• Max Mosley believes News of the World coverage contributed to his
• Two 'victims' of the press - Kate McCann and Christopher Jefferies -
say they felt 'raped' by the press
• The mother of Hugh Grant's baby received abusive phone calls because
the star criticised the press, it is claimed
• Police say not all 28 names mentioned in Glenn Mulcaire's notes are
necessarily from the News of the World
• Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger told the inquiry of a "shocking"
failure of checks and balances that led to the inquiry
• Rusbridger urged the inquiry to examine the issues of media plurality
and competition and to set up a new mediation service for the public who
have issues with the press
• Journalists union says the PCC is a 'self-serving gentleman's club'
that has failed abysmally at self-regulation
This page will update automatically every minute: On | Off
Leveson inquiry: the barrister for victims of press intrusion has
claimed the mother of Hugh Grant's baby was threatened. Photograph:
6.02pm: The Leveson inquiry has now published audio of the first three
days of hearings:
16 November afternoon - David Sherborne on Hugh Grant, Chris Jefferies,
Charlotte Church and the McCanns.
16 November morning: Michelle Stanistreet, general secretary of the NUJ;
Alan Rusbridger, editor in chief of the Guardian and David Sherborne,
barrister representing the 51 core participant victims
15 November: afternoon - James Dingemans, Northern & Shell
15 November morning - Rhodri Davies QC for News International; Jonathan
Caplan, QC for Associated Newspapers
14 November afternoon
14 November morning - Robert Jay QC for the inquiry talks about
5.31pm: Here's the full text of David Sherborne's remarks about the
sinister calls allegedly made to the mother of Hugh Grant's baby.
The story is told in his supplemental witness statement. The fact that
it comes as a supplement, despite his main statement being only a week
or so old, is testament to how recent these events are.
They involve the mother of his recently born daughter, a woman with
whom, despite what the popular press love to write, he has a good
relationship, but he can deal himself with the nonsense which has been
published about this relationship by the self-appointed moral guardians
of Fleet Street, the Daily Mail columnists.
Last Friday I had to make an emergency application for an injunction to
restrain a campaign of appalling harassment which this lady was having
to endure, simply because she was his former girlfriend and just had his
child. That's not strictly true. The real reason for the harassment is
probably far more sinister, and it is revealed in the evidence which she
gave, namely that she has received threats because of the fact that the
father of her child has spoken out against the press.
She recalls how, whilst Mr Grant was appearing on Question Time,
discussing the closure of the News of the World, Rupert Murdoch and
press standards generally, she received a barrage of telephone calls
from a withheld number from someone who managed to get it from
somewhere, and when she finally answered she was threatened in the most
menacing terms, terms which should reverberate around this inquiry:
"Tell Hugh Grant he must shut the fuck up."
Unsurprisingly, she was too stressed to call the police. After the birth
of her child, the fact of which appears to have been leaked somehow,
this hounding turned into a continued pursuit of her and her child by
paparazzi and other photographers. It became so nasty that when her
mother tried to get evidence of the identity of one paparazzo in a car,
he then tried to run her over, hence the emergency injunction which was
granted by Mr Justice Tugendhat last week. A written judgment is being
handed down on Friday.
Has any of this gone to the police?
It has been notified to the police, yes.
You can say what you like about Mr Grant, and believe me, enough of the
newspapers have now, but then as Mandy Rice-Davies said, they would say
that, wouldn't they? However, he has agreed to speak, as others have,
not because of any financial motive. He has chosen not to sue for the
hacking of his telephone. As the newspapers sit here with their
livelihood at stake, as they tell us, the victims are here on their own
time and ... at their own risk.
5.10pm: There seems to be a little confusion as to what Sherborne meant
when he claimed the mother of Hugh Grant's child had been subjected to
abusive telephone calls.
Here's what the transcript of what he said:
[Whilst Grant was] appearing on Question Time, discussing the closure of
the NoW, Rupert Murdoch and press standards generally, she received a
barrage of telephone calls from a withheld number from someone who
managed to get it from somewhere, and when they finally answered she was
threatened in the most menacing terms, which should reverberate around
this inquiry: "Tell Hugh Grant he must shut the fuck up". Unsurprisingly
she was too stressed to call the police.
4.44pm: My colleague James Robinson says the police clarification on the
names of journalists in private investigator Glenn Mulcaire's notebooks
is significant. Neil Garnham, QC, says that there may not be 28 News of
the World staff as claimed on Monday.
He has just tweeted:
This is significant. Met's QC says it can't be assumed that 28 names in
Mulcaire notebooks are NoW hacks 'altho a lot probably are' #leveson
Here's the transcript of what the QC, Neil Garnham, said:
As Mr Jay correctly told you in his opening, there are approximately 28
readable corner names in the Mulcaire notebooks. But it is not correct
to suggest that a fair inference can be that they were all NoW
employees. Some of them probably are. For many others, it's impossible,
at least thus far, to say whether they were or were not. It certainly
cannot be said that the MPS have established that all the taskings
indicated by the corner names were made by NoW employees.
3.55pm: The Leveson inquiry has now closed for the day and will resume
on Monday morning at 10am.
3.50pm: Leveson may ask individual journalists who covered the Madeleine
McCann and Christopher Jefferies case to respond to criticism made by
David Sherborne, QC, before the break.
Leveson tells Sherborne he has presented one side "very graphically" and
he wants to be satisfied he has a full picture of the incidents the QC
"I just want to make sure whether there is another side, and if so what
it is in the context of ethical decision-making at journalist level and
at other levels.
"I can always pick these up with editors. But in relation to some of
them [articles] it may be sensible to go a bit further."
Leveson said Sherborne had made his points very "forcefully that there
could be no public interest in this particular story and the
consequences of harm were very real".
3.49pm: The inquiry has resumed.
3.39pm: The inquiry has now taken a break to allow some private
discussion among lawyers.
3.35pm: The inquiry has also heard from Neil Garnham, QC, who is
representing the Metropolitan police.
Garnham says it cannot be assumed that all 28 names of journalists in
Glenn Mulcaire's notes were from the News of the World.
The Mulcaire notebooks indeed went to some 11,000 pages, and they
evidence from 2,266 taskings. But the police cannot say, because they do
not know, whether every tasking targets a different individual, and that
3.32pm: Robert Jay, QC for the inquiry, is now discussing documents
relating to the police inquiry into phone hacking.
He confirms that Sue Akers, who has overall responsibility for Operation
Weeting - the police investigation into phone hacking - will give
3.26pm: Leveson has resumed and is discussing procedure. However
Associated Newspapers is concerned that David Sherborne's claims about
threats to the mother of Hugh Grant's child relate to anything
activities relating to his clients.
Counsel for Associated, Jonathan Caplan, tells Leveson he checked the
details of the emergency injunction obtained by Sherborne on her behalf
and it was "not against the Daily Mail but against some paparazzi
3.24pm: Here's a summary of David Sherborne's opening statement which
continued this afternoon. He represents 51 core participant 'victims' of
• Press intrusion has contributed to two suicides, and one attempted
suicide, Sherborne has claimed. Max Mosley believes the press coverage
of his private affairs was partly to blame for the death of his son,
while Charlotte Church says her mother was admitted to hospital after
attempting suicide following lurid revelations about the father.
Footballer Garry Flitcroft will also allege that the pursuit of his
family following disclosures about his private life was a factor in his
• Sherborne has also claimed that the mother of Hugh Grant's baby
received threatening phone calls when the star appeared on TV railing
against the press. She was told to "Tell Hugh Grant to shut the fuck
2.55pm: Sherborne paints a dark and hopeless picture of the future of
the British press.
He questions their appetite for change. What hope is there about the
prevailing culture when the most powerful newspapers, even in the face
of recent revelations, steadfastly complain that what we need is a freer
press? Sherborne asks.
"It is time we had change, and by that I mean real change," concludes
2.53pm: Sherborne is now turning his guns on Paul Dacre, the
editor-in-chief of the Daily Mail.
He says not only did he "rubbish" the chairman of the Leveson inquiry,
but he also dismissed the members of the panel of advisers appointed.
Self-regulation by the PCC, as one of my clients says, is tantamount to
handing the police station over to the mafia.
The mother of Hugh Grant's child claims she was threatened the night
the star went on the BBC to rail against the press. Photograph: Stefan
2.47pm: Sherborne has just disclosed to the hearing that the mother of
Hugh Grant's baby has been threatened in the most menacing way because
the star has gone to war with the press.
Last Friday, Sherborne said, he had to seek an emergency injunction, on
behalf of a woman who just had Hugh Grant's child.
The real reason for her injunction is that she has received threats
because the father of child has spoken out against the press.
She received a barrage of telephone calls one night Hugh Grant appeared
on Question Time railing against the press.
"[While Grant was] appearing on Question Time, discussing the closure of
the NoW, Rupert Murdoch and press standards generally, she received a
barrage of telephone calls from a withheld number from someone who
managed to get it from somewhere, and when they finally answered she was
threatened in the most menacing terms, which should reverberate around
this inquiry: "Tell Hugh Grant he must shut the fuck up". Unsurprisingly
she was too stressed to call the police."."
Sherborne also claims that someone tried to run her mother over.
Leveson is so concerned about this, that he interrupts Sherborne and
asks has any of this gone to the police.
Christopher Jefferies: was released without charge and was entirely
innocent of any involvement. Photograph: Tim Ireland/PA
2.44pm: Sherborne says the press do not lessons. Jefferies may have won
his libel action but there is no guarantee the press will not do the
same all over again to another innocent member of the public.
Some of the journalists who monstered Jefferies are the same journalists
responsible for the McCanns. I'd love to name names.
2.42pm: Sherborne says Jefferies felt he had been raped by the press.
"I don't think it would be too strong to say it was a kind of rape that
had taken place," Sherborne says Jefferies will tell the hearing.
2.39pm: The coverage of Jefferies in the tabloids including one headline
in the Daily Mirror was "a frenzied campaign to blacken his character
and persuade the public he was guilty".
He was monstered in almost every sense imaginable, wrongly accused to
being a sexually perverted voyeur ... a suggestion that he was involved
in a previous murder and linked to a convicted paedophile....
All of it was nonsense, and all of it despite warnings from the attorney
2.35pm: The McCanns' experience is not isolated, says Sherborne.
Christopher Jefferies was somebody who no-one would have heard of but
who terrifyingly found himself linked to the murder of Joanna Yeates.
He was "catapulted like the McCanns from anonymity into the public
The Daily Mirror were fined £50,000 and the Sun £18,000 for contempt of
court for articles published about a suspect arrested on suspicion of
murdering Joanna Yeates.
2.33pm: Gerry and Kate McCann, the parents of missing child Madeleine
McCann will also give evidence to the hearing.
They will tell of the "blatant intrusion" into their private lives by
journalists desperate to "bring home exclusives" to commercially
They "begged for restraint" but little was shown, says Sherborne.
One of the worst moments was
when the Kate McCann's private diary was printed. This diary contained
conversations with her missing daughter and was in the possession of the
Sherborne says she felt "mentally raped" when it was printed.
2.31pm: Charlotte Church will tell Leveson how she has been hounded
incessantly by eager photographers looking for a scoop
Charlotte Church Photograph: Simone Joyner/Getty Images
She has been chased in a car, photographers pulled her door open to try
and take pictures up her skirt. The press also revealed she was pregnant
when she hadn't even told her parents, Sherborne told the hearing.
2.27pm: Charlotte Church will put paid to the myth that celebrities seek
out these sensational stories in the press in order to advance their
careers. Sherborne said:
Charlotte Church will recount how a week or so ago a story hit the
newspapers about how she is meant to have made an exhibition of herself
drunkenly proposing to her partner in a karaoke bar.
It was a good story, a karaoke bar; a drunken proposal, the problem is
it was a complete fabrication, not least because she wasn't there. Did
anyone check with her? No ... To use the Kelvin MacKenzie if it sounds
right, let's lob it in.
2.23pm: The other core participants will give evidence of a constant
stream of lies told about them without consequence.
"Sheryl Gascoigne will explain the minute she married Paul Gascoigne she
became a villain in certain sections of the press … despite the fact she
was a victim of domestic abuse," said Sherborne.
"Fiction had turned into accepted fact … at least until she decided to
bring a certain number of libel actions."
Initially she decided the best way to deal with the hostile press was to
keep "a dignified distance" but she changed her tack when her children
began to become upset at the "lies" in the newspapers.
2.20pm: JK Rowling will tell the hearing how the press invaded her
Sherborne told the hearing how she has a well-known dispute with certain
sections of the press but also against the picture agency, Big Pictures,
which was responsible for a picture published in the Express sharing a
private outing with her husband and children.
She has experienced press and photographers camped outside her house;
her young children have had notes put in their school bags;
photographers follow her family on holiday.
How would you feel "scared, a little bit like a prisoner" if you feared
a "photographer jumping out of the bushes" at any point to snap a
picture? asked Sherborne.
2.18pm: Steve Coogan's story may not be as dramatic as Charlotte
Church's but it is equally important.
The press love to vilify him and have gone to great lengths to invade
his private life.
"It is a miracle that no member of the public has got hurt," says
Sherborne in reference to photographers in hot pursuit of celebrities.
2.16pm: Sherborne says part of the story that hackers would have found
out shortly prior to publication that "Charlotte's mother was admitted
to hospital after an attempted suicide."
In an act of sensitivity, the newspaper then tried to give her an
exclusive as part of a Faustian pact that in return they would not run
another lurid story about her husband's affair.
This is the real, brutally real impact this kind of journalism has.
2.13pm: Charlotte Church will also provide evidence of the damage News
of the World caused when it published a story in 2005 headlined Church:
Three in a bed cocaine shock
You might be forgiven that this was some revelation about Church
herself, but it wasn't. Instead it was about an affair her father was
The story, it subsequently, transpires, was the produce of phone-hacking
by Glenn Mulcaire.
2.12pm: The woman with whom he had a relationship sold her story,
motivated possibly by her feeling that Mr Flitcroft's wife had a right
to know about the affair.
"Was Mr Flitcroft's right to privacy really outweighed by some specious
public interest?" asks Sherborne.
2.10pm: The judgment against him whether right or wrong had an impact on
his private life.
Helicopters followed him, his children were teased at school. He will
tell the hearing about the barrage of publicity he and his father, and
his wife faced subsequently and the abuse he received.
Flitcroft believes the newspapers' pursuit of him and his family was a
contributing factor to his father's suicide.
2.06pm: In 2001 Flitcroft won his injunction against publication of his
affair but this was later overturned.
"It is a judgment it is widely be accepted would be different today,"
He told his wife about the affair before the injunction was lifted and A
was identified as the footballer.
2.05pm: Leveson inquiry has resumed and Sherborne has turned to
"chequebook journalism" and the case of footballer Garry Flitcroft, who
he says is better known for references in legal textbooks than for his
activity on the football pitch.
He was the person involved in the first kiss and tell injunction
following the Human Rights Act.
1.03pm: The Leveson inquiry has now broken for lunch and will return at
1.00pm: Here's a lunchtime roundup of what the Leveson inquiry has heard
• Former Formula One boss Max Mosley believes the behaviour of the News
of the World's contributed to his son's suicide. His son suffered
depression, the hearing heard.
• Michelle Stanistreet, general secretary of the NUJ, told the inquiry
that the PCC is a self-serving gentleman's club that has failed
abysmally at self-regulation of the press.
• Stanistreet said that a News of the World executive urged the private
detective Derek Webb to become a journalist after the arrest of Clive
Goodman, the royal editor, in 2006.
• Alan Rusbridger, editor-in-chief of Guardian News & Media, has told
the inquiry of a shocking failure of checks and balances that led to the
• Rusbridger urged the inquiry to examine the issues of media plurality
and competition. He also proposed a new non-judicial mediation service
to offer a quick and cheap resolution for the public. This, he said, may
require some "tweaks" to the law but not statutory regulation.
• Milly and Bob Dowler will be the first core participant "victims" to
appear next Monday.
• David Sherborne, lawyer for many of the phone-hacking victims, said
there had been a "serious breakdown of trust between the press and the
12.55pm: Sherborne is now painting a picture of a feral press completely
out of control in relation to the Mosley story.
"This section of the press regards itself as above the law.
"Sadly in Mr Mosley's case ... there is a terrible postscript. In the
aftermath of the trial, Mr Mosley's son, who was suffering from
depression died of an overdose."
Mosley believes the News of the World's pursuit of his family was a
contributing factor in his son's death.
"As Mr Mosley tried to sort out his son's personal effects, he was
mobbed by journalists at his house.
"An isolated incident? No. The same at his son's funeral."
12.51pm: After failing to win an injunction against the News of the
World, Mosley had a choice – "to retreat or prepare himself for a
full-blown trial". "Thankfully, he chose the latter," said Sherborne
because his case has strengthened the protection of everyone's privacy.
Sherborne went on to tell how the "Nazi theme" the News of the World
attached to the Mosley story "was a preconceived story for which they
needed the facts to fit".
He said camera footage of one of the women at the Mosley party, Woman E,
showed how the News of the World reporter Neville Thurlbeck instructed
her on how best to capture Mosley in a "Sieg Heil" salute.
The Seig Heil salute never happened and Mosley won his case.
12.48pm: The News of the World's follow-up story on Mosley the following
Sunday "rubbed salt in the wound".
Is this the right way for law to work? It certainly is how the press
want it to be. Whilst the original story with the Nazi lie was bad, in
the follow-up story, the newspaper sought to rub salt in the wounds ...
Who can look at him without thinking what he chooses to do with other
consenting adults in private?
Mr Mosley was faced with a choice: whether to retreat and accept this
humiliation, something which the papers were counting on that he would
do. Or he could prepare himself for a full trial, with all the cost and
embarrassment that this would bring.
At the time Mosley was trying to get an injunction preventing
publication but had lost because the "dam had burst" with photographs
going viral over the internet.
Max Mosley Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA
12.45pm: Sherborne is now talking about Max Mosley's treatment by the
News of the World.
Mosley is sitting behind, just to the right, of Sherborne and won his
privacy action against the paper.
He will also tell the inquiry the damage caused to his family.
The failure of the News of the World to give Mosley any notice of the
story was a deliberate move designed to ensure Mosley didn't have enough
time to seek a court injunction to prevent the paper hitting the
"Is this the right way for the law to work, it is certainly how the
press want it to be," says Sherborne.
What Price Privacy Now? What Price Privacy
12.43pm: Here's the full What Price Privacy report about which Sherborne
has been speaking:
12.41pm: Freedom of the press, says Sherborne, is conditional.
12.40pm: My colleague Josh Halliday has filed this report on Michelle
Stanistreet's opening statement.
Leveson inquiry: PCC an abysmal failure, says NUJ chief
12.32pm: Sherborne is back on his feet and has turned to the 2006 What
Price Privacy? report by the Information Commissioner, a report based
partly on Operation Motorman's inquiry into a private detective used by
The information seized by police from this private investigator included
documents with ex-directory telephone numbers and itemised phone bills.
Secondary documentation seized consisted of the detective's own
handwritten notes, and the names of 305 journalists.
The report found 3,522 alleged cases of illegal access to records by the
media – "thousands of section 55 offences," says Sherborne.
This will be discussed at the hearing, says Sherborne.
12.21pm: Leveson has now taken a five-minute break.
12.20pm: Alleged computer hacking will also be raised by Sherborne at
He says Ian Hurst, the former army intelligence officer he represents,
will talk about the "Trojan horse" software that was placed on his
computer to access private documents.
12.16pm:Sherborne is now talking about the covert surveillance operation
that News International ordered on the solicitor Mark Lewis who was
acting on behalf of the Dowler family and other phone hacking victims.
This, says Sherborne, was not some "nefarious activities in the dim dark
days of 2005, 2006" when Glenn Mulcaire was working for News of the
"This was discussed as recently as the middle of last year at the same
time as the company was telling the select committee it was doing
everything to get to the bottom of what went wrong," says Sherborne.
12.14pm: He also criticised News International's insistence on client
confidentiality when questions first started to arise about potentially
incriminating emails the publisher had handed over to third party
solicitors for investigation. This is a reference to an investigation
conducted by law firm Harbottle & Lewis.
Solicitors are bound by client confidentiality, says Sherborne, but not
12.11pm: Sherborne is now ripping apart News International's early
claims that phone hacking went beyond one reporter.
It is "a scandal", says Sherborne, that the reporting of the phone
hacking affair ,was confined to broadsheets and broadcasters.
There was "no finger-wagging", he said among the tabloids.
12.08pm: The scale of the phone hacking raises questions about who knew
what? says Sherborne.
"Can it really be sensibly be argued that this is a simple case where
checks and balances were not observed and a handful of rogue journalists
were allowed to run amok with a cheques book?" asks Sherborne.
Or was this a system condoned by people in senior positions in the
newspaper? he asks.
In any event, Sherborne says there was a cover up at the News of the
"There was ... a concerted effort in any case after the event to
conceal the ugly truth from surfacing."
12.06pm: The police are still analysing the notes of Glenn Mulcaire five
years after they were seized.
The volume of notes and documents relating to the case is:
Evidence, not so much of a cottage industry, but rather an industrial
revolution; a cultural change, we would say, away from good
old-fashioned journalistic activity."
12.05pm: Sometimes the voicemails allegedly accessed on behalf of News
of the World journalists were used as "quotes from pals" or "just to
stand up stories for which they otherwise had no proof", says Sherborne.
12.03pm: Sherborne is now summarising News of the World's activities.
"None of these stories had a public interest whatsoever ... [there was
]no defence for this flagrant invasion of privacy."
11.59am: The inquiry will also hear from Tom Rowland, a Daily Telegraph
property journalist. The interest in him related to information he may
have picked up about homes being bought and sold by the wealthy and the
The paper even targetted those who supported them most, including Sara
Payne, the mother of Sarah Payne, who became a close friend of the then
editor Rebekah Wade (now Brooks).
The revelation her phone was likely to have been hacked was a sickening
postscript, perhaps a new low [for the newspaper].
11.57am: Sherborne is now talking about a witness, code named HJK, who
was hacked by the news of the world.
HJK is a member of the public whose phone was hacked because of a
relationship with someone famous.
"It was a terrible experience all round," says Sherborne and HJK will
explain how shortly after being diagnosed with a serious illness they
were confronted by a photographer who jumped out in front of them to
take a picture. This, Sherborne suggests, is because someone got hold of
HJK's medical records.
11.55am: Mary Ellen Field, an assistant to model Elle Macpherson, will
also address the inquiry next week.
11.52am: Sherborne now turns to the issue of celebrities who have had
their phones hacked. He says it would be wrong to merely dismiss
sympathies for these people simply because they are famous.
He said it is because of them that the law is now developing to protect
It is because of "those with sufficient access to lawyers", or those who
have "the bravery of these people to run the gauntlet of the press that
the law, particularly the law of privacy has been developed to protect
everyone, and everyone alike," says Sherborne.
11.51am: Milly Dowler's parents, Sally and Bob will be the first to give
evidence at the Leveson inquiry next Monday, Sherborne has revealed.
11.48am: Sherborne goes on to say the press didn't just stop at
intercepting her voicemails.
When her parents went to reconstruct their daughter's last journey, the
News of the World tailed them and photographed them.
"Face etched with pain, missing Milly's mum softly touches a poster of
her girl as she and hubby retrace her last footsteps," wrote the paper.
"Mile of grief" was the headline on the story.
It told how "the Dowlers follow Milly's footsteps from Walton station
and, below, mum Sally can't help but touch the poster of her daughter".
Sherborne said the Dowler's "were subjected to terrible intrusion by the
press, intrusion at a time of immense grief".
First stolen voice messages, why not steal these moments too? Ethically
what is the difference?
11.46am: It was this revelation that led to the Leveson inquiry.
Sally Dowler, Milly's mother will tell the Leveson inquiry in her own
words of the "euphoria" she felt when she logged into Milly's phone and
found messages deleted. These acts of interception of her voicemail were
"despicable", says Sherborne.
11.45am: Sherborne is now outlining what happened when Milly Dowler
disappeared. Five days later a call was left on her voicemail. The call
was a hoax. News of the World put it in their first edition under the
headline "Missing Hoax Outrage".
"What we now know another outrage, another act of cruelty and
insensitivity" of which there was no mention in the News of the World
... the interception and deletion of Milly's voicemails.
11.44am: Sherborne is still speaking, but for those interested, here is
a link to Alan Rusbridger's full speech.
David Sherborne, who is representing 51 'victims' of the press
11.42am:Sherborne says the "victims" will be able to give a true picture
of the damage the press have caused when they appear before Leveson next
11.40am: He refers to remarks once made by former News of the World and
Sun editor self-regulation has changed the culture operating in
"I presume by that she meant it in a positive way," Sherborne quips.
11.37am: "I am here to represent the wrongs - systemic, flagrant and
deeply entrenched they are," says Sherborne.
One may be under the mistaken impression that it is "the press that is
victim" if you were to listen to speeches given at a Leveson seminar
last month where various editors and senior figures complained of the
draconian laws and gagging orders that stifle freedom of the press.
This is not a surprise, says Sherborne, as the press is a powerful body
with a lot to lose.
11.36am: Sherborne says newspapers operate under this modus operandi:
what you can't get you buy, what you can't buy you procure through
deception and lies; what you can't procure you steal or you make up
because it sounds right and sells newspapers.
11.33am: There are 13 News of the World journalists arrested, but it is
not just the former tabloid but the whole press that is in the dock,
Illegally accessing people's voicemail ... blagging, blackmailing
vulnerable or opportunistic individuals into breaking confidences of
well known people ... the vilification of ordinary members of the
public; the hounding of well known people their family and friends
because it sells newspapers - quite an impressive charge sheet you might
think. No wonder it may take this inquiry some time
11.30am: There has been a "serious breakdown of trust between the press
and the general public," says Sherborne.
He said he sat and listened to News International and Associated
Newspapers yesterday and was not impressed.
"Rather than suggest some concrete solutions to rectify the problems or
really recognise that anything is wrong other than phone hacking", they
suggest more press freedom not less.
"We say this is symptomatic of a level of complacency in the British
press or at least part of it," says Sherborne.
11.29am: David Sherborne, who is representing 51 core participant
"victims", is now on his feet.
11.17am: The Leveson inquiry has now taken a 15-minute break. We will be
back at 11.30am.
11.15am: Rusbridger expands on his earlier suggestion that there may
need to be some sort of statutory element in a new regulatory system for
He says "we may need to tweak bits of law" to enable this new system
would work but it would not mean statutory regulation of the press.
11.13am: Rusbridger gives some details of how a new mediation service
If the mediation broke down and the case ended up before a judge and a
newspaper was proven to have made every effort to resolve the dispute,
this could be offered as a complete defence.
Leveson asks could this mediation service have the ability to assess
damages up to a certain level.
11.10am: Leveson supports Rusbridger's notion of a new system which
would involve a non-judicial disputes service for readers.
I think there's a great deal of scope in finding some mechanism that
allows for the resolution of disputes between members of the public and
the press, short of the courts, because it has become so expensive.
11.09am: Leveson says that this raises the problem of "pre-publication
authorisation" and how one can test it.
"I'm not answering these questions, I'm merely asking them," says
11.07am: Another key issue for Leveson is the definition of public
He recognises that journalists may do some things like blagging as part
of investigations that are in the real public interest. But he says it
is difficult to draw a line because journalists do not know if they will
get "the lollipop" until they have completed their investigation and
11.04am: Leveson makes a lengthy response to Rusbridger and says he has
a number of questions.
He says he needs to know how is he going to "expose what needs to be
exposed" on newspapers particularly following Stanistreet's remarks
about a possibly bullying culture at the News of the World.
How am I going to get to the bottom of the culture in newsrooms that is
hinted at today unless people say it.
Nobody is suggesting the ethics of those that are mass market newspapers
should be different to those that are rather more targeted and that
seems to me to be right.
But there is no doubt that concepts of privacy are differently perceived
by different titles and I need to know how I should address that.
I need to know how I should be thinking about privacy and to extend
those that have been affected by privacy who will have extremely strong
views and where the balance is, I think that's a struggle.
11.03am: Finally, the issue of plurality and competition, need to be
explored by the Leveson inquiry, says Rusbridger.
Only last month the tiny family-owned Kent Messenger group was prevented
from taking over seven Northcliffe titles because of the distortion of
the newspaper market in East Kent. Yet, until the post-Milly Dowler
intervention of MPs, there appeared to be nothing anyone could do to
prevent News Corp from effectively doubling its already-remarkable
dominance of the British media market by acquiring the 61 per cent of
BSkyB it didn't already own. "
If you come to the view that there was a genuine fear of News
International in public life – partly, but only partly, on account of
what private investigators and criminal figures were employed by them to
dig up – then it is important, we submit, to recommend a regulatory and
legal framework which prevents media companies in this country from
acquiring too much dominance.
11.02am: Rusbridger says no one has any quarrel with the job the PCC
does in mediating complaints".
He says it is also worth exploring a regulatory system which is
supported in some measure by statutes.
He does not specify what this might be but says: "If statute can help
make independent self-regulation work well then we would welcome
suggested use of statute to be scrutinised properly against concerns of
He adds there "may be carrots and sticks once recognised in law or by
the courts, solve several of the challenges you have already spoken of
in making non-statutory regulation work".
11.01am: Rusbridger suggests a new system of regultation - the Press
Standards and Mediation Commission.
It would act as a "one stop shop disputes resolution service so 22
people never had to go to law to resolve their differences with
newspapers. It would be quick, responsive and cheap. "
He tells Leveson it will come as no surprise that the Guardian is "not
impressed by the way the PCC handled phone hacking".
"We said in November 2009 that it was misleading to call the PCC a
regulator, and we note that the incoming chair, Lord Hunt, has gone
further: it is absolutely not a regulator in his view. So, it could be
argued that, before we abolish self-regulation, we should first try it."
10.36am: Rusbridger is now onto the substantive topic of phone hacking
at the News of the World and the failure of the police and News
International to take revelations in the Guardian seriously.
He questions why it took so long; why it took four inquiries before the
police took it seriously.
He also picks up on Stanistreet's remarks about bullying in the newsroom
"A culture of bullying is highly pertinent ... and this may be something
the inquiry wants to ask of staff at the News of the World," says
10.35am: Rusbridger says journalism has turned from a one-way publishing
process into something much more responsive.
"We also live in a world in which every reader becomes a potential fact
checker. Social media allows anyone to respond to, expose, highlight,
add to, clarify or contradict what we write. We have the choice whether
to pretend this world of response doesn't exist, or to incorporate it
into what we do."
10.33am: He talks of the changes digital publishing has made to the
It has "sucked advertising" out of the printed press; circulations are
declining at a rate of 10% a year and no digital model yet offers
guarantees that the industry can maintain editorial endeavours at
anything like their "current levels".
10.32am:Rusbridger opens his statement by remarking how "shocking" were
the events that have led to this judicial inquiry.
Shocking, for what they revealed about one powerful and dominant
company; about the responses of the police and the flawed nature of
regulation; about the limitations of parliament and the initial
unwillingness of much of the press to write about what had been going on
at the News of the World.
There was, in short, a failure of the normal checks and balances in
society to hold power to account.
10.30am: Alan Rusbridger, the editor-in-chief of the Guardian, is now
making his opening statement.
10.28am: Stanistreet says one of the systems that could be a model for
future regulation in the UK is the Press Council of Ireland.
She says she is hoping to bring testimony to the inquiry which will
illuminate the bullying that goes on in the industry.
She says she is working with journalist to provide examples from across
the industry "including testimony from journalists who can shed real
light on the culture within the News of the World, on cases of bullying
at a senior level, all key factors we believe led to the scale of
hacking within the newspaper.
10.26am: Richard Desmond's Northern & Shell, owner of the Daily Express,
has illustrated that it's not even a club that newspapers are obliged to
join. Desmond has opted out of the system.
It's [the PCC] a model that has failed – but there are plenty of other
models of regulation out there – models that have teeth.
10.23am: Stanistreet has launched a broadside against the Press
Complaints Commission which, she says, has "failed abysmally".
She says that for years journalists have had to operate under the "media
bosses' model of self- regulation".
She says the system in the UK is one that the producers of the output
and represents owners only.
The PCC she says "has been little more than a self-serving gentleman's
10.23am: NUJ members were impelled to make a second complaint about the
Express in 2004 over its coverage of so-called Gypsies.
10.20am: The NUJ secretary general, who worked for the Daily Express
says she can speak from personal experience when she says that having
the collective confidence of a robust union presence can make an
"enormous difference" when journalists want to speak out on matters of
In 2001, she was one of three NUJ chapel reps at Express Newspapers, who
made a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission about the Daily
Express' coverage of asylum seekers.
Some journalists felt "upset and angry" about the "racist tone" of the
coverage including a "hate stirring" front page with the headline
"ASYLUM SEEKERS RUN FOR YOUR LIVES".
10.17am: Stanistreet is now talking about Derek Webb, the former
policeman turned investigator who was hired by the News of the World to
tail more than 100 public figures including Prince William.
She says that Webb alleges that in the wake of the arrest of the paper's
Royal Editor Clive Goodman, he was taken aside by a senior executive on
the News of the World and told he had to "stop being a private detective
and become a journalist."
The same senior executive also apparently told him that he must join the
NUJ and acquire an NUJ press card.
"This is a breathtakingly cynical move on behalf of the News of the
World but also an interesting perspective on an organisation that is so
hostile to the NUJ," says Stanistreet.
10.16am: She says News of the World staff made redundant after the
closure of the paper have found to their cost that "the impact of not
having strong and independent workplace representation".
Michelle Stanistreet of the National Union of Journalists
10.13am: Stanistreet says many newspapers are reluctant to recognise the
She is highly critical of News International and brands Rupert Murdoch's
decision to establish a quasi union at Wapping as a "cynical move"
Take Rupert Murdoch - he created and funded his own proxy union, the
News International Staff Association, which was later refused a
Certificate of Independence by the Certification Officer because of its
lack of Independence from the employer. This was cynically established
on the eve of the legislative changes being introduced that saw the
restoration of trade union recognition rights. All to keep the NUJ and
our sister unions out of Wapping.
10.08am: Now Stanistreet is painting a gloomy picture of the current
newspaper industry, a place, she says where "greedy
employers...sacrifice quality and content in the process"
She says the immense pressure on journalists to deliver can lead to
inaccurate and misleading stories.
The pressure on journalists to deliver is relentless, often to
unpredictable and unreasonable timescales, and without the resources to
do the job well. Such pressures lead to short cuts and can result in the
abandoning of fundamental principles.
That's why it is important for your Inquiry to understand the reality of
newsroom culture and the pressures that journalists in some workplaces
have come under to deliver the goods, to write stories that are
inaccurate or misleading.
10.05am: Stanistreet says the fear felt by journalists who want to speak
out about their employers is very real.
The reality is that putting your head above the parapet and speaking out
publicly is simply not an option for many journalists, who would fear
losing their job or making themselves unemployable in the future.
In our experience, that fear has been a significant factor in inhibiting
journalists from defending the principles of ethical journalism in the
workplace – and in media organisations hostile to the concept of trade
unions there is a particular problem.
10.05am: Stanistreet said she is working to find journalists to give
evidence. However, she says, many are too afraid to speak out for fear
of reprisals. She said the consequences may be felt long after Leveson
However, the stark reality is that in many workplaces there is a genuine
climate of fear about speaking out.
The fear is not of immediate punishment but of finding that a few months
after your Inquiry ends a journalist who has spoken out may find herself
on a list of redundancies. We support your draft protocol on anonymity
and will discuss specific measures in relation to particular witnesses
with the Inquiry team.
10.00am: It is "vital", she says, that the inquiry hears from ordinary
"They are the workers at the sharp end, who deal with the reality of
life in a pressured, busy newsroom every single day."
10.00am: Michelle Stanistreet, general secretary of the National Union
of Journalists is now on her feet.
She is speaking on behalf of 38,000 members full time and freelance in
the UK and Ireland. Stanistreet is a former Sunday Express journalist
and worked as a business journalists as well as interviewer and feature
9.59am: The inquiry is now opening
9.58am: The Guardian's James Robinson and Amelia Hill are down at the
Leveson inquiry again today. Follow them on Twitter @jamesro45 and @byameliahill
9.52am: Welcome to live coverage of day three of the Leveson inquiry,
which kicks off at 10am today.
Yesterday the two country's two most powerful newspaper groups struck a
defiant note arguing that a more stringent system of regulation would
represent a threat to media freedom.
The inquiry also heard that the tabloid press are preparing for an
unprecedented assault with 21 witnesses "victims" of alleged press
intrusion and hacking lined up to give evidence. JK Rowling, Hugh Grant
and Steve Coogan are among those expected to appear.
They will be joined by other figures who have attained a high profile
through no fault of choosing of their own – wrongly linked to a crime
such as the Bristol landlord Chris Jefferies or former intelligence
officer Ian Hurst, who believes he was hacked.
Today the inquiry will hear from two more newspaper figures – Michelle
Stanistreet, the general secretary of the National Union of Journalists
and Alan Rusbridger, editor-in-chief of the Guardian, the paper at the
vanguard of the phone-hacking story for the past two years.
They will be followed by David Sherborne QC, who is representing the
public figures who have been given core participant status