Afternoon Hearing on 13 March 2012

Dick Fedorcio gave a statement at this hearing

Hearing Transcript

(2.00 pm) MR JAY Mr Fedorcio, we're back to the gift and hospitality registers. The names who keep on cropping up are Lucy Panton, Stephen Wright, Mike Sullivan and John Twomey. Would that be right?
A. Yes.
Q. Given all the interactions which you had with them, one begins to wonder what you had to talk about. What was it, Mr Fedorcio?
A. I think in the main, they as I said earlier, they were quite active in covering the Metropolitan Police, following lots of different angles and stories. They were often exploring whether you know, they were the sorts of stories that we would be interested in assisting them with.
Q. A lot of people might think and therefore I put it to you bluntly in these terms that the reason why they kept on lunching with you, really serially or systematically, is they knew you were a very good source of leaks. Is that right or not?
A. That's wrong.
Q. May I move on, please, to paragraph 61 of your statement.
A. Yes.
Q. This is something, to be fair, that you volunteer, and it relates to Rebekah Wade acquiring the retired police horse; is that correct?
A. Yes.
Q. When Rebekah Wade first telephoned you, which you say you think was in September 2007, did she contact you on your mobile phone or office phone?
A. I think it was a call to the office by her PA, who put her through to me.
Q. She made a general enquiry about the MPS loan of retired police horses. Was that something you knew about before she raised the matter?
A. Not in any great depth. I was aware of a police officer who had taken a retired horse after the officer had retired to his home in the north of England, but I wasn't aware of a broader scheme, no.
Q. You made enquiry. You think the person you spoke to was someone called Inspector Hiscock; is that right?
A. Yes.
Q. He outlined the scheme to you, which was simply this: that the retired horse is lent to the member of the public, is that right, and the member of the public pays for upkeep and everything else?
A. That's right, but it remains
Q. Pardon me?
A. But the horse remains in the ownership of the Metropolitan Police.
Q. Certainly. And arrangements were made for Rebekah Wade to visit Imber Court where the stables were?
A. That's right.
Q. And to meet with both presumably the horse and Inspector Hiscock?
A. No, not the horse.
Q. Not the horse at that point?
A. There was a nine-month gap between this meeting and Rebekah Wade getting the horse, I think in July the following year.
Q. Okay, we'll go through the history. As far as you were concerned, you were keen, were you not, that Rebekah Wade get her horse; is that right?
A. I was keen that if she was able to enter the scheme like any other member of the public, then she should be able to. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON How long had this scheme been going on for? Did you find out?
A. I don't know. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Do you know how many people have been lent animals in this way?
A. Subsequently, I think in recent weeks because of some of the coverage, I've seen suggested about 12 horses a year. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I've not seen that. MR JAY You say at paragraph 63 that you felt that this, which presumably was Rebekah Wade taking up with a horse, could possibly lead to some positive coverage about the care of retired police horses, which suggests that you were keen that Rebekah Wade, as it were, get her horse; is that right?
A. No, I was just expressing a view that if she were to get a horse, then it might lead to some coverage.
Q. Why did you speak to the Commissioner about it, if it wasn't on the premise that Rebekah Wade would get her horse?
A. I spoke to the Commissioner because on the day that I was due to take her to Imber Court, we were having lunch with Rebekah Wade, and I thought it would be wrong for Rebekah Wade to turn up at the lunch, having been at the Metropolitan Police stables that morning and had such a discussion with the officer, and I assumed one of her first lines would be: "I've had a very interesting morning at stables", and the Commissioner would have looked blank. I thought he needed to be briefed on what might come up over lunch.
Q. Yes. So the lunch had been arranged before Rebekah Wade was ever going to see the horse?
A. Yes.
Q. Or
A. Yes.
Q. Was the issue discussed at lunch?
A. Briefly. It was, as I predicted, that he sort of said, "Have you had a good morning?" and she said, "Yes, I had a good visit to the stables, they were very good facilities." That was it.
Q. Presumably, she was, by that stage, aware that in principle she was going to acquire a horse on loan; is that right?
A. No. No, there would be further steps, as it were, to go through between a prospective temporary owner and the Metropolitan Police mounted branch, and that would be for her to deal directly with Inspector Hiscock subsequently, and I was not involved with that. I then withdrew and left Inspector Hiscock to deal with Rebekah Wade direct.
Q. Yes, but all that had to be done was a suitable horse identified, the two of them matched up, as it were, owner or new owner or new lender, I suppose, of the horse and the horse itself, and then that would be it.
A. No.
Q. There was nothing more, was there?
A. There was one further stage and that would require Inspector Hiscock to inspect the facilities where she was intending to keep the horse, which he obviously did at some stage after that and before July.
Q. Weren't you left with the impression at the lunch that there was an agreement in principle, subject to these matters being finalised, these practical matters, that she would get her horse?
A. I don't believe so. Whether she felt that is different, but as far as I was concerned, there were more steps to be taken.
Q. So when you say in paragraph 66 that some time later you received a call from Inspector Hiscock that he'd identified a suitable horse, how much time later?
A. I now believe that to be July the following year, at around the time that he'd identified the horse for her to have. So probably about nine months later.
Q. Have you carried out further enquiries then since your statement was prepared?
A. No, I've just seen the press coverage around the story and the Metropolitan Police statements that have been issued, which put a timing on when the horse was provided to her.
Q. Look at paragraph 97 of your statement, page 09553.
A. Yes.
Q. This relates to your son, who was considering a career in journalism: "When all the pupils in his year were encouraged to find one week's relevant work experience, I approached the editor of the Sun, Rebekah Wade, and she agreed to provide this." Can you remember when that was?
A. That would have been in 2003, 2004.
Q. So that's long before the arrangements we were discussing?
A. Yes.
Q. You say the subsequent arrangements were made between the school and the HR department of the Sun. Who did your son work for at the Sun?
A. He in the week that he was there, I think he spent some time on the Bizarre desk. I think he spent some time on the general news desk. I think he also spent some time on the online version of the paper. I'm not totally sure, but that's my recollection.
Q. Then you say: "At the end of his week at the Sun, he was invited to return for further work experience if he wished, an offer he took up after university, completing another four weeks work experience." So when was that, Mr Fedorcio?
A. That was in 2007, some stage after he left university.
Q. Was it about the time of the telephone call, first call in relation to the horse, which was September 2007?
A. It may have been.
Q. Mm.
A. May have been.
Q. But was it a question, put bluntly, of favours being called in here?
A. I don't believe it was at all. Not as far as I was concerned. And the arrangement at that stage in 2007, I was not involved in. That was a matter between my son and the Sun direct.
Q. Yes, but the Sun it's, if I may say so, a slightly unusual name, by which I mean there are not many Fedorcios around.
A. No, I appreciate that.
Q. And the Sun knew well who your son was?
A. Oh yes.
Q. In other words, you were the father?
A. Yes, yes.
Q. So it was all clear?
A. Yes.
Q. It sounds a little bit incestuous; is that a fair observation or not?
A. No, it's not. They're totally unconnected.
Q. Although they might have been coincident in time?
A. They may have been coincident in time, but as far as I was concerned, there was no crossover between the two.
Q. And then in November 2007 this is paragraph 99 you were asked by the director of human resources, Martin Tiplady: if I knew of anyone who might be available immediately for a short term contract to work in his press office. I told him of my son's recent work experience at the Sun and he suggested that my son should approach the HR press office senior information officer to see if he could be of help to her." Was the upshot that your son gained employment at the Metropolitan Police?
A. Yes.
Q. Which department?
A. The human resources department, and that was on a short-term contract.
Q. Following that, he made an application for a permanent position?
A. Yes.
Q. But, of course, outside your directorate.
A. Yes.
Q. Sir Ian Blair, as he then was, says that you fixed up work experience for his son at the Sun newspaper in 2005; is that right?
A. I heard him say that the other day. I'd forgotten about it, but I think I did, yes.
Q. In order to do that, did you speak to Rebekah Wade?
A. I think I did, yes.
Q. What was the basis of your relationship with Rebekah Wade, in the sense of how close a friend was she of you and vice versa?
A. I knew her. I'd met her as editor, usually with the Commissioner. I'd had probably one or two meetings with her on my own. I'd been to dinner with her and the Commissioner or previous commissioners. But you know, someone that I was on good terms with but not a personal friend. It was a work connection.
Q. Yes. I think there was one dinner; is this right? You, Sir John Stevens, Rebekah Wade and your respective spouses; is that correct?
A. That's right, yes.
Q. But only one dinner?
A. As far as I can recall, yes.
Q. Aside from the horse, do you feel Rebekah Wade was trying to get something out of you?
A. No.
Q. Did she try to get something out of you
A. No.
Q. by which I mean in terms of a story, a tip, anything which might help her in her job as editor of the Sun?
A. No.
Q. She didn't even try, Mr Fedorcio?
A. Not that I recall, no.
Q. There's nothing wrong with trying, of course.
A. No.
Q. You don't think she even attempted? Okay.
A. I assure you she wouldn't have got anything. It would have been inappropriate.
Q. Can I ask you, please, to look back to paragraph 69 of your statement?
A. Yes.
Q. You deal with various meetings with AC Hayman. Mr Yates' evidence was that you were nearly always there when he met Lucy Panton. Might that be correct?
A. Not that I recall.
Q. So were there occasions when he met her, to your knowledge, when you weren't there? Is that right?
A. I can't be sure about that, but I wouldn't have thought I was there on every occasion that he met there. There were a number of occasions when we were both there.
Q. The same would be true for AC Hayman; is that right?
A. With AC Hayman, there was only one occasion, which is the one I refer to there in April 2006. I was with AC Hayman and anyone else that I recall from the News of the World.
Q. Do you feel that on any of the occasions which you witnessed when Lucy Panton was there with either Mr Yates or Mr Hayman, that Lucy Panton was trying to get these senior police officers to be indiscreet?
A. No.
Q. So the subject matter of their interactions was always wholly professional, above board and within proper parameters; is that right?
A. From those that I observed, yes.
Q. There was a lunch meeting, I think, on 19 September 2006. Let me dig it up. It's in the gifts and hospitality register. The trouble is it's not in the version which has been copied at the master bundle because part of the relevant page has not come out in the printing, but I'm looking at the version which was obtained pursuant to an FOI request, which has been given to me.
A. All right.
Q. A dinner, actually. Dick Fedorcio with the Deputy Commissioner, and then it says "News of the World". So who it was at the News of the World isn't specified. It might have been an editor or deputy editor. It might have been Lucy Panton. Given that the Deputy Commissioner was there, Sir Paul Stephenson, can you help us, please, as to who it was at the News of the World who might have been there?
A. I don't think it was Lucy Panton. It could have been the editor or the deputy editor, which is then I'm not sure. Was that still Andy Coulson?
Q. Mr Coulson editor, Mr Wallis deputy.
A. Yes. One or other or both of those.
Q. It's likely to have been, given that the Deputy Commissioner was there
A. It would have been the deputy then, yes, probably.
Q. That was not long it was about six or seven weeks after the arrest of Goodman/Mulcaire. Were you aware of those arrests?
A. I was aware of those arrests on the day that they took place, yes.
Q. Was there any mention of that at this dinner, as far as you can recall?
A. Not that I can recall. I must admit, in all the interactions that I've had with News of the World, I don't recall ever any discussion around phone hacking or those arrests.
Q. There was another lunch with the News of the World on 23 August. I'm going back in time. Again, the provider of the lunch is not specified beyond that it was the News of the World.
A. Right, yes.
Q. The register
A. I think that was with Rebecca Mowley, who was the temporary or the maternity cover, I think, for Lucy Panton at the time.
Q. Yes. We heard that Lucy Panton was on maternity leave. We heard that, I think, from either Mr Yates or Mr Hayman. So that's in the summer of 2006.
A. Yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Were you present at that lunch?
A. I was the only person present. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON So that was you?
A. That was me and Rebecca Mowley, yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON That was just a couple of weeks, was it, after the arrest of Mr Mulcaire and Mr Goodman?
A. Yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Well, was that wise, Mr Fedorcio?
A. I think, looking at it now, one would question that and one would question a whole series of interactions over the following months and years. But there was no LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I agree, and I understand the value of hindsight, but I'm just going back to what we knew then. Forget what we now know. On any showing, there was an investigation. On any showing, the police were looking at stuff. I can't remember the date on which Mr Clarke decided it should go no further MR JAY End of September. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON So it's all very live.
A. Yes. There was no discussion that I was party to, and I think this is something that I've touched on elsewhere about what should an organisation do, or a police organisation do, when it's involved in an investigation into a newspaper business which continues to report about the organisation. Do we just keep totally clear? Should that be the approach? Could that send a message that or a mismessage that something else is ongoing or not ongoing? Or do you appear to have what I call the business as usual going on in terms of the media relationship between myself, who is not an officer, and a journalist? LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Of course you let them carry on coming to press briefings, and if you're meeting the CRA, you meet with them there. But I raise the question whether one-to-ones might not give quite the wrong impression, irrespective of what we now know, and that's
A. Yes, I agree, and I take your point, sir. MR JAY As you say, the lunches and dinners it's fair to say that there weren't that many with the News of the World did continue over the years, didn't they?
A. Yes.
Q. On any of these occasions, are you saying there was no discussion of the phone hacking affair?
A. I do not recall on any occasion having a discussion around phone hacking.
Q. In the year 2011, these interactions really stopped, didn't they, with the News of the World?
A. Yes. I think that it was at the beginning of 2011 Weeting was launched and that put a brake on it.
Q. So did you take a policy decision then or a strategic decision that with Weeting starting, it really was no longer appropriate for you to have lunches or dinners with journalists from the News of the World?
A. I didn't discuss it with anybody else, but I took the view myself that it was appropriate or no longer appropriate with the scale and extent of what was now being looked at to have that contact.
Q. Did you share that view with any other senior officer?
A. I don't recall doing so, no.
Q. Can I ask you, please, to move back to your statement in paragraph 74.
A. 74?
Q. 74, please.
A. Thank you, yes.
Q. 09548.
A. Yes.
Q. You refer to one of the weekend meetings with Lucy Panton. These were meetings which took place usually on Fridays; is that right?
A. Sometimes Thursday, sometimes Friday.
Q. And these were usually one-to-one meetings, were they?
A. Yes.
Q. You say that at the end of one of those meetings you recall that she arrived with a story about the reception into prison of ex-commander Ali Dizaei, in particular concerning his alleged refusal to hand over his suit to the prison staff. She was being chased by telephone and/or text to file the story. To help her, as she was under pressure, you offered to let her type the story, which she did from notes when she arrived, in an email on the stand-alone computer in your office.
A. Yes.
Q. Now, the story itself, or the email which contains the story, is in DF/4, under our tab 5, page 09623. We can see the story. Actually, this one is on a Thursday, not a Friday.
A. Yes.
Q. 18 February. The year is 2010. The time is 16.14. You say that you saw this story at the time; is that right?
A. Yes. As she typed it and sent it, I was able to have a read of it, yes.
Q. She had no difficulty with that, obviously?
A. No.
Q. Was there anything in the story which troubled you in any way?
A. Not from a Metropolitan Police perspective, but I think for Commander Dizaei it would have been embarrassing.
Q. Well, there's certainly that, but also the reference to "a prison source" and then, later down, "insiders". Do you see that?
A. Yes.
Q. Which suggests, possibly or indeed perhaps probably that the News of the World had had a source within the prison who was furnishing them with this story.
A. That is possible.
Q. Did you have any concern about the ethics of that, putting aside for one moment that she was using your machine to pass on this story?
A. I at the time, I recall thinking that I was helping someone who was being put under what I thought was quite unnecessary pressure, if not bullying, by her news desk, and you know, to help her solve her problem. In return, from my perspective, I felt I was going to get sight of a story which I may not otherwise have sight of until Sunday morning. At the time, I had no idea what was in it, but of course, it enabled me then to consider the impact of that on the Metropolitan Police, if at all.
Q. You were helping out a friend, really, weren't you?
A. I was helping out someone who I dealt with on a regular basis.
Q. You wouldn't have done it otherwise, would you?
A. I may well have done. I think that if another journalist had been there in a similar set of circumstances, then I would have considered doing the same.
Q. Mm.
A. It was fairly unique well, it was a unique situation.
Q. We see the email chain a bit higher up, top of the page, where Lucy Panton is using sort of text speak: "Had 2 use Dick's computer 2 file. Can't seem to delete the original message details. Would not be helpful 2 him for people 2 know I was using his office so please delete that." I'm not sure what "MFL" is.
A. I think it may mean "more to follow later". I'm guessing.
Q. "More follows later", mm. Well, that's her view of the matter, not necessarily your view of the matter.
A. Yes.
Q. But you can see how this appears, I suppose, Mr Fedorcio?
A. Yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON So she used your computer, from your email address
A. Yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON to write an email to her?
A. She forwarded it to her office. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON She forwarded it from her email to the office.
A. Yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Within 20 minutes, 25 minutes?
A. Mm. MR JAY Probably using her BlackBerry, though?
A. That's what it looks like. I think that was part of the issue, that she was under pressure to type a story, to produce the story, and the BlackBerry keyboard is such that to have done this would have been a bit of a challenge.
Q. Hm. Did you ask her to delete the message?
A. No. I was keen to say to her that I wouldn't want anyone to think that I had been the source of the story, which I wasn't. She arrived with the notes on this when she came to see me.
Q. Has this email been retained on your system? Presumably, however, we're looking at
A. No.
Q. Lucy Panton's email, aren't we, because of the fact it's been forwarded?
A. Yes. It wasn't retained on mine. I deleted it almost immediately afterwards. My practice with emails generally, both on this stand-alone computer and my work computer, is that I regularly clean out the inbox, the outbox and the deleted box.
Q. You make it clear in paragraph 75 that while Lucy Panton was using this computer and the computer you're referring to is a stand-alone computer which was not connected to the MPS computer system?
A. That's right.
Q. You used it for presentations and/or as a back-up. She wouldn't have had access to any of your files or documents?
A. No. No. That would have been inappropriate.
Q. Do you feel that this is an example of an error of judgment, perhaps, which resulted from your friendship with Lucy Panton?
A. I don't think it resulted from my friendship. As I said earlier, I think I would have considered doing it for anybody who was in that set of circumstances, but I accept it may have been an error of judgment.
Q. Someone might say it was a bit difficult for you to refuse, given all the lunches and dinners you'd enjoyed at her expense.
A. No.
Q. Is that right?
A. No.
Q. We've noted that another journalist, this time someone who works for the Sunday Times, Mr Ungoed-Thomas, in his witness statement, paragraph 11, said he had no contact with the Commissioner, the Deputy Commissioner, you or any assistant commissioner. Does that surprise you?
A. No, because I have no knowledge of him working on Metropolitan Police issues. My main contact there was David Leppard.
Q. So he's not one of the Sunday Time's crime reporters; is that right?
A. I he'll have to answer that. I don't think so, but I don't believe he was a member of the Crime Reporters Association. But then, I don't think the Sunday Times have a member, or has a member.
Q. I mean, to what extent is the Crime Reporters Association a bit of a self-appointed cabal, that it gets you access to an inner circle, and beyond that, access to people like you?
A. I think the Crime Reporters Association was existed before my time of joining the Metropolitan Police, and I think it was I mean, they can answer this for themselves, but I believe it was originally set up for dedicated crime correspondents on national media, to be their representative group, a bit like the lobby, a bit like the home affairs correspondents or defence correspondents, and they were, in the main, the only national journalists that dealt with the Metropolitan Police. It was very rare, in my early days, for any event where we had a press briefing or press conference, to have anyone other than one of those members there. So they were the experts, as it were, on following the Metropolitan Police closely. It was, at that stage, when I started, unrepresentative. I had concerns that there were parts of the national media that weren't within that organisation because they didn't have a dedicated crime correspondent. The BBC was not in it. ITN weren't in it. And I felt that I couldn't see how you could deal with this as a group of people who you may bring in and brief on special occasions without being fully representative of the media. So I encouraged them to broaden their membership. It took a little bit of time, but now, for example, I think the BBC have four or five members in there representing different parts of the organisation. So it's grown over the years. It's been a constant group of experts, as it were, on policing matters that have been, you know, the group that people turn and say, "Are we briefing them? Are we doing whatever in their territory?"
Q. I think the direct answer to my question is it's not a self-appointed cabal; is that what you're saying?
A. I don't believe it is.
Q. Can I move on now to Mr Wallis.
A. Mm-hm.
Q. Before the spring of 2009, what was the nature/level of your interactions with Mr Wallis?
A. I think that the record will show he was someone that I saw two or maybe three times a year, usually at one of the lunches or dinners that the Commissioner would have with News of the World, or I may see him alone on occasion.
Q. Therefore you had known him since 1997; is that right?
A. Yes. I first met him at a dinner with Sir Paul Condon. In fact, it was the dinner that I think Sir Paul mentioned when he gave evidence with Stuart Higgins, the editor of the Sun, in December 1997, and Mr Wallis I think was then deputy editor of the Sun and attended the same dinner.
Q. May I ask you what was your understanding of the nature of Mr Wallis' friendship with Mr Yates?
A. All right. I was aware that they knew each other. I was aware that they got on quite well. I understood their contact to be mainly work. I was aware of what I would call sort of banter between them over football matters. Occasionally, John would show me a text that he'd received from Neil Wallis, which would have been passing comment, shall we say, on a recent football result, which Liverpool, John's team he supported, had played in. So I was aware of that sort of interaction. Through that, I think I was aware that on one occasion they went to a football match together, but I couldn't say when I heard that or where it was.
Q. Either Old Trafford or Anfield, probably. Does that ring a bell?
A. That would be the obvious assumption, but beyond that, I wasn't aware of any greater contact.
Q. You told the Select Committee that you knew that Mr Wallis was a friend of Mr Yates'. Does that more or less sum it up?
A. I think so, but in the same way that I would describe other friendships today. These were business friendships, not personal friendships. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON So that's what you were saying to the committee, that you thought they'd developed a business friendship?
A. That's what I understood, but I think I was aware of the football banter, as I call it, and that they'd once been to a match together. But beyond that, I wasn't aware of anything else that took place. MR JAY Wouldn't it be more accurate to analyse it as a personal friendship which grew out of a business or professional relationship in the first instance?
A. I'm not in a position to make that judgment.
Q. If there's banter about football nothing wrong with that, of course and if there's a trip, whether it be to Old Trafford or Anfield, that does suggest a degree of personal friendship, doesn't it?
A. Not necessarily. I think that people who know each very well might occasionally go to a sporting function.
Q. Only if they're friends, I think, Mr Fedorcio; isn't that right?
A. Well, it depends if there's an opportunity that they're both available and have tickets or whatever. I mean, in preparing for this, I thought: what do we mean by "friend"? Do I mean they get on well, do I mean they're friendly or do I mean that there's close, extensive contact? LORD JUSTICE LEVESON We can unpick that a bit. To go either to Old Trafford or to Anfield means a journey up the M6 or by train. This isn't just: "Well, we have tickets for a match that's two minutes down the road."
A. Yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON In your capacity as the director of public affairs, and therefore the adviser to the Metropolitan Police, and the link between the Metropolitan Police and the press, do you think it is right that you should know of friendships, of relationships, that exist outside the relationships you are personally arranging between the most senior officers and editors of newspapers or senior managerial people in newspapers?
A. I think that would be helpful, yes. I think the Met now is looking at that or doing that, about disclosing personal contact. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Well, have you ever been surprised to have read about the extent of the out-of-hours meetings that there were between Mr Wallis and Mr Yates?
A. Yes. I heard the evidence. I it was a revelation to me. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Are you surprised that you didn't know?
A. Not really. I didn't think that I would expect to know people's personal contact, if that sort of thing was going on. But I take your point. I mean, at the time I didn't, and I didn't think really of it, but I look at it now and say, "That's the sort of information I think that the Met should know from senior people, and that people in my job perhaps should know as well", especially if it's a relationship with the media. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes, because one of the things you're doing is advising the Metropolitan Police about reputational risk, and I'm just interested to know what you've done to advise police officers, who are police officers and not necessarily as aware of these things as you will be, of their need to keep you informed of issues that might create a reputational risk for the Met.
A. I think within the management board document we showed them earlier was about contact with the media, about having press officers there. This may or may not have been appropriate, but I think it alludes to a more open or a wider knowledge, shall we say, of personal any relationships. But in my time up until when I went on extended leave, I hadn't addressed that, but I understand the Met are or have set about addressing it now. MR JAY I mean, was part of the reason, perhaps, why you didn't think clearly or sufficiently clearly about these issues because it was part of the culture of the police, or certainly some aspects of it, which would encourage these social interactions between police officers and journalists, and therefore it didn't occur to you that some of those interactions would inevitably become rather close ones?
A. I had not considered it.
Q. What happened in relation to the awarding of the contract to Mr Wallis' company? If we can cover that now, please. Your deputy unfortunately was ill and on prolonged sick leave from mid-February 2009. That's the starting point.
A. Right.
Q. So inevitably you turned your mind to considering whether to engage some external support; is that
A. Not at that stage, no. Initially we were hopeful that he might be off for four, five months and return. My view was that in that time we should seek to cope and manage within our resource.
Q. When it became clear that this might endure, you then turned your mind to that, and that was in about July or August 2009; is that correct?
A. I remember some sort of previous interactions with the Commissioner during my internal appraisal. The Commissioner in there asked how I was coping wouldn't a deputy in place, whether I needed any additional support, and at that stage I said it was my aim not to do it, in the hope that he would return shortly. The issue arose again when I had the second stage of that appraisal with the Commissioner and the chairman of the police authority, and again it was my view that I would try and cope without the deputy. The trigger, I suppose, to act on this was that probably about the third week of August, my deputy found that the treatment had not been successful and was therefore now going to have to undergo further treatment, which gave us some quite serious concern about his health and the prospect of him ever returning. It was my decision that I would not want to take any pre-emptive action to replace him. I felt that he needed to know that we believed that he was always coming back to work, but I felt that I wasn't perhaps giving the total attention to my level of work that I should have been because I was picking up a number of his tasks. So my assessment was that I wasn't looking to replace my deputy, I was looking to find some support, second opinion, guidance, you know, a reference point, for some of the things that I did, to make sure that I wasn't missing the sort of opportunities that might be around that I should do. So that led me then to think about what sort of resource I might take on within the sort of budget that I might have available within all of this, and came to the view there was a need for something for someone, but not for a lot of time, that I needed on a retainer basis so that I could access it if or when I felt I needed that support.
Q. In paragraph 79 you say that you identified some potential suppliers.
A. Mm-hm.
Q. Was Mr Wallis one of those suppliers at that point?
A. In June, July when I started thinking about what I might do, he wasn't. He came onto the list after I'd seen him in mid-August.
Q. This was a lunch on 12 August 2009, which was organised following Mr Wallis' leaving party from the News of the World. He left the News of the World in July 2009. At the lunch, Mr Wallis, you say, told you of his new line of work as a media consultant and offered his services to you and the Metropolitan Police Service.
A. (Nods head)
Q. Did he know, do you think, that your deputy was on long-term sick leave and there was the possibility of an opening for him, Mr Wallis?
A. I think he was aware that my deputy was off, because he started this conversation in the margins of the lunch around: "How's Chris? How's he doing, how's he getting on?" That was the starting point, and then from that: "If there's anything I can do to help either you or the Met, then I'm here to do so." So he sort of offered his help on that basis, but I don't think he was expecting me to appoint a deputy. He was just, "If you need a some assistance."
Q. Yes. You say: "Over the following few days, I considered that he met the selection criteria and would be available to start almost immediately." So looking at that sentence, what were the selection criteria? Last sentence of paragraph 81, page 09550.
A. Yes. The criteria is actually in paragraph 79, which is that I took the view that I needed someone who had worked as an adviser at a senior level in an organisation, who had relevant media, speech-writing, public affairs experience, had knowledge, contacts, strong awareness of policing issues, and I wanted him to be available to give advice, possibly at short notice, which I thought was sort of reliable, credible advice.
Q. Were these selection criteria ever confined to writing?
A. No.
Q. So they were just an idea you had in your mind as to what this extra helping hand might be able to furnish; is that right?
A. That's right. I mean, I'd been thinking about this over a period of months and I'd been scribbling odd notes down about where I felt something might just take some of the pressure off or to give me the confidence or resilience to know that I was ticking all the boxes in what I should be doing.
Q. As far as you were concerned, if there weren't any difficulties with procurement, matters of that sort, you would have taken him there and then, wouldn't you?
A. That's right. What had happened was that just before we'd got the news about the relapse in the deputy's health, the Commissioner and I had been discussing what we needed to do in the autumn regarding his profile, because he'd been accused by many people of being invisible. He was still only sort of nine eight months into his contract. I think at the start, early in his days, we'd had the G20 demonstration, the death of Ian Tomlinson, and was seen as not around. We needed to do more to raise his profile. So I was identifying there a boost, shall we say, in the work that needed to be provided around the Commissioner. So that was a driving point. And these things just happened to come together. So sort of coincidence.
Q. You point out that when you were giving evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee, you couldn't remember who had recommended Neil Wallis to you. In other words, you couldn't remember this lunch on 12 August 2009, but now, having thought about it some more, you do remember it?
A. That's right. I'm satisfied now this is where the sort of offer or suggestion that he could provide that service to me came from.
Q. You spoke about this to the Commissioner. Was he, the Commissioner, in favour or not?
A. He didn't express a view. I was having one of my regular meetings with him and we had a long list of things to talk about, and I think towards the end I just said to him: "I've considered your encouragement about finding some additional support, I think I now need to to it, and I've had a look around and I think I'm considering Neil Wallis." He didn't make any comment on Neil Wallis. I think he was just pleased that I'd thought about taking on some support.
Q. Neil Wallis was front runner by now, wasn't he?
A. He was the person in my mind, yes.
Q. You mentioned this to Mr Yates, as you say. Was he enthusiastic or not?
A. I didn't get anything like enthusiasm. I think he felt that having some additional support for him, for his speech-writing and presentations for other people in his office would be beneficial. I don't think he expressed a view as to whether this was the the person involved was better than anybody else. I think he was just prepared to take my view on who I should approach. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON But he didn't tell you then: "Well, you ought to know actually, we meet frequently for dinner with other friends"?
A. He didn't tell me. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Would that have affected you?
A. I think it would have done. I think if that was the case, then I would have sort of moved away from John Yates in terms of seeking his views on the appointment, the selection. I may have gone elsewhere, to one of his deputies or the lead investigator on the phone hacking team to ask that question myself. MR JAY Can I ask you this question: had you known what you know now about the proximity of Mr Yates' relationship with Mr Wallis, might you have taken the view that it was inappropriate to hire Mr Wallis at all?
A. That may well have been the case, yes.
Q. But that wasn't your immediate reaction, though, 30 seconds ago when the matter was put to you. You thought: "Well, I might speak to someone else under Mr Yates."
A. Mm.
Q. Of course, you are aware that there was an issue surrounding Mr Wallis and the News of the World. He was the deputy editor of the News of the World. Mr Yates had been carrying out the exercise he did carry out fairly shortly before, on 9 July 2009. You were aware of all of that, weren't you?
A. Yes.
Q. Did that not of itself cause warning bells to ring?
A. I think it I needed to be sure whether, in the work that had been done originally or in this scoping work that had been done at that time, was there anything where Mr Wallis' name or anything in that that might give a cause a concern, that would say, "You shouldn't touch him", but I didn't get that indication.
Q. I think you did ask Mr Yates, or Mr Yates, in any event, told you it's unclear from paragraph 86 of your statement what it was that caused Mr Yates to speak to Mr Wallis on 31 August 2009. Can you help us on that?
A. I can't say why he did it. He told me that he had done it, so he obviously took a view that it was necessary for him to pose that question.
Q. You don't believe that you asked Mr Yates to do it; is that so?
A. I don't think so.
Q. We can see what Mr Yates told you, and he gave us evidence on identical lines: "The question was if there was anything that was going to emerge at any point about phone hacking that could embarrass the MPS, me [that's Mr Yates], him [that's Mr Wallis] or the Commissioner."
A. Yes.
Q. Mr Yates had received "categorical assurances that this was not the case". Did you feel those assurances were sufficient?
A. I felt it was a pretty good assurance, yes.
Q. "Pretty good", but that qualifies it a bit.
A. Oh, sorry. It was a good assurance. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON You would have read the Guardian article, presumably?
A. I'd read the Guardian article, but I didn't see anything in the Guardian article which pointed anything towards Mr Wallis. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON But to senior staff in the News of the World?
A. I didn't see it as Mr Wallis at that time. And, you know, Mr Yates had done his work and had come to the view, which had been made public, was that there was nothing there to be looked at. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON But you're looking at reputational risk, aren't you?
A. Mm-hm. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON You were aware that the Guardian were pressing on. When was the meeting that Sir Paul had with Mr Rusbridger?
A. That was in I think it was December. MR JAY November. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Sorry? MR JAY It was November 2009. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON So the whole thing is still rumbling on. The Guardian hadn't said, "Okay"
A. But the Met position was very clear: there was nothing in this to pursue. That was the operational decision. Whether it was right or wrong LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes, I understand that, and I recognise the decision has to be made at the time that you're making it.
A. Mm-hm. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON But you must have been concerned, during the course of the latter part of 2009, that there was a reputational risk to the Metropolitan Police surrounding phone hacking. However much Mr Yates was saying, "Oh, there's nothing there" and he's gone public to say it, the story hadn't gone away and you must have known that because the decision to go and see Mr Rusbridger didn't come out of the blue; it was obviously a rumbling issue.
A. Mm. But I don't think there had been anything new or different that the Guardian had pulled out in that period from the July story. It was reinforcement of that original story, rather than any new lines or direction. There was nothing going on within the Met to say, "Do we need to have another look operationally at this?" So, you know, I, in the same way, was not seeing any change that I needed to reflect. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON You didn't think then that there was some sort of reputational risk to the Met that there was this debate with the Guardian, ongoing, and here you were contemplating just giving the chap who'd been the deputy editor at the time the consultancy arrangement?
A. Well, that decision had been made in September. At that stage, I didn't see anything that had changed, from my point of view, the position we'd been at in July. But I see the point LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I'm just wondering about in September.
A. I see your point. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON You say you see my point. Do you think there's something in it?
A. I didn't at the time. Now, one can take a different view. But at the time I didn't see it that way. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Would you have wanted assurance of the type that Mr Yates gave you, having spoken to Mr Wallis?
A. Would I have wanted it? LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes.
A. I think in terms of risk assessing what I was doing, it may well have been something that I would have asked Mr Wallis if Mr Yates hadn't. So, yes. MR JAY I just wonder whether you would have done, though, Mr Fedorcio. The lunch was on 12 August. You moved, you say, over the following few days to the conclusion that Mr Wallis met the selection criteria and it wasn't until 31 August that the question was asked of Mr Wallis by Mr Yates. Are you sure you would have asked the question yourself, if Mr Yates hadn't
A. I believe I would have done, yes.
Q. So why didn't you do so earlier, then?
A. Because I suppose in a way I wasn't moving at a fast pace. I probably saw John just before that weekend. I think 31 August was a bank holiday Monday, so I would have been talking to John towards the end of that previous week. So there's not a big timescale in there. I didn't come back from lunch on the 14th and say, "Yes, now, let's go"; there was a period of probably eight to 10 days.
Q. You then say in paragraph 88, page 09551, that you felt there were no reasons as to why you should not go ahead and discuss the possibility of engaging the services of Mr Wallis: "I arranged to meet him to speak about the draft speech being prepared for the Commissioner, as I was interested in hearing his views." So there was lunch on 3 September 2009.
A. Yes.
Q. He offered to do some work on the speech at no cost, to demonstrate the sort of help he could provide, and so this was a sort of not really an interview, but it was a trial that you were giving him, and he came up trumps, really; is that right?
A. Yes.
Q. So on 7 September, you asked your staff to request a single tender process on the grounds of urgency, the period from then until the end of March 2010. So to be clear about that, it was going to be a tendering process where there was only one applicant?
A. Yes. But what happened and what I discovered, of course, is that they should have advised that that wouldn't have been possible at that stage. The procurement advice I was given was that this could be done in this manner. Subsequently they came back and said, "No, we couldn't", but I think the advice should have been that in the first place.
Q. So you were clearly of the mind that Mr Wallis was the man. He'd impressed you in the work he'd done. You knew about him in any event. But on 18 September, you received advice from your procurement department that you couldn't do it on the single procurement basis; you needed to obtain three competitive quotes. That's the upshot?
A. That's right.
Q. Which you probably thought was a bit of a bore, didn't you?
A. I didn't think it was a bore. My experience of tenders in the Met was these things can take an awful long time and I was concerned about how long it would take to put this in place. In the end, it took five days, I think, from start to finish
Q. Yes.
A. to achieve that.
Q. Which was an accelerated process then, wasn't it?
A. It took the time it did. I don't know whether it was accelerated.
Q. How long did you give the tenderers to submit their tenders? Can you remember?
A. I'm not sure I actually give them a date. I can't remember, I don't have the email in front of me, but I wrote to them by email asking if they'd like to put forward a proposed approach to the work and the cost.
Q. As soon as possible, presumably?
A. Probably as soon as possible, yes.
Q. So it wouldn't have surprised you that you did get answers back as fast as you did; is that right?
A. I was surprised how quickly it happened, because I think if I'd known it could have happened that quickly, I wouldn't have even considered a single tender; I'd have gone down that route.
Q. What made you choose Mr Bingle and Mr Lewington?
A. They're both people that I've known for some time professionally, and in my selection criteria, they met it. In particular, both of them had previously been advisers to the Police Federation, so I was aware of their work for the Police Federation and their knowledge of policing matters.
Q. Which companies did they work for?
A. I think Peter Bingle was Bell Pottinger and Charles Lewington was Hanover.
Q. Bell Pottinger is, if I may say so, rather on the expensive side. You knew that Mr Bingle was going to be much more expensive than Mr Wallis, didn't you?
A. No, I didn't. I've never had to let a contract like this, so this was new territory for me. My reference points, I suppose, were two in a way. One, I was aware of a colleague who had a daily contract with a London borough at a figure of about ?800 a day, and I had the Met had a London PR agency working on property matters whose cost, depending on who did the work, varied between ?125 and ?250 an hour. So that's what my reference was. But I had no idea what either of them were going to pitch. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON But did you do any work to see who it might actually be appropriate to ask? I mean, Bell Pottinger are very well-known names. I don't know how well-known Hanover is because I don't recognise it, but even I recognise Bell Pottinger, and I just wonder whether it's a square battle to put Bell Pottinger up against this one-man band who'd just started business?
A. Bell Pottinger recommended one of their not their top people, one of their junior people to do the work. They are I was of the view I'd been as I said, previously, I'd been looking at potential suppliers. I'd had a list in my mind, which included these two. It included a couple of others as possibilities, but I decided on these at the end of the day. I felt they could do what I was looking for. I knew of them, and I would trust any of them. I would have chosen any of them to do the work. MR JAY You went hoping, if not expecting, that Shami Media Limited would pitch in at a much lower level than these two rather big guys?
A. I had no idea what the others were going to submit as their proposals. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON How big is Hanover?
A. It's probably a medium-size consultancy. I can't put a figure on that for you. MR JAY It couldn't have been a surprise to you when you got the quotes back, could it?
A. Uh a surprise? No. I think I said I was surprised at the speed they came back. I was surprised that Hanover their approach to it was that it would involve a number of people. They sort of carved it into rather than just one person, they'd have a combination of people, which was their approach. It was an interesting approach but it was going to cost more. I could see why that was. And bell Pottinger, the fact that put on a junior person to do it, I was quite surprised at the figure that that came out at for that level of person.
Q. Without giving us the figures we're not interested in those by what factor were the other two higher than Shami's bid?
A. 50 per cent. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Well, we know. MR JAY Oh, do we? LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Don't we? If we go behind your divider 6, there's a document dated 24 May 2011 MR JAY Oh yes, sorry.
A. Yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON which, on the first page, "External strategic communication support contract", identifies what the responses were. But you chose Hanover and Bell Pottinger, as it were, out of the ether. Did you do any research to see whether there were specialist small companies that did this sort of thing?
A. I my research or my thinking over the period of months was people that I knew who were in this line of work, people that I trusted that could do it and had policing experience. That was quite important. And so both of those LORD JUSTICE LEVESON The reason I ask is because I seem to remember at one of the seminars, another ex-editor of a tabloid newspaper spoke, who had his own PR company. Am I right? It's Mr Hall.
A. Yes, he does. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Now, did he have that business then?
A. I'm not sure what or where he was doing at the time. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON What I'm saying is there were obviously other people
A. Yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON who are perhaps more comparable to Shami Media than Hanover and Bell Pottinger. That's what I'm asking. You see, the point Mr Jay is putting to you
A. I can see what he's doing, yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON is that this is set up to get a result. That's the point.
A. Which it wasn't. MR JAY Sorry, which it was or it wasn't?
A. Was not.
Q. Because by then, of course, you knew Mr Wallis' charges, didn't you?
A. Yes.
Q. When you refer to potential suppliers at the end of paragraph, did you know their charges?
A. No. As I say, I've not bought this PR type of PR support previously, and therefore I wouldn't have a track record of knowing the rates that they would run at, apart from that experience of their contract elsewhere in the Met.
Q. Well, Mr Wallis got the job and, as you say in paragraph 91, he was paid for the September work, wasn't he?
A. He was, yes.
Q. Even though it wasn't on any expectation that he would be paid; is that right?
A. That's right.
Q. Why did you think it appropriate to pay him?
A. I thought someone had done work for the Metropolitan Police, then the police should be prepared to pay them for it. I didn't think we should take a freebie. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON But he'd offered to do the work on the speech at no cost to demonstrate the sort of help he could provide.
A. Yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON So it was part, effectively, of his pitch to do the job.
A. Maybe, but I was of the view that I didn't think we should be in debt to or owing for that relationship. I thought it was quite reasonable that he'd spent the time on it and that we should recognise that. MR JAY Was it your understanding that Mr Wallis would still have a continuing relationship with the News of the World, inasmuch as obviously his personal contacts there would endure?
A. Not really, no. I thought he'd had a clean break from the News of the World. I think that he didn't see eye to eye with other senior people there and it was a clean break. That was my understanding.
Q. I'm just thinking whether it was in your mindset that there might have been wider advantages to the police for hiring Mr Wallis, that he might be able to cause the MPS to be painted in a favourable light by the News of the World. Do you think that's right or not?
A. No, I didn't expect that from him.
Q. But whether or not you expected it, did you think that it might not happen?
A. I didn't think he had the influence with the paper to achieve that anymore. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Just thinking about other potential candidates, I think I've read somewhere that Stuart Higgins, also another NI editor, was in this line of business. Did you think about any other small operations?
A. I think Stuart's work is a bit different from this. It's more celebrity or personality PR than this sort of specialism. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Well, it may be that it is, but
A. I didn't consider Stuart Higgins. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Or, indeed, Mr Hall?
A. Or Mr Hall, no. I didn't know Mr Hall. MR JAY Well, we're left with the position now that Mr Wallis left you in, I think, 2011; is that right?
A. 2010, I think.
Q. And the matters we've just discussed are being considered elsewhere?
A. That's right.
Q. So I think we can leave it there for the time being. May I move forward then to paragraph 102 of your statement LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I'm sorry, I just want to tease this a bit more, if you don't mind, Mr Jay. There must be somebody to whom you can go to find out who is available to do this sort of work, small PR companies. I don't know whether I'm sure there is
A. There is. There is. That I'm aware of, yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON But you didn't go to them?
A. No. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON To point yourself in the direction of the specialist niche business? I'm simply testing the same proposition that I've been concerned about.
A. There is such a place to go to, but I didn't go there. I knew Mr Bingle, I knew Mr Lewington, I've known them for a number of years. I both felt that they were capable of the sort of people that I would trust their judgment and their support. MR JAY I don't think the issue concerns their experience; it concerns what they are likely to charge. Do you see the point, Mr Fedorcio?
A. I do, yes.
Q. Go back to the horse analogy: a race which was only going to be won by one of these horses?
A. True, but I think both of the other people worked for the Police Federation and I didn't believe the Police Federation would be paying massive fees. I thought they'd be paying reasonable fees. That was part of my judgment. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON There might be a conflict with the Police Federation.
A. Neither were then working for them. They'd previously worked for them. MR JAY Paragraph 102, page 09553. Back to events in January 2003. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I think, Mr Jay, it might be sensible, as you're moving to another topic, if we have five minutes now, because Mr Fedorcio's been there for some time. MR JAY Sir. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON And it's quite warm in here, so let's just have five minutes. (3.17 pm) (A short break) (3.24 pm) MR JAY We're going back in time now to January 2003, Mr Fedorcio, of paragraph 102, page 09553.
A. Mm-hm.
Q. You were asked by commander Baker to see if you could arrange a meeting for him and Detective Superintendent Dave Cook with Rebekah Wade, then editor of the News of the World, to help them understand why Dave Cook had been the subject of intrusion by the paper. So what precisely was the purpose of the meeting?
A. I wasn't sure, as it happened, but as it turned out, Commander Baker and Dave Cook wanted to ask her why they thought Dave had been under intrusion by the News of the World and to hear from her direct the reasons.
Q. So you organised a meeting, to which Rebekah Wade readily agreed?
A. Yes.
Q. This took place in your office at NSY on 9 January 2003.
A. Yes.
Q. Which was just before a media reception that you'd been invited to attend that day?
A. That's right.
Q. That's the sequence of events. You hosted the meeting. Detective Superintendent Cook then voiced his concerns about him being under surveillance and about his wife, Jacqui Hames, being doorstepped; is that right?
A. That's what I recall, yes.
Q. Because plainly it didn't make any sense to him?
A. No.
Q. What was Rebekah Wade's explanation?
A. I have some difficulty in answering that. I'll give you an answer, but let me just explain. This was a long time ago, and since then I've read a number of media reports of what people have claimed went on in the meeting, so I'm trying to pull my version out of that as opposed to where I've been influenced in thinking. But I didn't take any notes of the meeting because it was not my meeting, but as I recall she said that they had information that Mr Cook was having an affair and that's why they were taking a look at him.
Q. Did she begin to explain what the public interest was in that investigation?
A. Not that I recall, no.
Q. Of course, it didn't make any sense to Detective Superintendent Dave Cook, because the affair that was going on was with his own wife.
A. That's what it appears. I mean, I'm again trying to recollect what happened at the time and what I've heard since. Some versions that have been given to you now say that he was told that he was having an affair with Jacqui Hames, which of course was his wife and therefore would not would have not been correct. I'm not sure that Rebekah Wade actually said an affair with her, as opposed to an affair, which could have been anybody else.
Q. When you say it was essentially a welfare meeting, what do you mean by that?
A. That Commander Baker was doing it because of his concerns about Mr Cook's concerns, really. It wasn't about taking any action against the News of the World; it was to help Mr Cook understand and come to terms with what had gone on. That was how Commander Baker described to me, as a welfare meeting, looking after a member of his staff who
Q. But weren't you concerned to bottom this out, you as director of public affairs? Of course, a detective superintendent who is under attack is obviously distressed. It surely wasn't just a question of you mediating the meeting. Wasn't it more a question of you trying to find out what was going on and helping Detective Superintendent Cook?
A. In the process, that's what happened, yes. I found out through their discussion. They had the questions to put, they had the detail on what they believed had happened. I didn't.
Q. Who is the "they" in that sentence?
A. Commander Baker and Dave Cook, in terms of the intrusion, what the intrusion was. I didn't know anything about it until the meeting took place.
Q. But this comes up during the meeting?
A. Yes.
Q. Rebekah Wade gives an explanation. Were you satisfied with that explanation?
A. It didn't strike me as a good explanation.
Q. Didn't you then take it any further?
A. Commander Baker and Mr Cook asked more questions, and she promised to come back to them.
Q. Did she?
A. I don't know. I'd have thought that would be direct between Rebekah Wade and Commander Baker and Dave Cook. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON But go back to Mr Jay's question. Wasn't there a wider issue here? You're there trying to develop the Metropolitan Police relationship with the press, and here's one journal which you've had a fair amount of contact with getting involved in some pretty intrusive work, which appears to be private life stuff and not to do with the job. Isn't that something that actually you would want to take up not merely because of Mr Cook, which I understand, but as a systemic issue?
A. I didn't see it that way at the time and I think my expectation was that Rebekah Wade would be coming back to Commander Baker and Mr Cook with further information. If they felt there was something that I needed to do, they would ask me to do so. I should say on this that as soon as I was asked to do something, I did it. This meeting was arranged not at a lot of notice. As I understand, the intrusion had taken place the previous July, so it was probably five or six months after the incident, as it were, that it came to my attention via Commander Baker. So it wasn't a current piece of activity; it was historic.
Q. Were you aware of any of the background? For example, Detective Superintendent Cook was reinvestigating the murder of Daniel Morgan. The main suspect was the director of Southern Investigations, Jonathan Rees.
A. Prior to the meeting, no, but as a result of the meeting I became aware of those linkages. I knew Dave Cook was working on the Morgan reinvestigation, but the Southern investigation link into it I did not know.
Q. So was the name "Southern Investigations" something you heard for the first time at the meeting?
A. I think I'd heard of them in previous anti-corruption activity. So when the name came up, it wasn't a surprise to me.
Q. Did you send an email to Mr Cook before the meeting on 9 January 2003 stating that the Commissioner had sanctioned the meeting with Rebekah Wade regarding a News of the World journalist?
A. I don't think I did, no. The Commissioner wasn't involved in my setting up the meeting at all.
Q. At the meeting itself this is at the top of page 09554 you say: "Cook and Baker also told Rebekah Wade they had information suggesting one of her journalists was being paid by the Southern investigators and that she should be aware."
A. Yes.
Q. Was that journalist named?
A. Yes.
Q. Were you shown invoices or was Rebekah Wade shown invoices at this meeting that showed that this journalist was receiving payments from Southern Investigations for consultancy work?
A. I don't recall there being any invoices presented or shown.
Q. You don't think that any evidence was produced, only that that's what Cook and Baker were saying to Rebekah Wade?
A. As I recall, yes.
Q. When this information was given to Rebekah Wade, what was her reaction?
A. Sort of nonplussed in a way, as if she was sort of saying, "Very interesting, thank you", but I didn't see a big reaction one way or the other.
Q. Were you aware of the corruption investigation into MPS police officers leaking information to Southern Investigations?
A. I don't think so, no.
Q. So what happened after this meeting on 9 January? Did you feature at all in the course of events?
A. No, as far as I was concerned, that was it. The meeting ended, I took her down to the reception, and I never heard anything else about it.
Q. At the end of the meeting, did Rebekah Wade say that she would investigate the matter in any way?
A. I don't think she said those words, but I think she'd been asked for some more information and said she'd come back to them with some information, but I can't recall what that was.
Q. You say in paragraph 105: "Prior to the meeting, I had informed the Commissioner [that's Lord Stevens, of course] that it was due to take place and that Rebekah Wade would be in the building and attending the reception afterwards." What information did you give to Lord Stevens about the meeting?
A. No more than that. I took the view there should be no surprises with the Commissioner. If an editor of the newspaper was in the building and he happened to bump into them, he should know that they were there. So basically when I was discussing with him briefing him ahead of the reception who was coming, I made him aware that Rebekah Wade was coming into the building an hour earlier for a meeting in my office. That's what I told him. I didn't tell him any of the detail because, as I say, I didn't have any of the detail to tell him.
Q. Yes, but after the meeting, did you communicate any of the detail to Lord Stevens?
A. I don't recall doing that at all. I took her down to reception. Lord Stevens was there chatting to some other people, and I sort of handed her over to him and just said, "We had a useful meeting" and left it at that. It would have been inappropriate to discuss any of it in that forum, and I don't believe I discussed it with him since.
Q. So it follows from that that Lord Stevens wouldn't have known what the meeting was about from that exchange?
A. Not from my exchange, no.
Q. Okay. Paragraphs 106 to 109 deal with intrusive reporting of you.
A. Uh-huh.
Q. Which you clearly wish to refer to and to put right.
A. I just really wanted to document it. The question had been asked and I thought it was important just give an example of what I have received. I'm not complaining about it in any sense. That, you know, is the nature of the job and what goes on, but I thought for the record you should be aware of what has happened and in particular, in paragraph 109, if I may, the Guardian responded quickly to correct inaccuracy in their on their online website, so for that I was pleased. But I want to make the point that you don't get an apology, you just get a correction, and I think that many people who are in that situation, you want someone just to say, "Sorry, we got it wrong", and hold their hand up. As soon as the situation arose, a week or ten days ago, when I was similarly accused of being under investigation for phone hacking by the Evening Standard in their printed edition, I requested a correction and an apology, and the next day there was a correction but there was no sorry. I just feel that, as somebody who works in the business, it's not very hard to say sorry. It's a little word, but it means an awful lot to victims of media intrusion. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I don't think you're the first person to say that.
A. I agree. I just thought I would LORD JUSTICE LEVESON No, it is actually very interesting. You are in the business, as us say, so you're perfectly entitled to offer your view as to the mechanisms that ought to be available to get the press to correct errors.
A. Yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON So I've no difficulty about your offering your opinion at all.
A. I think in both these examples, I happened to know who to go to quickly to seek redress. Other people may not. Whether they'd find it quickly or get those amendments made quickly is another matter, but there is a reluctance to say sorry. Whether they fear that they're going to end up in legal battles and so on but I made it very clear to the Guardian that wasn't my intention. I just never got a response. And with the Evening Standard, I think we agreed to differ. MR JAY Can I ask you some general questions about phone hacking before I move to the concluding sections of your witness statement. Do you recall any discussions at management board about the phone hacking issue?
A. Other than, I think some time after the Guardian article in 2009, it may have been mentioned that you know, just noting that Mr Yates had done his piece of work, but beyond that, I don't recall any other discussions. It's not the sort of thing that would be discussed at the management board.
Q. Now, the New York Times article, which I think was dated 1 September 2010.
A. Yes.
Q. Did you read that at about that time?
A. Yes.
Q. It alleged, I think, that the DPA, your department, was very concerned in 2006 about the possibility of a major investigation into the activities of numerous News of the World journalists and the damage that could do to your relationship with News International. Is that correct?
A. Not to my knowledge. The article suggested that my deputy had expressed that to a detective.
Q. Yes?
A. He assures me he didn't.
Q. So it wasn't you; it was Mr Webb?
A. Yes.
Q. You don't know where the New York Times got that idea from, then?
A. No. They put it to us as a question, I think as part of a series of questions that they submitted to the Met. It was one of those, and I can't remember the actual words, but I think we just said we don't recognise this accusation.
Q. Were you concerned about damage the investigation into the phone hacking issue might do to your relationship with News International?
A. No, I wasn't concerned about the damage. An investigation would have to do what it had to do, and if, as a result of that, my relationship with the paper changed, so be it. I mean, that's the primary concern is a proper policing response to the problem.
Q. Would it be fair to say that your relationship with News International was better than your relationship with Associated News, the Daily Mail and Sunday titles?
A. I don't think so. I would say that my relationship with Associated was probably on a similar par to News International.
Q. Notwithstanding the propensity of the Mail on Sunday and on occasion the Daily Mail to have a go at the police?
A. Well, most papers have had a go at the police in my time at the Met, so I'm quite used to them doing that.
Q. At paragraph 110 of your statement, you say you have reservations about the validity of some of the perceptions described
A. Yes.
Q. in Elizabeth Filkin's report. Well, those perceptions can be separately judged.
A. Yes.
Q. But you accept the general thrust of the recommendations?
A. I do. I think where we are now with what's happened, the Met needs to change. It would be inappropriate to continue the way in which things have been done in the past. I think that the recommendations cannot be argued with. I'd support them and I know the Commissioner's looking to implement them and I would support that.
Q. One of her observations was that there was a perception that certain organs of the press were favoured over others, in particular News International. You, no doubt, would dispute the underlying fact, but would you dispute that perception, at least?
A. If she found that perception, then it exists.
Q. In paragraph 116 you say you are aware of situations when officers have given a story to a journalist contact which has not gone through the DPA for prior issue, and also occasions when a journalist places a private question with the DPA which they believe is based on information they have obtained exclusively to them. You say that that can create friction between the DPA and the rest of the media; is that right?
A. I think whenever one paper appears to have got something ahead of the others, then it's quite normal to expect all the others to complain, and that has happened as and when these things have happened.
Q. Can I ask you, please, about the list or the group of London print and broadcast journalists who are seen and briefed regularly.
A. Yes.
Q. Paragraph 117. Is there, in fact, a list which contains names?
A. I think the chief press officer has a list of people that he invites to that meeting, yes.
Q. Does that list cover all titles or not?
A. I think it covers London media. So it would be BBC London, ITV London, the Standard and some of the local newspaper groups, the large groups that operate in London. So does it cover everyone? Probably no. But does it cover the main ones that tend to follow the Met? Then yes. It's a step in the right direction.
Q. Does it cover all national titles?
A. No.
Q. Can you remember who's not on the list?
A. I can't, no. I mean, it's months since I've been anywhere near that.
Q. Okay. Well, if the Inquiry wishes to pursue that further, we'll make a request to see the list.
A. The Met can provide it, I'm sure. But I think it's a group that's evolving and I think the Met is quite open to look to broaden that.
Q. You told the Select Committee: "I must admit I have placed stories with all sorts of papers and all sorts of journalists." What did you mean by that?
A. I meant that when you're dealing with stories and information, there are sometimes stories that are perhaps only going to be of interest to certain parts of the media. So to send it to everyone would mean it would just go on the spike, so over time, experience would lead you to send things to certain people rather than to everybody. As an example, at the moment, if there was a story which had a cycling dimension to it, one might consider going to the Times with that because it's of particular interest to the campaign that they're running. At times, different papers have run different campaigns, so you would identify them and if you had stories that came from that territory, then you would consider placing it with them. If you have a murder in Havering, you wouldn't necessarily send it to a paper in Ealing. But I think the professional experience over time is knowing which papers which stories are likely to appear where, in which parts of the media. It doesn't mean that you don't issue the information to everybody; it means that you may phone up a particular paper to make sure they don't miss it.
Q. Were you responsible, Mr Fedorcio, for causing Sir Ian Blair's resignation by briefing against him secretly to journalists?
A. I don't believe I was, no.
Q. Well, you either were or you weren't. Were you responsible for that?
A. No. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Hang on, that's two questions, isn't it? First of all, did you brief against Sir Ian Blair?
A. I answered that one earlier, sir, when I said I do not believe I have ever briefed against Sir Ian Blair. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes, well, if you haven't done that, then the second question doesn't require answering. All right. MR JAY In terms of your position and Sir Ian Blair's position, Sir Ian Blair had been depicted as rather on the liberal wing. Whether that has any validity or not others may judge. That's not your position, is it?
A. No.
Q. Would this be fair to say: as far as you were concerned, you'd prefer to have someone else as Commissioner? Is that right or not?
A. No, no. My job is there to advise the Met and look after the interests of the Met, to support and advise the Commissioner, whoever that may be. MR JAY Okay. The rest of your statement we'll take as read, Mr Fedorcio. Thank you very much. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Do you want to say anything about the HMIC report, Mr Fedorcio?
A. I think I touched on it earlier in there, but again I felt that that touched the right buttons, as it were, and the recommendations in there, again, were things that needed to be addressed, and in particular, I think that some national standards around this are important, so there's no difference between one police force and another in how they go about in their relations with the press. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON All right. Thank you very much indeed.
A. Thank you. MR JAY Another early day, I'm afraid. Shocking. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Right. Mr Garnham, there were certainly a couple of documents that we're waiting for. Not the one that was mentioned this morning, but how is the quest to get hold of the Home Office document going? MR GARNHAM Sir, we've invited the Home Office to disclose that to us or to you. I heard this morning that they had agreed to do so, subject only to redaction of some names. The last time I asked those instructing me, which I think was at lunchtime, that redaction process was under way, and then you could have the document. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Very good. Thank you very much. Right. Tomorrow morning, 10 o'clock. Thank you. (3.52 pm) (The hearing adjourned until 10 o'clock the following day)


Gave statements at the hearings on 13 March 2012 (AM) and 13 March 2012 (PM) ; and submitted 3 pieces of evidence


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