Morning Hearing on 19 December 2011

James Hanning and Stuart Hoare gave statements at this hearing

Hearing Transcript

(10.00 am) LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Good morning. MS PATRY HOSKINS Good morning, sir. The first witness this morning is Mr Stuart Hoare. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Right. I have made an order under the Act restricting the publication of this evidence in the sense that, as I understand it, it will not be available visually but will be available orally. Is that right? MS PATRY HOSKINS That's correct. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Thank you. MR STUART CALVIN JOHN HOARE (sworn) Questions by MS PATRY HOSKINS MS PATRY HOSKINS Thank you very much, Mr Hoare. If you just make yourself comfortable and open the bundle you have there at tab 1, you should find your witness statement. First of all, could you provide your full name to the Inquiry, please?
A. Yes, my full name is Stuart Calvin John Hoare.
Q. You provided us with a witness statement. It's reference 53031. You signed it at the end, but could you confirm to us, please, that the contents of the statement are true to the best of your knowledge and belief?
A. I can confirm that.
Q. I'm going to begin, if I can, by asking you to explain to the Inquiry who you are. You set this out at paragraphs 1 and 2 of your statement. You're the brother of the late Sean Hoare, who sadly passed away in July this year. Is that correct?
A. That's correct, yes. I'm the brother of Sean Hoare, the older brother, 18 months older than Sean. Sean and I had a very close relationship. I think a lot of that was due to the fact that we were very, very different people. I state later on in my statement that basically I went down the tracks of sport and maths and Sean went down the tracks of drama and the written word, and I think that's probably why we were so close. We were very, very different people, and we had a very, very special relationship. We spoke probably most days on the phone to each other, and we both lived and worked in very, very different worlds.
Q. You tell us that Sean worked for many years at the News of the World, and we'll come on to discuss that in a bit more detail in a moment, but what I'd like you to do first of all, please, is tell the Inquiry in your own words why you've decided to come today to give evidence.
A. Sean and I spoke long and hard before his death, and whilst the incident or the phone hacking was going on, and we shared a lot of a lot of secrets, and I felt very, very strongly that someone had to represent my brother. I think that's the main driver why I'm here today, to try and represent him and let his voice still be heard.
Q. Before I ask you about Sean's time working for the tabloids or the dark arts practices that he told you about, can I ask you this: did you ever yourself witness any of the dark arts practices that you're going on to tell us about?
A. When you say "witnessed", no, I didn't witness them. I wasn't there while they were going on but as I've already said, in conversation and obviously through emails, I was fortunate enough to retain certain information that Sean had left with me.
Q. Right. So I'm right in saying that the evidence that you give is what Sean told you in conversations and also in the form of emails from Sean, and you refer to these at paragraph 12 of your witness statement. Halfway down that paragraph you say: "Sean and I regularly discussed this and there are emails in existence which support Sean's description of a practice referred to as the dark side." Now, can you tell us a little bit more about these emails? First of all, what's happened to these emails?
A. The emails in their entirety, including personal emails, are handed over to the police, and I believe that they will be acting on those emails at some given point in time.
Q. Are you willing to provide them to the Inquiry?
A. I am.
Q. Okay. I don't need to ask you any more about the emails. Can I move on to ask you about Sean's career, please? You explain in paragraphs 3 to 6 Sean's early career. After gaining a degree, it's clear that he did a journalism course, then worked for two years at the Watford Observer and during that time he was shifting at weekends for the News of the World in order to gain some experience; is that correct?
A. That's correct.
Q. Then he moved to the Sun, you tell us at paragraph 6. In 1990, he started shifting at the Sun newspaper. Do you see that? Eventually you say that he became deputy editor of the Bizarre column on the Sun. Can we clarify one thing: the Bizarre column is a showbiz column, if I can put it like that?
A. That's correct, yes.
Q. Was Sean solely a showbiz reporter?
A. No, he wasn't. I mean, he'd spent a great deal of his life covering showbiz people and events because I think he was channelled in that direction, but Sean also was a great writer and, you know, he covered many more serious events than writing about showbiz people.
Q. From the Sun, you tell us that he moved to the People when Neil Wallis was the editor?
A. That's correct.
Q. And then he moved to the News of the World. You don't give us a date. The date I have found is June 2001. Does that
A. I think that's about right, yes.
Q. All right. I want to understand for what period of time he worked for the News of the World. Am I right in saying that he worked there from 2001 until about 2005?
A. That is correct, yes?
Q. After he left, you say: "Although it has been reported that he was sacked, in fact he received a pay-out." Can you tell us about bit more about the circumstances in which he came to leave the News of the World?
A. I think Sean, certainly in the last two years of his career at the News of the World, was struggling. He really was. There was an enormous amount of pressure put on him and other reporters to produce articles that would sell. He certainly wasn't enjoying it, the last year. He was bringing his work home, he was drinking more, he was trying to run away from certain issues that were going on at the paper and it wasn't it wasn't a nice part of his life and he was certainly struggling.
Q. How did his employment come to end?
A. His employment came to end by a again, this was reported that he was sacked. He came to a mutually convenient, shall we say, decision was made and Sean was asked to leave. Sean was paid a settlement to leave and he yeah, he was asked to leave, and the person that asked him to leave was a senior member at the paper.
Q. You've told us that you were very close to your brother, that you spoke to him almost daily.
A. Yes.
Q. Can you tell us about how he felt about leaving News of the World?
A. He felt that his world had fallen apart. He really did. I was speaking to his wife this weekend, actually, and we were just running over things and I was explaining to her my nervousness of appearing here today and she was saying that she can remember to this day when Sean came home and he just sat in the chair and he really felt lost. I can't tell you how much Sean enjoyed journalism. He really did and he certainly had a lot of issues those last 12 months.
Q. After he left the News of the World, did he work in the world of journalism again?
A. Probably what I would deem as working, no, not really. I mean, he went on initially to work subbing himself out to various papers, but not really what we would call I know journalism isn't a 9 to 5 job, but a normal kind of working environment, no. He was he was doing certain bits for certain papers, for certain magazines, selling stories.
Q. You tell us in paragraph 8 of your statement that he worked with Channel 5 on a series of shows about Radio 1?
A. That's correct.
Q. Was that for a long term
A. No, it wasn't. These were all very short-term contracts, two, three, four months. Although I haven't put it in my statement and I know I shouldn't really go off the statement here, but at some point he actually got so fed up with journalism and what was going on that he just walked away from journalism and he actually went and worked with horses for about a period of six months, just to try and get away from it all. We were very keen that he the family was very keen that he got away from journalism for a bit, and he went and worked at an equestrian centre and he thoroughly enjoyed himself.
Q. I'm going to move on now to ask you about some of the practices that Sean told you about relating to his days at both the Sun and the News of the World, if I can. I'm going to touch on the issue of phone hacking first. I'm going to remind you that it's very important during these questions that you don't give us any names. Unless I specifically say a name, please don't mention any names. Thank you. I'll take it in stages. You say this at paragraph 12 of your statement: "Sean had worked with certain individuals at both the Sun and News International where phone hacking was a daily routine." You go on to say that you know this because Sean told you and you regularly discussed this. Can I ask you this, first of all: was this discussion at the time, ie when Sean was working at News of the World or the Sun, or was it afterwards, when he'd stopped working?
A. The discussions took place whilst he was still employed at the News of the World and after he'd finished working at the News of the World.
Q. Right. You also say and we've discussed this briefly that there are emails in existence that cover this practice. Don't tell me anything about the detail of them, please, but are they contemporaneous emails or are they emails which Sean sent after he'd stopped working at the Sun and the News of the World?
A. They're emails that Sean sent after he'd finished working at the News of the World and the Sun. I think I just want to make a point here as well, and I take on board what you're saying about the names, et cetera, but I want to make it very clear that this alleged practice not only went on at the News of the World but went on at the Sun. I want to make it very clear that this was a practice that was taken to the News of the World.
Q. Right. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON That's what Sean told you, anyway?
A. That's correct. MS PATRY HOSKINS Is your evidence then that Sean told you that phone hacking was a daily routine at the Sun?
A. It was a routine at the Sun.
Q. And was it a routine at the News of the World?
A. It was. It was probably more daily at the News of the World.
Q. You obviously spoke to him about this. Can you tell me, was he referring here to practices which he himself had witnessed when he was working at these institutions or was it just a rumour that went around?
A. These were practices that he witnessed.
Q. I've caused to be handed around to the core participants, but we have behind tab 7, an article written by Nick Davies of the Guardian. If you look at the third page of that, please. It's the last page. If you look three paragraphs down, there's a paragraph that starts: "And the voicemail hacking was all part of a great game." Do you see that?
A. Um
Q. It's the last page behind tab 7.
A. Yes.
Q. Do you see the third paragraph down?
A. Yes.
Q. "And the voicemail hacking That might not be the right article. It looks like this.
A. Page 3 of 3? LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes, that's it.
A. Yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON It's an article about your brother.
A. Right, okay, sorry. MS PATRY HOSKINS It's headed: "Sean Hoare knew how destructive the News of the World
A. Got it. Yes, I'm here.
Q. The third paragraph: "And the voicemail hacking was all part of a great game." Do you see that?
A. No, I must be on the wrong page. I do apologise. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Does it start, top left-hand corner: "Everyone got over-confident
A. Yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON The next paragraph starts: "It must have scared the rest of Fleet Street And the next one
A. Sorry, apologies, yes. MS PATRY HOSKINS I'll read it out if that assists: "And the voicemail hacking was all part of the great game Sorry, I should make clear this is an article written by Nick Davies just after Sean died, essentially setting out parts of an interview that he had had with Sean. He's commenting here on what he's told about phone hacking: "The idea that it was a secret or the work of some rogue reporter had him rocking in his chair: "'Everyone was doing it. Everyone got a bit carried away with this power that they had. No one came close to catching us.'. "He would hack messages and delete them so that the competition could not hear them, or hack messages and swap them with mates on other papers." Now, the thing I want to focus on here is the deletion of messages. Did he ever speak to you about whether he deleted or saw others deleting voicemail messages they had listened to?
A. No. Again, I mean, you know, just to make this clear as well, there was a kind of as far as the phone hacking was concerned and the other methods that they used to track people down, there was very much a structure in place that the journalists went through other individuals to get this information, so I really don't know how much Sean would have seen of any deletions.
Q. Right. Again, I don't want you to name any names, but can you tell me whether, in your discussions with Sean, he ever told you whether phone hacking was limited to one or two individuals at the paper or whether it was wider, something that was practised on a wider scale? Answer me first on his time at the Sun and then his time at the News of the World.
A. I think the answer is the same for both papers, that the use of hacking was used widely.
Q. At paragraph 15 of your witness statement, you say that Sean considered the news desk in particular at News of the World to be out of control. Again, from your conversations with Sean, was it just the news desk or was it other parts of the News of the World?
A. I think it was you know, again, I can only speak for what he told me.
Q. Of course.
A. It was very, very foreign for me. We came from I come from a very disciplined world, and to listen to Sean's stories of what went on it just didn't even seem like work to me. I mean, it seems, you know, as though no one was in control. As long as they delivered an article, whether it could stand up or not didn't really matter, but as long as they delivered something, and if they delivered something early on in the week, then all the better because they can go and do whatever they want to do for the rest of the week. It was a very strange world that they operated in.
Q. Do you know whether or not it was just the news desk or other parts of the paper, or is that something you just didn't discuss?
A. It's something we didn't really discuss. Sean always referred to the news desk as where he was filing or reporting and that's, I think, where his colleagues were.
Q. Perhaps you've answered this question in parts already, but can you tell us why did he think the Sun and the News of the World had taken to practising the dark arts?
A. Do you know what? That's a very difficult question for me to answer, because I kind of like to think Sean actually didn't realise at the time that he was probably doing wrong. I think that he got carried away, like a lot of journalists, and was certainly under a lot of pressure from seniors to deliver. I doubt in my own head if initially he realised he was doing wrong. I think he thought that he was producing, he was getting the stories, he was getting his name on the front page, his ego was being stroked. We all like a little bit of publicity, and I think Sean probably enjoyed that initially. It wasn't until later on in his career that he couldn't deal with the pressure, that I think Sean actually took the time to sit down and to speak to his family, and I mention this in my statement concerning certain individuals where Sean felt very strongly about he was hung out to dry, that Sean took the actions that he did.
Q. We'll come onto that, I promise. Can I ask you about another practice, please, and that's called pinging, the practice of pinging. This is the tracking of a mobile phone in order it would ascertain where its user is located. Sean spoke to the New York Times about this practice and it's behind your tab 5. For everyone else, I've caused to be handed out the relevant article. It's at the back of the clip that I've handed out. It's on the third page of that particular article. Again, I'll read it out: "A former showbiz reporter for the News of the World, Sean Hoare, who was fired in 2005, said that when he worked there, pinging cost the paper nearly $500 on each occasion. He first found out how the practice worked, he said, when he was scrambling to find someone and was told that one of the news desk editors [I'm not going to read out the name] could help. This person asked for the person's cell phone number and returned later with information showing the person's precise location in Scotland, Mr Hoare said. Mr X, who faces questioning by police on a separate matter, did not return calls for comment." I'm going to read the top of the next page if I can: "A former Scotland Yard officer said the individual who provided the information could have been one of a small group entitled to authorise pay and request, or a lower level officer who duped his superiors into thinking that the request was related to a criminal case. Mr Hoare said the fact that it was a police officer was clear from his exchange with X: "'I thought it was remarkable and asked him how he did it and he said, "It's the old bill, isn't it",' he recalled, noting that the term is common slang in Britain for the police. 'At that point, you don't ask questions,' he said." The article then goes on to report that a second former editor at the page backed Mr Hoare's account. I don't think we need to read the rest of that. What I want to ask you about is if he ever spoke to you about this particular practice and if so, what he said.
A. The simple answer to your question is yes. What did he say about it? Again, I think when we discussed this and we discussed this probably a couple months before his death
Q. Is that the first time he'd spoken to you about it?
A. No, we'd spoken about it, but I had not really taken a lot of or paid a lot of attention to it. It was when he brought it up and we were discussing I actually remember walking around a field with him. We'd taken the dogs for a walk and I was saying to him: "Is that it? Are you done with what you have to tell now?" And he said, "No, I need to mention this practice", and he spoke to me about it at length. I think, again, the thing that shocked me about this practice was there was actually a defined structure in place. So again, the reporters went through someone who went to someone. I was just shocked, and I remember saying to him: "Are you sure you want to really say this?" I make no secrets that I wasn't keen of him parting with this information, you know. We kind of avoid publicity and but he said, "Yes, I have to say it. I have to tell everything."
Q. I understand. You say he told you this recently but also he told you about it before. Can you recall, did he tell you about it before when he was working at the News of the World or
A. That's correct. That's the first time that we ever spoke about this, whilst he was employment with the News of the World.
Q. I've asked you about phone hacking, Mr Hoare, and I have asked you about pinging. Are there any other aspects of the culture at either the Sun or the News of the World that Sean told you about that you would like to share with this Inquiry?
A. I think I'd like to think that my statement really tries to get across the feeling of myself as to what went on and why he did it. I'm just to this day, I'm disgusted with what went on. I feel sorry for the normal journalist that goes about and does his do job and does his job very well. It upsets me, the amount of pressure that these journalists at the News of the World were put on to deliver stories. It really does. And to see the demise of my brother through this was shocking.
Q. I'll move on, if there's nothing else you'd like to say about the culture LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Just before we pass on, it may be that most people understand what you mean by "pinging", but did your brother explain that concept? Did you understand it or did he explain it?
A. I can explain the way that he explained it to me, that it's quite a simple method of actually being able to track people via their mobile phone. Like a GPS system, I suppose, we would see something like I don't know, Googlemaps, whereby if they had someone's phone number, they could pass it on to an individual and he would tell you where that individual is located. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON That's what was explained to you?
A. That's what he explained to me. MS PATRY HOSKINS Can I ask you about Sean's decision to speak out about the practices that he told you about. We know that Sean spoke out about the practices in 2010, and there are New York Times articles that he contributed to from July, September and November 2010. We know he also spoke to Nick Davies at the Guardian and Mr Hanning, who is going to be the next witness giving evidence this morning. Can you assist us, though, with why Sean decided to speak out at this time? What was it about 2010 that meant that he decided to take this action?
A. I suppose going back to a comment earlier, I suppose 2010, we'd got him out of journalism, we'd got him working with horses. He'd stopped drinking. He was clean. The old Sean that we knew and loved as a family was returning to us, and I think he had the ability in 2010 to think clearly and understand his actions. And I think being away from journalism, it gave him the ability to take a step back and to understand the difference between right and wrong. And that's what the time gave him and that's what being clean gave him: the ability to decide what's right and what's wrong.
Q. I understand. Do you know whether he was approached to speak about these practices or whether he contacted newspapers?
A. Sean didn't contact newspapers. Sean actually tried to put his concerns into the public domain, but no one really wanted to much listen. Everyone everyone's perception of Sean was he's some drug-taking, drinking old journalist that's washed up, you know, and quite frankly no one wanted to listen to him. He was then introduced to an individual who took Sean for what he was and took him very seriously.
Q. You can probably name that individual.
A. That was Joe Becker of the New York Times.
Q. Did he receive payment for the interviews that he undertook.
A. Thank you for asking that question because I want to make this very, very clear. Sean received no money for what he did. In fact we talked about that many, many times and he felt very, very strongly. He received no money as far as articles that he provided to the paper and to the New York Times.
Q. There is a question here on the issue of speaking out which I have been asked to put to you by one of the other parties to this Inquiry. The question is this: the Guardian has reported that in September 2010 your brother was questioned by the police under caution in relation to allegations that he was asked to hack phones when at News of the World and chose to make no comment. Do you know whether it is true that he was questioned by the police at that time and that he chose to make no comment?
A. I am fully aware of the interview. He was questioned by police and, yes, he chose, under legal advice, to answer the questions with "no comment".
Q. Right, move on from that. You probably knew Sean better than anyone, from what you tell us. Do you think that he was telling the truth when he told you about these practices at the Sun and at the News of the World?
A. I think sitting here today demonstrates that everything that Sean said, every statement that Sean made, was the truth. I sit here with a lot of pride.
Q. You've explained that he was very upset about having to leave News of the World. Is it possible that he could have exaggerated the position simply because he felt upset and angry about the way he'd been treated at News of the World?
A. Again, I think that's a very, you know, obvious route to go down. Yes, he was upset. Would he exaggerate? I don't think, looking at Sean's life and what he went through, the time when he was sober, the time to reflect no. No, I don't think he would have exaggerated. I think he was very serious in what he was doing. He lost a lot, a lot of friends through what Sean decided to do.
Q. You accept in your statement, Mr Hoare, that Sean had a problem with drink and drugs over the course of his adult life, which started when he worked in the newspaper industry.
A. Yes.
Q. You tell us that drinking, for example, was an accepted part of the job, certainly in the earlier days. Some ex-News of the World personnel have suggested that his version of events can be dismissed as essentially the ramblings of someone who had a severe problem. Let me deal with it this way. Sean first gave an interview about the practice of the dark arts to the New York in July 2010 or some point before the article in July 2010. At that time, was he drinking or taking drugs?
A. No.
Q. How long had he abstained for at that time?
A. He'd probably been away from drink and drugs probably at that time I would have thought probably seven or eight months, at that time. I referred in my statement to the inquest that myself and my wife attended just lately, and it was so encouraging, for a change, to hear a coroner speak so fondly of Sean, and to understand the pressure that he was put on and the reasons why Sean started drinking again, unfortunately, the last few months before he passed away.
Q. Which was in July 2011?
A. (Nods head)
Q. Did the coroner make any findings about his drinking or his use of drugs in the last few years of his life?
A. Yes, I think as far as drugs let's deal with that first Sean hadn't taken drugs for a long, long time. I think of Sean's drug-taking what I know, Sean may have taken drugs. I'm sure he did. Sean regarded that as part of the scene, as part of the job. As far as his drinking LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Sorry, sorry, why would it be part of his job?
A. I think Sean, in his way, thought that within the entertainment world, that to allow Sean to do some of the jobs and gain some of the interviews and gain the friendships of certain individuals, Sean thought that he had to be like them. I honestly do. I hate it. You know, I don't understand it, but that's what he did. And he came close to a lot of celebrities and got a lot of information that benefited him and his employer. MS PATRY HOSKINS Sir, for your information, I can't read it out but if you look back at the article by Nick Davies behind tab 7, that will give you some of the background to the fact that he took drugs with certain persons whose names I won't mention in the course of his employment. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I understand that. MS PATRY HOSKINS So in fact, would I be right to conclude from what you've just said that when your brother gave interviews to Nick Davies and the New York Times, and when he spoke to Mr Hanning, who we'll hear from shortly, he wasn't in fact taking drugs or drinking?
A. No, he wasn't. He was clean, out of journalism, working in the fresh air. He was actually he was the old Sean was coming back. It really was. You know, he was very on top of his game. MS PATRY HOSKINS Mr Hoare, those are all the questions I have. Is there anything that you would like to add?
A. Just that I found this incredibly difficult today, but I'd like to, I suppose, refer you to section point 17 of my statement. I'd really just like to make this very, very clear, that I've found it very, very difficult today not to name names, but the seniors that were involved in the practices that went on, know that they are involved and they know the wrong that has been done, and I just hope that sitting here today, I've tried to put some of the wrongs to rights on Sean's behalf and his ex-colleagues that have suffered pain and imprisonment, that I'm speaking on behalf of Sean to try and put their wrongs right. Thank you for the opportunity. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Mr Hoare, you must understand and I'm sure you do that it is unusual for this sort of Inquiry to run parallel to a police investigation. I understand why it's important for those two events to run parallel, in tandem rather than one after the other, and I hope that you do too. This isn't, in any sense, to cover up what's happened or make findings about whether it's happened; it is very much more an effort to look at what were the culture, practices and ethics of the press to see whether and how things can be made better. I am sure that if there are prosecutions, rather more will come out. There is another part to this Inquiry, but to try to roll it up into one would have undermined the other.
A. I understand. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON So I recognise the complication of it, but I hope you understand why that was absolutely necessary.
A. I do. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Thank you very much.
A. No, thank you all very much. MS PATRY HOSKINS Thank you, Mr Hoare. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Right. I'll rise until the visual side of the promulgation of this evidence is restored. Thank you. (10.40 am) (A short break) (10.45 am) LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes, Mr Barr? MR BARR Thank you, sir. The next witness is Mr Hanning. MR GILES JAMES HANNING (sworn) Questions by MR BARR MS PATRY HOSKINS Mr Hanning, good morning.
A. Morning.
Q. Could you give the Inquiry your full name, please?
A. Yes, it's Giles James Hanning.
Q. You've provided a witness statement to the Inquiry. Are you familiar with the contents?
A. Yes, I am.
Q. And are the contents of your witness statement true and correct to the best of your knowledge and belief?
A. Yes, they are.
Q. We're going to take your witness statement as read. I'm going to ask you, just as my learned friend asked Mr Hoare a moment ago, not to name names when answering my questions unless I specifically ask you to, and that is for the legal reasons which we're all now familiar with. You tell us that you've been a journalist for 25 years, and you are currently the deputy editor of the Independent on Sunday.
A. That's right.
Q. Could you tell us a little bit more about your career history, and in particular, the titles for which you have worked over the last quarter of a century?
A. Well, I started off as a freelance from a standing start, as it were, as a freelance. I then did about six months on the Daily Mail, and I then joined the Evening Standard, doing shifts, and then got a staff job on the Standard and then was stayed at the Standard for about 15 years and then where are we? Seven years ago I joined the Independent on Sunday.
Q. I see. Thank you. You explain in paragraph 2 of your statement that you spoke to Sean Hoare on an off-the-record basis, but that you are now prepared to go public with those off-the-record conversations, given Mr Hoare's death and the fact that you are confident, having been in touch with Mr Hoare's family, that that is what he would have wanted; is that right?
A. Yes. I checked with Stuart Hoare that he and it didn't require any conversation at all. We were both certain that we would have wanted what he knew to be made known.
Q. Thank you. You make clear in your witness statement that today you are giving evidence entirely in a personal capacity?
A. Yes, indeed.
Q. And not in your capacity as a deputy editor of the Independent on Sunday?
A. Indeed. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON But that has to be unpicked a little bit, if you don't mind, Mr Hanning. Of course you're not speaking as the deputy editor, but you are speaking, I hope, with the experience of 25 years in journalism?
A. Indeed, yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON So therefore, to some extent and doubtless you'll be asked about this the way in which you spoke to Mr Hoare and your own knowledge can combine.
A. Yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I hope that what I'm receiving is the benefit of all that.
A. Indeed. I mean, I spoke to Sean, Sean knew I worked for the Independent on Sunday, it was implicit that I was talking to him as an employee of the Independent on Sunday. So yes indeed. MS PATRY HOSKINS You tell us in your statement that not only did you speak to Mr Sean Hoare, you also spoke to a number of people who either were or had been employees of the News of the World; is that right?
A. Yes.
Q. Can you give us any indication about the sort of numbers of people in that category who you spoke to?
A. Well, not a great many. I can't pretend it was a lot because not least because they were not keen to talk. Sean was the one I spoke to most, but I did speak to one or two people briefly and they were sometimes able to corroborate things casually, as it were, but not many people were anxious to sit down and have a long chat, as it were.
Q. What was the purpose of these conversations? Why did you seek them out?
A. Well, I got interested in the whole story three or four years ago and it just struck me there was something there, and it was really when I met Sean that I was able to sort of push things on a bit, but it had been a longstanding interest of mine for it just struck me there was something going on.
Q. Turned out there was. Can I ask you about your contact with Mr Hoare. You tell us that you first met him in the summer of 2010?
A. Yes.
Q. And that you met him after that four or five times. Can you give us some indication of the duration of these meetings? Were they short meetings or long meetings?
A. Quite long. He would come into London from Watford, where he lived, so we both wanted to make it worth his while so we had a good chat. We had lunch a couple of times and yes, we had a very good chat and we always found one another to be talking the same language, as it were. We seemed to be on the same territory. So yes, they were pretty lengthy conversations.
Q. Did you feel that in those meetings you had built up some trust and a rapport with Mr Hoare?
A. Yes, I think I did.
Q. You tell us that there was discussion perhaps of writing a book together?
A. Yes. That was a bit hit and miss. One or other of us would say, "Gosh, I've found out this, I've found out that", and we would think: "Gosh, I wonder if perhaps that would make a book", and then either I was busy or he was busy, so it never really got off the ground, but it was something that was in the background.
Q. There are number of matters which I must explore with you so that we can hear as best as possible what those who spoke to him thought at the time. First of all, we know that he was a man who sadly had difficulties with both drugs and alcohol. Can you help us, please. When you saw him in the summer of 2010, was it your understanding that he was teetotal at that time or was he drinking?
A. I'm pretty sure, so far as I can be, that he wasn't taking drugs. Whether he was not drinking I would be less certain. He may have had a half of lager or something, but there was certainly no evidence that he was in the state that I'd heard he had been in the past. He seemed to be operating very efficiently and impressively.
Q. Did you sense that either at the time he was trying to recall things for you or because of his past problems with drink and drugs, that his memory of events had been impaired or distorted?
A. No. I had no feeling that his memory was impaired at all.
Q. We also know that he had left the News of the World some years before you met him. Can you tell us a little bit about how he regarded the circumstances in which he had come to part company with the News of the World?
A. Well, my understanding is that he was aggrieved because, as we've heard this morning from his brother, he loved journalism, he loved the game. I think he did feel wounded and, you know, the boat was moving off without him, as it were.
Q. Did you ever sense that that grievance influenced the way he spoke to you and his account of events?
A. It would be fair to say he was to say his motives were entirely public-spirited, I suppose, would be an exaggeration. That's not to say he wasn't he hadn't thought very seriously about why he was doing it. But he yes, I would be lying if I said he didn't there was a degree of feeling that some of the people who had been responsible for what went on shouldn't pay for it.
Q. Did you ever sense that that motivation affected the reliability of the account that he was giving?
A. No. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON You must, during your career as a journalist, have many meetings with people who have all sorts of different motives
A. Absolutely. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON for speaking about what they speak about?
A. Of course, yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Some good, some bad, some terrible. And part of the job is to calibrate or validate
A. Yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON the information you're getting.
A. Absolutely. You make allowances and you aim off and so on, and I did that I tried to do that constantly with Sean, and I the more I spoke to him, the less I felt that was necessary. I felt: actually, yes, this does stack up, this is corroborated by other sources one can get hold of. MR BARR A final question on this theme: we've heard in Mr Stuart Hoare's statement that Mr Sean Hoare had strong socialist beliefs. By the time that you were speaking to Sean Hoare, the Murdoch press had switched political allegiance and one former editor of the News of the World was working in Downing Street. Did you ever sense that there was any political agenda or any political axe to grind behind what Sean Hoare was telling you?
A. It definitely occurred to me, but I wouldn't say it was I wouldn't say it was a prime sort of spur. I mean, he did I think Stuart used the word "romantic". He did have a very romantic view of socialism, it seemed to me, but in my experience those with a romantic view of socialism very often find they have to live in the real world and they get just get on with their jobs and I think that's what Stuart was in that category.
Q. So far as you were aware, is it right that Sean Hoare received no money in return for the interviews he gave journalists?
A. Not only that, but he told me he was offered ?60,000 to tell his story some years ago and he turned it down. I'm not sure how many years ago, but maybe a couple of years ago.
Q. Thank you. Against that background, can we now turn to what he actually did tell you. Can we start with phone hacking, again being extra specially careful not to mention names. Did he tell you that he had hacked phones whilst working for the News of the World?
A. Yes, he did.
Q. Did you get the impression that it was a one-off or was something that he had done numerous times?
A. Numerous times.
Q. Did he tell you that anybody else had hacked mobile phones whilst he was working for the News of the World?
A. Yes.
Q. Did you get the impression that he was talking about a single other individual or about a number of other individuals?
A. It was a number.
Q. Are we talking a small number or a large number?
A. Well, I remember once when the police were making progress with their case and he was speculating as to who might go into the witness box, he said and testify against people, he said, "X will probably sing in court and will and he then named about eight people.
Q. Did he give you any impression about how long the practice of hacking phones had been going on for in the News of the World?
A. I think as long as he'd been at the News of the World. Maybe longer.
Q. Again without naming names, did he give you any indication of the types of target whose phones were hacked?
A. Well, I think all sorts of people. I mean, he had been a showbiz reporter and so I think he did a lot of celebrities, showbiz people.
Q. Did he give you to understand whether there were any boundaries, by which I mean: was there any sort of people who were off limits to phone hacking?
A. No, but we never discussed that. But no.
Q. Without naming names, did he give you to understand that even people who had good relations with the News of the World had been targeted by their hacking efforts?
A. Well, there were yes. There were two instances of that. One was when a famous female celebrity rang a senior executive on the paper and said, "I understand you may need to get in touch with me, this is my PA's number", and the female celebrity handed over the number to this senior executive and they had a chat, and he put the phone down and he then passed the note on to another executive and said, "There you are, there's X's number, tell him to get hacking", or words to that effect. You know: "That's one for him to work on with his hacking", or "screwing", I think the term would have been. "There's a phone for him to screw."
Q. Can
A. Sorry, there was one instance of that, where I know a cabinet minister this was about a year ago said, "X wouldn't have authorised the hacking of my phone", and "X wouldn't authorise the hacking of my phone. X was a friend of mine." And I just thought: crikey, they still don't get it. Why would having social relations with someone disbar them from having their phone hacked?
Q. Now, the hacking I've been thinking we're talking about voicemails; is that right?
A. Yes.
Q. Did he ever speak about intercepting conversations?
A. Yes, he did.
Q. And was that in the context of a long time ago or was he talking about more recently?
A. It wasn't explicit, and he said it only briefly, but he said it he just said, "Yes, they can do it. Yes, that goes on."
Q. Did he talk about pinging or using mobile phones to locate people?
A. No, he never talked to me about that. That's a story I would have liked to have had, actually.
Q. Did he talk to you about intercepting emails?
A. I don't remember. I don't think so.
Q. I'm going to move off the interception of communications onto wider cultural issues. Before I do so, is there anything else that you would like to tell us about what Sean Hoare told you about phone hacking?
A. Well, I mean, I suppose it was he talked about it as if it was one shot in the locker. Phone hacking was just one of the things they did but it was there's been a lot of interest in the media about phone hacking, but it seems my impression from him was that it wasn't it was not exactly the least of it, but it was just one of the tools.
Q. Perhaps that's a convenient peg on which to move onto the other tools. What other tools did he tell you about?
A. Well, I mean there was I understood there was a certain amount of cash around in the office, and I know he and another employee of the newspaper would pay somebody on another paper to have their news list. This is the news list that's prepared or updated every day for a Sunday paper, and the news list is what is planned to go in the paper. Now, for a rival paper to get hold of your news list is quite it's a good thing to have. I'm told Sean told me that they would get ?400 in cash and a person on another paper was paid ?200 to hand over this news list and ?100 would go to Sean and ?100 would go to the other executive.
Q. So that is an example both of paying money to secure information from a third party and also, it would seem, an abuse of the expenses system?
A. Yes.
Q. Can I look at each of those topics separately? Did he tell you about payments either by himself or by anybody else at the News of the World to third parties in return for information?
A. No, I don't think he did. I don't think he did, no.
Q. Did he speak about any other instances or indeed about any general attitude towards expenses?
A. Not really. I mean, I understand that cash was the it was assumed that cash made things happen, and I know the I mean, my understanding is that senior people in the office were concerned that there was too much was being done in cash and they would frequently try and clamp down on how much was going out in cash because it was so hard to keep track of.
Q. Could you help us with what Sean told you, if anything, about decisions as to what went into the newspaper and what didn't. Was there an attitude that what should be published was what was interesting to the public or was there any discussion of discernment and being careful not to publish things that might not be in the public interest in a higher sense of the word?
A. I think it's fair to say that Sean regarded the News of the World as a source of information but also a source of entertainment. If it was entertaining, added to the gaiety of the nation, then it should go in. That was the prime concern because, I suppose, you could be pretty sure that if you didn't run the story, then one of your rivals would.
Q. If that was Mr Hoare's view, did he say anything which gave you to understand that it was a general understanding or attitude at the paper?
A. I think it was implicit.
Q. Did he ever discuss with you the emerging law of privacy and the effect that that was having on the News of the World's ability to print intrusive stories?
A. I don't remember him doing so, no.
Q. Did he, for example, ever discuss the Max Mosley story with you?
A. I don't think so.
Q. Did he ever discuss blagging with you?
A. He mentioned there was an expert in blagging, but he didn't talk about it specifically a great deal, if at all.
Q. Did he give you any impression of the management line so far as discipline was concerned? Did you get the impression that journalists were kept to rigid professional standards or did you get the impression that what was of most importance was obtaining stories that could be printed?
A. The latter, very much. Yes, get the story. I mean, I think Stuart Hoare used the expression he said the news desk was out of control. I'm not sure it's a term I'd use. I mean, it seemed to me it was known what was going on.
Q. I see. So I understand. Moving on to the pressures on journalists, did Mr Hoare talk to you about the pressures he'd felt under whilst working for the News of the World?
A. Yes. Again, extremely competitive newspaper and in many ways a very impressive one. But nobody had an easy ride there. I mean, it was not for nothing did they sell that many copies. There was great pressure and he was clearly he did talk about that.
Q. That was a pressure to perform?
A. Yes.
Q. Did he speak about the consequences of not performing?
A. Again, not explicitly, but I think he felt he didn't need to and I'm not sure I felt he needed to.
Q. I see. Did he LORD JUSTICE LEVESON You'd better decodify that for me, please.
A. Sorry. Well, I don't LORD JUSTICE LEVESON What does it mean?
A. It's a tough it's a tough the red top market is a very tough place to be, and if you don't perform, you tend not to thrive. MR BARR Does that mean you get sacked or does that mean you just bump along the bottom?
A. Probably get sacked.
Q. Did he tell you anything about the management style of senior managers? Again, naming no names. Did you get any sense of how the paper was run?
A. I felt just as far as his own testimony was concerned, I felt he, for some time, was in quite a privileged position because he was producing results and so on. So and I think latterly in his career there, when things were going less well, I think he was put under increasing pressure. But so he no, I mean during the time when things were good for him, he didn't really discuss the ethos, but clearly when he wasn't performing and he was having problems, then he was suffering.
Q. Did he describe, either in terms or implicitly, any bullying or harassment by managers?
A. Yes. There was a bit of that, yes. There was one individual in particular, I remember him saying, had had a really hard time and to whom he was he offered a shoulder on which to cry. And I don't mean that euphemistically. He was my understanding from talking to former colleagues of his was that he was very kind and he was a popular figure. They liked him.
Q. Returning to the question of information-gathering techniques, we've heard some evidence of a suspected break-in to obtain information. Did he ever speak to you about anything like that?
A. No. I don't think so.
Q. I want to move now to the consequence of Mr Hoare speaking out to other people. There are a number of articles that we're aware of that were published on the basis of what he said. Did that have any adverse consequences for him in his relations with his former colleagues?
A. I would assume so, or rather I would assume they would have done had he been in touch with them. I'm not aware that he was in touch with them. But he was concerned that he was sticking his neck out and would make himself very unpopular.
Q. Can we move now to the Sun. Did he say anything to you about whether or not phone hacking had occurred on the Sun?
A. I don't remember him saying that specifically, but if I'm not speculating, then I would think he would take that he would assume I would understand that to have been the case. He would it seemed to be implicit.
Q. I see. Did he speak to you about any other information-gathering techniques which might be considered ethically controversial on the Sun?
A. No. I don't think so.
Q. Can I now move to your own experience, which is predominantly on the Evening Standard and the Independent on Sunday. In what circumstances, in your book, is it acceptable to use subterfuge in journalism?
A. Well, it seems to me the PCC code is pretty good in this respect. I mean, I know this is it's all being reviewed at the moment, but generally I think if you talked to most journalists, they would say the PCC code is pretty good. I do think there is a rule that I was always taught, which I think is a Harry Evans rule, former editor of the Sunday Times, which is that if you're writing a story which involves some sort of subterfuge, you should ask yourself: will I be prepared to tell the reader what I've done when I write the story? It seems to me that's a minimal test, but it's a good test, and it seems to me phone hacking, for example, is generally not excusable under that criterion.
Q. When you discussed that idea in your witness statement, you also say that it would rule out fishing expeditions. Do you think that that's a good thing or a bad thing?
A. I generally think fishing expeditions are a bad thing, yes. You can have a strong suspicion, but you need to be pretty confident you've got you're going after something.
Q. The PCC code on subterfuge, clause 10, places a heavy emphasis on what's in the public interest. In your book, how do you define what is and what is not in the public interest?
A. I think I find it an incredibly difficult question. I mean, we have endless arguments in our own office about whether a footballer's sex life is in the public interest or not. Very often there's a you could say footballer X, so what if they're having an affair? Then you find actually they've done all sorts of other things, and then you think actually, that is in the public interest. I think it's an extraordinary grey area and wouldn't presume to
Q. Does the LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Hang on. You wouldn't presume to what?
A. I find it very, very difficult. I mean, the Independent and the Independent on Sunday are papers which tend not to think that footballers' sex lives are of interest and I'm proud of working for those newspapers. Equally, I suspect one can imagine a situation when you'd say, well, yes, a footballer's sex life is a matter of public interest. Maybe if they're getting an enormous sponsorship, maybe if they're married, sponsorship, playing a role of a loving parent and husband and so on, and it turns out that they're doing all sorts of other things which nobody knows about, then it seems to me that probably is in the public interest. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON But is it appropriate, therefore, to try to define that rather more closely? Because I would have thought as the deputy editor of a newspaper, you would have a view in your mind where the scale was, and that you've explained how much you argue about it and talk about it would suggest that it's rather fuzzier than that. I'm not being critical, I just
A. It is very fuzzy, absolutely. We had a conversation in the office a couple of years ago about a television presenter who was having an affair and we had great anxious debates about whether they could do their job as an interviewer and so on, given what was in their closet, and I think we decided on that occasion that it was not in the public interest. But it's I do think it's the nub, if I may say so. I think it's the nub of this entire debate. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON That's why I'm pressing you a bit, Mr Hanning, because I don't think it's the entirety of it, but I do think it's not an unimportant part of it. So if you had to define it, how would you define it?
A. I'd find it incredibly difficult. I think if you're I think if people really if public figures are living a lie, in some sense, figures who are known to the public, in some sense they are living a lie, then they must expect to come under the scrutiny of the press, and that's legitimate. MR BARR That is, I suppose, an example of hypocrisy, isn't it?
A. Yes.
Q. You're a man of immense experience and a deputy editor of a national newspaper. If you're having difficulty, if I may say so
A. Yes.
Q. formulating a succinct, concrete definition of public interest, might that be because it's not amenable to a succinct concrete definition?
A. Yes, I think that's fair.
Q. And if it's not amenable to a succinct concrete definition, and yet it is a matter of very considerable importance, does that not suggest that there is a need for considerable guidance to inform what might necessarily have to be a slightly elastic broad definition of public interest?
A. Yes. Yes.
Q. If we see the broad definition in the PCC code, where does one go at the moment for the guidance? Or is there a lacuna?
A. I think the PCC code is generally very, very good. It's senior executives on newspapers, lawyers, bringing all their experience to bear and one is slightly feeling one's way. Whether there's a gap, I don't know. Again, if I may say so, it seems to me that the problem has been not so much in the in what the PCC says, but in enforcement and investigation.
Q. So if a decision on public interest has to be made on a case-by-case basis, you've told us about one pointer, perhaps, which would be hypocrisy.
A. Mm.
Q. What, in your view, are the other pointers?
A. Well, the old-fashioned notion of information, education, so on. I think entertainment is a legitimate part of it.
Q. Is that right? That mere entertainment is in the public interest and might justify
A. Not absolutely, no.
Q. subterfuge?
A. No, not absolutely. In terms of subterfuge? I'm sorry, no. No, in terms of justifying subterfuge, no, I wouldn't say that.
Q. I see. In your experience and I'm not now confining this question to your experience on the Evening Standard and the Independent on Sunday, I need to make that quite clear have you heard, either directly or through what you would consider to be reliable hearsay, of phone hacking going on on any titles other than the News of the World and the Sun?
A. I've heard it talked about, but as no more than hearsay.
Q. In relation to tabloid titles or broadsheets or both?
A. Both. But I have no concrete knowledge of it.
Q. No direct knowledge, I understand. Blagging. Is it your understanding from your experience that blagging has or has not been a widespread technique from obtaining information?
A. Yes, it has. I think it has. It seems to me there's been an increasing there's been a sort of creeping acceptability of some of these practices. Whereas in the past they might have been used to stand up a story, to prove that a story is correct, because they were effective, they seemed to work in proving the truth of a story, then they came to be used more commonly and more readily, and indeed, came to be the starting point for a story with fishing expeditions. I mean, to return to Sean, Sean used to say it was: "Why don't you do some finger fishing, find out what X is up to." And he would be told this in a sort of fairly casual way: "Oh yes, we could to with a story about X."
Q. What I'm trying to establish at the moment is whether that approach is more widespread than just the News of the World and perhaps the Sun.
A. I don't know.
Q. In terms of payments made to public officials to obtain information, have you, in your career, heard what you might consider to be reliable hearsay suggesting that that sort of thing has gone on?
A. Yes. I mean, I don't know of specific instances, but it's long been I think it's fair to say it's long been recognised among journalists that very often the police will tip off friendly journalists and who knows, they may get a meal out of it, they may get 50 quid out of it, I don't know. But the police are recognised as being quite a source of stories.
Q. If the police are recognised as a fertile source of information, what is your sense of how widespread that has been in recent years?
A. I'm in the dark about the relationship, for example, between the News of the World and the police. I don't understand it. My sense is that individual police officers are well, certainly senior police would not would certainly not condone anything like that.
Q. No, I understand that. I'm just trying to get a sense of if it is going on, whether you can help us with to what extent it is going on.
A. I don't think so, no.
Q. Can I ask you now, particularly given your experience as a very senior editor, what your impression is of the power of the media in influencing politicians and politics. What is your view about that relationship?
A. I think it's I think politicians are perhaps more concerned about the media than is healthy, very often. Particularly in terms of just day-to-day headlines and so on. There's the expression "the fight for tomorrow's headlines", and I know certainly under the Labour government and now this government, there is a great concern to get to win the approval of the press and get the right headlines and so on.
Q. Does that translate into real political power for newspapers?
A. Yes, I think it does.
Q. Finally, at the end of your statement, you suggest a second idea which might help to improve ethical standards in the media. It's on a quite different subject.
A. Yes.
Q. It's on the question of copy approval. The Inquiry has heard evidence about I think it's called "churnalism". You suggest that there ought perhaps to be a rule requiring copy which has been scrutinised by the subject of the article to say so, to declare the approval of the subject.
A. Yes.
Q. In what we do you think that will help to raise standards in the press?
A. It seems to me that the press is has been playing the PR game to a dangerous degree, and it needs to stand back from just promoting celebrities and so on, and that while it's fair enough for a celebrity to say, "Can I read my quotes back or, "Could you read my quotes back to me to check I'm not misquoted", although even that is debatable but when the PR representative of such-and-such a film star says, "We want to see the whole article", it seems to me you're rather selling the past to the reader on the reader, so if the newspaper or the magazine is giving copy approval, they should say, "This article has been vetted", or whatever, by the celebrity in question. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON It's not so much copy approval; it's whether if you change anything?
A. Yes. Yes. MR BARR Those were all my questions. Thank you very much, Mr Hanning. Questions by LORD JUSTICE LEVESON LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Can I ask a couple of topic, please? First of all, you've had the experience of both the Evening Standard and the Independent, which are very different newspapers. Do you think there is a different test to be applied in relation to the public interest, depending upon the type of newspaper?
A. Yes, quite possibly, actually. I mean, we those who say we have it's difficult to argue with those who say we do have two presses. I think that's true. Although I'm not sure the gap the difference between the Evening Standard and the Independent is that great. But no, I mean, I take your point. That is arguable. It seems to me that we have a lot of what you might call tittle-tattle in our daily papers, whereas on the continent, so far as I can see, it's much more in the weekly press which presents different issues for our daily press. Yes, I do think it's a they are you know, the red tops, for example, are in a different ball game. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON They may be wanting to discuss the issue in a different context, with a different subject matter, but should the test be different?
A. I take your point. No, probably not. I mean, this issue about footballers, for example, no, I don't think it should be different. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I mean, that's precisely the concern.
A. Yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I'm merely trying to probe the issue that has been erected, that there is a difference between different markets which has to be understood, and I readily recognise that the tabloid/mid-market papers are different in their outlook and different in the market to which they are selling their wares.
A. Yes. I mean, you can cover you can have a balance towards celebrities and football in a red top and have other subjects copied in covered in broadsheets, but no, I take your point. No, the test is the same. The test should be the same. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON All right. The second thing that I want to just ask you about and I recognise that you are speaking in your personal capacity, and I underline that before I start the question. You left somewhat hanging in the air how highly you thought of the code and then expressed, at least by implication, a concern about its enforceability.
A. Yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Help me with that, if you could.
A. Well, I understand Lord Hunt is addressing this. It seems to me that some of the things we've been talking about today do suggest that the regulation system was not perfect, and had the PCC it seems to me, again, speaking personally, had the PCC had more powers to investigate, then some of the wrongdoing might have been uncovered a bit sooner. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes, may or may not have had a power to investigate. That's historical. I'm actually thinking about what might be a model for the future, if the model is to change, in particular, whether it should be optional.
A. What, membership of the PCC? LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Well, or involvement or any sort of regulatory regime.
A. No, I think I mean, I don't think it should be optional. It should be strongly discouraged for people to opt out. I think you do need to have some sort of LORD LEVESON But if merely "strongly discouraged", somebody who is prepared to walk-away from it will walk-away from it.
A. Indeed. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON "Strongly discouraged" is not terribly potent.
A. No. I accept that. I don't I mean, otherwise you have very strict regulation by Parliament, which seems to me not LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I understand entirely that there is a very strong view that regulation by government or Parliament is the antithesis of freedom of expression, or may be the antithesis of freedom of expression. The question is, as I've put to a number of people, whether it's a binary all or nothing or whether there isn't some middle ground. I'm asking you because you are a serving deputy editor with views on this topic, I have no doubt. You will not be the first and you certainly won't be the last I will ask, so you're not being singled out.
A. It seems to me the PCC is not far off being pretty good, and that a way should be found, if it's possible, to get everybody to sign up to it. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Once you talk about "getting everybody", you really mean forcing everybody?
A. As I say, strongly encourage. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON How does that work?
A. I don't know. Some sort of financial I don't know. I don't know. It's not an issue which I feel confident in answering, particularly LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Fair enough. I'm sure you will understand why, given your position, I felt it appropriate to ask. And indeed, you left the issue hanging slightly. You say: "The PCC is not far off being pretty good." Do you think it's been a regulator at all?
A. Yes, I do. I do. The PCC's come in for a lot of criticism recently, but if you talk to most journalists, I would suggest, they would say, "Gosh, we don't want to be brought up in front of the PCC. That's bad news." As I say, a lot has gone on that shouldn't have gone on, but most of its work, it seems to me, has been pretty LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Well, you're talking about
A. In the bread and butter issues and so on, it's been pretty effective. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON You're talking about its harassment policy. Are you talking about its complaints system?
A. Yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON You think that works efficiently and well?
A. In terms of mediation and so on? LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Mediation is slightly different.
A. Right. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON What about its complaints system?
A. Yes no, there are instances where there is not sufficient remedy, I agree with that. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON All right. Well, thank you. Questions by MR DAVIES MR DAVIES Can I ask a couple of questions before you do? I simply wanted to ask whether he made any notes of his conversations with Mr Hoare. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON That's a fair question.
A. I have some, yes. MR DAVIES Would you be willing to make them available?
A. Yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Thank you. Thank you very much, that would be very useful. That would be invaluable. Thank you very much. MR BARR Sir, we've made excellent progress with our two witnesses this morning. Our third witness for the day is Mr Driscoll. The arrangement was for him to give evidence at 2 o'clock. I'm told by my learned friend that if it was convenient for you, sir, we could start at 1.30. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON How long is that evidence likely to take? Some time, is it? MS PATRY HOSKINS Sir, I'm notoriously bad at judging these things. I'd say an hour and a half. Don't hold me to that. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON You've given me great confidence. MS PATRY HOSKINS It all depends on the witness and how they answer questions. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes, yes, and the judge, I know that. MS PATRY HOSKINS I was too polite to say that. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON All right. I certainly would want to make sure I concluded his evidence without any problem. Would it be inconvenient to anybody to start earlier? No? All right. We'll start at 1.30. There are some things that I'll want to say this afternoon about module 2, and if there are any other issues that anybody wants to raise, we'll do it after we've concluded the evidence of the witness. Thank you. (11.40 am)


Gave a statement at the hearing on 19 December 2011 (AM) ; and submitted 2 pieces of evidence
Gave a statement at the hearing on 19 December 2011 (AM) ; and submitted 1 pieces of evidence


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