gerry, anxious to keep everything as normal as possible, watched son Sean in his favourite Harry Dinosaur
PJs as he pulled a Noddy case towards check-in.
Blonde Amelie - the image of Maddie, who is now the same age as
her sister when she vanished - revelled in loving hugs from Gerry while the family prepared for the nine-hour flight home
Kate, dressed in pink top and cargo trousers, managed a small smile as the struggled with luggage.
But the strain was never far from the surface.
The couple, both 40, had stayed with Kate's aunt, Norah
Paul - who explained how the holiday meant one agonising hurdle was now behind them.
Norah, sister of Kate's
dad, said after waving off the McCanns: "They had a lovely time, very relaxing. It was all about them getting away.
"They really enjoyed being away from the spotlight. We spent a lot of time at the beach. The beaches here are
beautiful." Norah's daughter and neighbours who got to know Kate and Gerry during their stay were also at the airport.
It was Norah, who emigrated to Canada several years ago, who had a key role in persuading the McCanns to take their
first holiday since Madeleine vanished.
Norah - originally from Liverpool, like Kate - spoke up in support of the
couple after they were named as official suspects by Portuguese police.
During their stay in Canada the family
are also believed to have met up with vicar's wife Susan Haynes-Hubbard.
Her husband is minister at the church
in Praia da Luz where the McCanns prayed each day. Canadian Susan became a tower of strength to Gerry and Kate in the days
after Madeleine went missing from the family's holiday apartment.
Another factor in the McCanns' choice
of holiday destination was the sheer vastness of the country around Vancouver - which promised them much-needed peace and
Vancouver is the capital of British Columbia - four times the size of the UK and marked by dense forests,
miles of rugged Pacific coastline and views of the snow-capped Rockies.
It is thought Vancouver's Kitsilano
beach became one of the family's favourites.
A close friend said yesterday: "They had more time to think
about Madeleine than ever and it was incredibly painful at times.
"They knew the holiday would be sad and
poignant as well as incredibly healing.
"The family spent much of their break on the beach and the twins had
a brilliant time.
"Sean and Amelie have their big sister's love of swimming and enjoyed many sessions
in the warm Pacific waters.
"It was very difficult at times for Kate and Gerry to be splashing around with
the twins and there being no Maddie there to join in the fun with them."
After their return home to Rothley,
Leics, on Friday, Gerry highlighted the pain the family felt at going away without their elder daughter. He said on his internet
diary: "We have managed to have a break visiting family.
"Sean and Amelie have had a brilliant time and
it has been great for me to spend so much time with them."
But cardiologist Gerry - on his first holiday since
returning to work full-time at Leicester's Glenfield Hospital - added: "Although this has been a relaxing break,
it has been incredibly difficult for Kate and me to have been on holiday without Madeleine.
It is all too apparent
what is missing." The McCanns' spokesman Clarence Mitchell said yesterday: "It was just not the same without
Madeleine. They missed her so much. They had as reasonable a break as possible under the circumstances.
they could never switch off and get away from it completely.
"Everyone needs a holiday, Kate and Gerry included.
They have always felt they didn't want a holiday while Madeleine is still missing.
"But they felt it was
the right time and chose to have a break as much for the twins as themselves."
While away the family were
kept in touch about any developments in the hunt for their daughter.
Mr Mitchell said: "Kate and Gerry were
trying to have a relaxing time and I didn't want to keep bothering them but I did text them a few times to give updates.
"They obviously wanted to be kept informed of what was happening."
Goes On The People (link as above)
By Marc Baker
Sunday 13 July 2008
Even Canada could not give the McCanns
total escape from the drama and distress of the Maddie case.
Just days after the couple jetted out they were told
Portuguese police had closed the investigation.
But it then emerged the cops have until the end of July to decide
on the move.
The McCanns' spokesman Clarence Mitchell vowed: "The search for Madeleine will go on with
or without the police's assistance."
Then last Monday Leicestershire police agreed to hand the couple
evidence collected in their inquiries. The information could help private investigators hired by the McCanns.
couple also won the backing of MEPs in their call for a Europe-wide child abduction alert system.
It means much
greater co-operation between countries when a youngster is reported missing.A source said: "It was a great end to the
holiday to hear that their campaigning had paid off."
We Say The
People (no online link, appears in paper edition only)
Anyone who has lost
a child will know that the months that follow are a sea of grief broken by islands of firsts.
There will be the
first Christmas without them. The first birthday they are not there to celebrate.
There will be little firsts like
the missing Mother's Day card and big firsts like the anniversary of their loss.
For Kate and Gerry McCann
last week it was their first family holiday without their beloved Madeleine.
And that was bound to be the most
difficult first of all because it was on their last summer holiday that she disappeared.
We understand that no
holiday can ever be the same without Maddie.
But for the sake of the twins it was right to go on one.
So the first family holiday is a milestone.
The next stage, for this family, of the rest of their lives.
PEOPLE PICTURE EXCLUSIVE: Moving pictures of holiday brave McCann family thought would be
impossible to bear, 13 July 2008
|Click to enlarge
|Click to enlarge
Rebekah Brooks at the Leveson inquiry
- as it happened, 11 May 2012
|Rebekah Brooks at the Leveson inquiry - as it happened
Guardian News Blog
By Josh Halliday and John Plunkett
Friday 11 May 2012 17.54 BST
• Defends 'Sarah's law' campaign but says she has some regrets
• May have discussed
hacking story with Met's John Yates
• News Corp lobbyist's email says Hunt asked him for advice
discussed News Corp bid over dinner with Osborne
• Discussed hacking allegations with Cameron in 2009-11
• Had 'informal role' in lobbying for News Corp's BSkyB bid
• Brooks discussed News Corp-Sky
bid with Cameron, Osborne
• Met Cameron on at least three occasions over Christmas 2010
denies Cameron texted her 12 times a day
• Says it was more like once a week, sometimes twice
Politicians did not use her to get access to Murdoch, she says
• Brooks commiserated by Cameron, Osborne, Blair
when left NI
|Leveson inquiry: Paul Dacre
9.43am: Good morning
and welcome to the Leveson inquiry live blog.
Rebekah Brooks, the former News International chief
executive, will give evidence in a full-day hearing.
It will be the first time Brooks has made any public statement
since 19 July 2011, when she gave evidence to the Commons culture, media and sport select committee on phone hacking.
Brooks, the ex-editor of both the Sun and the News of the World, will face a series of questions about her relationship
with former prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, but the inquiry is likely to place
extra scrutiny on her dealings with David Cameron. The prime minister was reported to have offered his personal
support to Brooks after she resigned from News International at the height of the phone-hacking scandal in July last year.
Brooks is unlikely to be asked about the ongoing police investigations into phone hacking or payments to police officers.
She is currently on police bail after being arrested on suspicion of conspiring to intercept voicemail messages and of corruption
on 17 July last year, and separately held on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice on 13 March this year.
A close confidante of Rupert Murdoch, Brooks declined four times to give evidence to MPs on phone
hacking between July 2009 and May 2011, according to the select committee report published last week.
who edited the News of the World from 2000 to 2003, was criticised by the Commons cross-party select committee earlier in
May for overseeing a culture at the Sunday tabloid in which reporters acted unethically in their dogged coverage of the Milly
Dowler murder investigation.
"The attempts by the News of the World to get a scoop on Milly Dowler
led to a considerable amount of valuable police resource being redirected to the pursuit of false leads," the committee
said in its phone-hacking report.
"For those actions, and the culture which permitted them, the editor should
accept responsibility."Please note that comments have been switched off for legal reasons.
9.57am: Brooks arrived at the Royal Courts of Justice just before 9.15am
in a black Land Rover, according to ITV News cameras.
- Extract relevant to the McCann case -
12.49pm: Brooks is asked about the serialisation in the Sunday Times and the
Sun of a book by Kate McCann, the mother of Madeleine.
Gerry McCann told the inquiry that they were initially "horrified"
about the serialisation, but were later convinced after News International pledged to back their campaign if they agreed to
Brooks can't remember how much News International paid for the book serialisation.
"Hundreds of thousands. It wasn't £1m. Half a million maybe?"
She adds: "I had always
got on very well with Gerry and Kate McCann. I think if asked they would be very positive about the Sun. In this case I thought
Dominic Mohan's idea to run the campaign, this review of Madeleine's case by the home secretary, was the right thing
to do ... I don't think I spoke to Theresa May directly. Dominic [Mohan] may have done."
12.52pm: Brooks says she did not take the McCann issue up with Downing Street.
Dominic Mohan or Tom Newton-Dunn, the Sun's political editor, will have spoken to No 10 or the Home Office about reopening
the Madeleine investigation after the Sun's campaign, she says.
Was there an ultimatum or threat to the home
"I'm pretty sure there will not have been a threat, but you will have to ask Dominic Mohan,"
Jay says he has been told that Brooks intervened personally with the prime minister and said the Sun
would put Theresa May on the front page every day until the paper's demands were met.
Brooks says that is not
true. "I did not say to the prime minister we would put Theresa May on the front page every day. If I'd had any conversations
with No 10 directly they would not have been particularly about that," she adds.
Lord Justice Leveson intervenes. He asks whether Brooks was involved in a strategy to threaten No 10 in order to obtain a
review of the Madeleine investigation.
"I was certainly part of a strategy to launch a campaign in order to
get a review for the McCanns," Brooks says, disputing that it was a "threat".
me another word for it, would you?"
Leveson appears unconvinced.
12.57pm: Jay suggests the government yielded to Brooks's pressure
to reopen the McCann investigation. "It only took about a day," he notes, drily.
Brooks insists that
this was a worthwhile campaign.
Transcript The Leveson Inquiry
11 May 2012
- Extract -
Let's see if we can just take one case study and see
1 whether there's any validity in that case study.
2 A. Okay, right.
3 Q. You remember the McCanns serialisation case?
4 A. Yes, I do.
5 Q. Actually, we have Dr McCann's evidence
in relation to
6 this in the bundle at page 57 under tab 6. Do you
7 that there? We're working from the transcript of the
8 evidence this Inquiry received on 23 November 2011.
9 A. Right,
10 Q. If you look at page 57, line 11, the question I asked
12 "You talk about a meeting with Rebekah
13 Are you on the right page?
14 A. They're not numbered in that way.
15 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:
They are, actually.
16 A. 57, is it? At the bottom?
JUSTICE LEVESON: No, it says 15 at the bottom, but
18 each page has
four pages on it.
19 A. Yes, right. I have it, sorry. Thank you, sir. Yes?
20 MR JAY: The question was:
"You talk about a meeting with Rebekah Brooks which
22 led to a review
of your case, a formal review. Just to
23 assist us a little bit with
that, can you recall when
24 that was?"
Dr McCann's answer was:
1 "I think it's probably worth
just elaborating a
2 little bit because it's quite a complex decision-making
3 process. News International actually bid for the rights
4 to the book along with HarperCollins, and one of their
pitches was the fact that they would serialise the book
6 across all their
titles. We were somewhat horrified at
7 the prospect of that, given
the way we had been treated
8 in the past and the deal was actually done
9 publishers, Transworld, that excluded serialisation.
10 "Now, we were subsequently approached by
11 News International and Associated to serialise the book,
and after much deliberation, we had a couple of meetings
13 with the general
manager and -- Will Lewis and
14 Rebekah Brooks and others, and what
swung the decision
15 to serialise was News International committed to backing
16 the campaign and the search for Madeleine."
Pausing there, there was going to be serialisation
18 in both the Sunday
Times and the Sun, I believe. Do you
19 recall that?
A. I do.
21 Q. I think this is the year 2010, by which time you were
chief executive officer, weren't you?
23 A. That's correct.
Q. What was the price that you paid for the serialisation?
25 Can you
1 A. I can't remember, actually. I -- it's hundreds of
2 thousands of pounds.
3 Q. A million, we've
4 A. No, it wasn't. It wasn't a million. Half a million,
5 maybe. I can't remember. I mean, I can -- there are
6 ways to find out, but I'm not sure it was a million.
Q. Okay. I paraphrase the rest of what Dr McCann said,
he couldn't take this issue much further. Your
9 intervention was
successful in securing a review of the
10 case. Do you understand that?
11 A. I -- you asked if it was successful and he says it was,
13 Q. Yes. Can you remember anything about that intervention?
A. Actually, to just go back, the reason I was involved as
executive was because it concerned two newspapers,
16 the Sunday Times and
the Sun. So if you like, I did the
17 deal with HarperCollins from
the corporate point of
18 view, and then left it to the two editors, John
19 and Dominic Mohan, to decide the different approaches.
20 I had always got on very well with Dr McCann and
21 Kate McCann throughout their incredible traumatic time,
and in fact I think they, if asked, would be very
23 positive about the Sun,
actually, and in this case,
24 I thought that Dominic Mohan's idea to
run the campaign
25 for this review of Madeleine's case by the Home
1 Secretary was the right thing for the Sun to do, and
2 I think the Sunday Times did the book. So my
intervention was at that point, as in: was the original
4 discussion with
Dr McCann. I don't think I spoke to
5 Theresa May directly, but
I am pretty sure that Dominic
6 Mohan may have done.
Q. Let's see whether we can agree or disagree on what may
happened. When you were discussing the
9 arrangements with the McCanns,
you asked if there was
10 anything more they wanted. Do you recall
11 A. Maybe, yes.
12 Q. And Dr Gerry McCann said that
he wanted a UK police
13 review of the case. Do you remember him saying?
14 A. That I do, yes.
15 Q. Do you remember your answer being:
"Is that all?"
16 A. I may have said it slightly more politely: "Is there
17 anything else before we conclude this meeting?", but --
18 I don't particularly remember saying that, but maybe
I did, yes.
20 Q. I'm not suggesting to you that it was impolite; I'm just
21 summarising the gist of what you said.
22 A. Maybe,
yes. We had been going through a list of issues
23 that Dr McCann and
Kate McCann wanted to be assured of
24 before we went forward with the serialisation,
1 Q. Did you then take the matter up with Downing Street
3 A. No.
4 Q. Did you not tell Downing Street that the Sun was going
5 to demand a review and the Prime Minister should agree
to the request because the Sun had supported him at the
7 last election?
8 A. No, in fact I didn't speak to Downing
Street or the Home
Secretary about this, but I know that Dominic Mohan or
10 Tom Newton Dunn
will have spoken to them.
11 Q. Pardon me?
12 A. They would
have spoken directly to either Number 10 or
13 the Home Office. I'm
not sure. You'll have to ask
14 them. Probably the Home Office,
I would have thought.
15 Q. That the Sun wanted an immediate result and that
a letter would be posted all over the front page from
17 the McCanns to the
Prime Minister asking for a review,
18 unless Downing Street agreed. Did that
19 A. I think that's how the Sun launched the campaign from
memory. It was with a letter, yes.
21 Q. The Home Secretary was told that if she agreed
22 review, the page 1 letter would not run. Do you
23 remember that?
24 A. No, I don't.
25 Q. But as the Secretary of State did not respond in time,
1 you did publish the letter on the front page. Do you
2 remember that?
3 A. I do remember the Sun kicking
off the campaign with
4 a letter, yes.
But you don't believe there was any conversation or
6 indeed threat to
the Secretary of State? Is that right?
7 A. I'm pretty sure there would have not
been a threat, but
8 you'll have to -- we'll have to ask Dominic
9 because, like I said, my involvement was to discuss the
10 campaign in the continued search for Madeleine with the
McCanns and to do the deal on the book and to -- they --
I had done so many campaigns in the past, they
13 wanted my opinion, but
after that I left it to both
14 editors to execute the campaign.
15 Q. What I've been told is that you then intervened
personally, Mrs Brooks. You told Number 10 that unless
17 the Prime
Minister ordered the review by the
18 Metropolitan Police, the Sun would
put the Home
19 Secretary, Theresa May, on the front page every day
20 until the Sun's demands were met. Is that true or not?
21 A. No.
22 Q. Is any part of that true?
I didn't speak to Number 10 or the Home Office about the
24 McCanns until,
I think, after the campaign had been won,
25 and then it came up in a conversation
that I had -- and
1 I don't even think directly with the Prime Minister.
2 I think it was one of his team.
3 Q. We can
find out in due course whether this is true or
4 not, but I must repeat it
to you. It is said that you
5 directly intervened with the Prime Minister
6 him that unless there was a review by the Metropolitan
7 Police, the Sun would put the Home Secretary,
Theresa May, on the front page every day until the Sun's
9 demands were
met. Is that true or not?
10 A. I did not say to the Prime Minister: "I will put
11 Theresa May on the front page of the Sun every day
unless you give me a review." I did not say that. If
I'd had any conversations with Number 10 directly, they
have been particularly about that, but they
15 would have been, if I'd
been having a conversation, that
16 the Sun was leading a major campaign
with a very strong
17 letter on page 1 to start the campaign, and anyone
18 knew me would have talked to me -- any politician would
19 have talked to me about it. But I did not say that.
I don't know who said I said that, but we're going back
21 to sources
22 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: Could we ask this: were you part of
a strategy that involved your paper putting pressure on
24 the government
with this sort of implied or express
1 A. I was certainly part of a strategy to launch the
campaign in order to get the review for the McCanns,
3 yes. But I think
the word "threat", sir, is -- is too
5 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: Well, give me another word then for
"threat", could you?
7 A. Persuade them?
8 LORD JUSTICE
LEVESON: Persuasion. All right.
9 MR JAY: In your own words, Mrs Brooks, define
for us what
10 the strategy was.
11 A. So
the McCanns were deeply upset that there hadn't been
12 a review.
It seemed incredibly unfair that they hadn't
13 got this review.
You only have to read their book to
14 understand the trauma that they go
through. So we said,
15 "We'll join forces with you",
and Dominic Mohan and his
16 team went away and constructed a campaign.
17 remember when the idea of the letter came up. It may
18 have even been my idea to do the letter. I can't
remember. But the campaign was launched in order to try
20 and convince
the government or convince the Home
21 Secretary that a review would be the
right thing to do.
22 Q. Do you know how it came about that the review was
24 A. No, I -- I can't remember, I'm sorry. Such a lot has
25 happened since then, but --
1 Q. You must have been told, Mrs Brooks?
2 A. I
remember Dominic Mohan telling me that the review was
3 going ahead.
4 Q. That the Sun had won, in other words?
5 A. He didn't put
it in those terms, but he said -- well,
6 actually, I think he said,
"The McCanns have won."
7 Q. The Sun headline on 14 May, front page, was that as
8 a result of its campaign, the Prime Minister was
"opening the Maddie files". Do you remember that one?
10 A. I remember the
Sun winning the campaign, the McCanns
11 winning the campaign, yes.
12 Q. So this is not, you say, a case study then in the
exercise of power by you? I'm not suggesting that the
14 end result
was right or wrong. Many would say it was
15 right, that there should
be a review. I'm just saying
16 the means by which you achieved
the objective --
17 A. But it could be said that a review of Madeleine McCann's
18 case, with everything that had gone on, was the right
thing to do. We presented the issue. We supported the
in their determination to get a review. It
21 wasn't new.
They'd tried before, before the election,
22 and the election had come
into -- and the Sun -- and the
23 Home Secretary clearly thought
it was a good idea too,
24 because I'm pretty sure there wasn't --
it wasn't a long
25 campaign. It wasn't like Sarah's Law
over ten years.
1 I think it was very short.
Yes, it didn't take very long because the government
3 yielded to your
pressure, didn't they? It took all of
4 about a day.
5 A. Or perhaps they were convinced by our argument.
6 Q. There are always
two sides to the coin here, that of
7 course everybody would say, on one
level, money should
8 be spent, but the campaign to date, I'm told, has
9 £2 million and some would say maybe that money might
10 have gone somewhere else. It's never clearcut, is it?
A. What, the Madeleine McCann campaign?
12 Q. No, the operation which started up the
review, which was
13 called Operation Grange, I understand.
14 A. Right, sorry.
15 Q. Perhaps you would say all you were doing was reflecting
16 the views of your readers. Is that it?
A. I think in that case, it was an issue that we brought to
readers, that we explained to the readers that
19 a review hadn't taken
place and that -- we presented the
20 McCanns' story as in the reason
why they wanted the
21 review. I think that absolutely chimed with
22 readership and the campaign was started with a very
heartfelt letter and the politicians were convinced our
24 argument, or the
McCanns' argument, was correct.
25 Q. It also chimes with the commercial interests of your
1 papers because this sells copy, doesn't it?
2 A. Well, campaigns can sell newspapers. I think the
serialisation of the book actually was good for
4 circulation for the Sunday
Times. I'm not sure how well
5 the campaign was in circulation
terms, but they would be
6 a matter of record. It may have been.
to Nigel at