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Parents of Madeleine McCann and Hugh Grant named as participants in hacking inquiry

Original Source: WEDNESDAY 14 SEPTEMBER 2011
Wednesday 14 September 20114:43PM BST 14 Sep 2011

The parents of Madeleine McCann, actor Hugh Grant and Harry Potter creator JK Rowling were named today as core participants in the first stage of the inquiry into the phone-hacking scandal.

The world of showbusiness will be well-represented with actress Sienna Miller, was also listed in the group

They are among a group of ''victims'' who will be represented by a barrister and have the right to seek to cross-examine witnesses and make opening and closing statements. 


The group also includes Formula 1 boss Max Mosley; Chris Jefferies, the former landlord of alleged murder victim Jo Yeates; ex-England footballer Paul Gascoigne; and Bob and Sally Dowler, the parents of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler. 


Inquiry chairman Lord Justice Leveson granted core participant (CP) status for the first part of the inquiry, which will look at the culture, ethics and practices of the press and its relationship with the police and politicians. 


The second part will examine the extent of unlawful or improper conduct within News International and other media and organisations - and consider the police investigation of claims against News International and whether police received corrupt payments. 


Others in the group of victims, who are likely to be represented by the barrister David Sherborne, include serving Members of Parliament - Chris Bryant, Tessa Jowell, Simon Hughes and Denis MacShane, and former MPs such as Lord Prescott and Mark Oaten, who resigned as the Lib Dems' home affairs spokesman in 2006 over an affair with a rent boy

The world of showbusiness will be well-represented with actress Sienna Miller, PR guru Max Clifford, and model Abi Titmuss also listed in the group.


Football agent Sky Andrew, Coronation Street actress Shobna Gulati and Christopher Shipman, son of mass murderer Harold Shipman, also made the list.


Lesser-known figures include intellectual property expert Mary-Ellen Field and Ian Hurst, a former British Army intelligence officer.


The inquiry would not be complete without involvement from media groups and core participation status was given to News International Group Ltd (owner of the the News of the World, the Sun, The Times and Sunday Times), Northern and Shell Network (owner of the Express and Star titles), Guardian News and Media (publishing company for the Guardian and Observer) and Associated Newspapers (for the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday).


The Metropolitan Police was also given the status.


The judge said he might also allow non-core participants to make written closing submissions.


One omission from those given CP status was Rebekah Brooks, the former editor of The Sun, The News of the World and chief executive officer of News International.


Mrs Brooks was refused the status by Lord Justice Leveson, who said her involvement was more focused on the second part of the inquiry.


The judge said: ''Mrs Brooks has very considerable knowledge and experience; I hope and believe that her input into the inquiry will be of enormous value but, at this stage and in the context of what I am presently required to do, I do not consider that it is necessary or appropriate to designate her as a core participant.''


He added Mrs Brooks's lawyer is able to apply to ask questions and she can ''apply to put in written submissions at the end''.


Lord Justice Leveson, who was born in Liverpool and is chairman of the Sentencing Council, said he was prepared to reconsider her status at any stage.


Likewise, he refused the application of private investigator Jonathan Rees, who was at one time employed by the News of the World.


Mr Rees's barrister argued he should be included for his insight into how the press dealt with the public and ''negative aspects of its relationship with the police''.


But the judge said he was not satisfied that Mr Rees ''has played such a significant role, or has such a significant interest in the subject matter''.


Lord Justice Leveson, who led the prosecution of serial killer Rose West, said writers' association English PEN and the Index on Censorship were ''vitally concerned with issues surrounding freedom of expression'' but refused them core participant status.


He did however say they could submit evidence, attend and potentially participate in seminars and apply to make closing representations.


On July 13 the Prime Minister announced that Lord Justice Leveson, 62, senior presiding judge in England and Wales between 2006 and 2009, would chair the far-reaching hearings.


The Leveson Inquiry is expected to last for several months and aims to produce a report within a year.


David Cameron established the investigation under the Inquiries Act 2005, giving it powers to summon witnesses, including newspaper reporters, management, proprietors, policemen and politicians of all parties in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal.


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