Morning Hearing on 22 November 2011

Mary-Ellen Field , Garry Flitcroft , James Watson and Margaret Watson gave statements at this hearing

Hearing Transcript

(10.00 am) Housekeeping LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes, Mr Barr. MR BARR Good morning, sir. Our first witness today is going to be Mary-Ellen Field. Then we're going to hear from Mr Flitcroft, Mr and Mrs Watson, and then this afternoon from Mr Coogan. So could I call, please, Mary-Ellen Field? LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Just a moment. Yes, Mr Garden. MR GARNHAM Before Mr Barr calls his first witness, sir, I rise to express some concern about some of the reporting of yesterday's proceedings in this Inquiry. It is, with respect, somewhat objectionable that when one core participant in this case, Mr Grant gives evidence at the invitation of the Inquiry as to his opinion on certain matters, that the following morning he should then be accused, in the electronic version of the Mail on Sunday, of mendacity and we ask rhetorically: are we to expect that everyone who has the temerity to give evidence critical of the press is going to have to face this the following morning? The alternative is that I and perhaps other core participants will need to warn our witnesses that they must anticipate this as soon as they give evidence, if it's evidence that some newspapers don't approve of, and with respect, it seems to us that that is likely to have a seriously deleterious effect on the Inquiry you're conducting, sir. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I understand the point. Of course it must be right, Mr Garnham, that first of all these proceedings can be, as they are being, reported as widely as the press wish. MR GARNHAM Plainly, sir. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON And secondly, that there must be some room for comment. How balanced that is going to be is always going to be a difficult judgment. I notice that Mr Caplan isn't here. Is Mr Caplan MS PALIN Sir, Mr Caplan is detained in a short hearing in the Administrative Court that started at 9.30. He's expected to be here shortly. I know Mr Grant's evidence is a subject which he wishes to address the Inquiry on, so perhaps we could defer dealing with Mr Garnham's point until later in the morning. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I think that may be a good idea. MR GARNHAM So there's no doubt, the particular observation which gives us concern is a comment in the Mail Online to the effect that and I have it in front of me: "Mr Grant's allegations are mendacious smears driven by his hatred of the media." LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I'll write that down. All right. We will return to it when Mr Caplan returns. I think that's better. Mr Sherborne, yes? MR SHERBORNE Sir, I'm not going to complain that Mr Garnham has risen to steer my thunder. It's obviously a matter that's regarded important enough for the police to mention it. I do have a number of things I want to say as a result of the reporting that we've all read in relation to Mr Grant's evidence as well as the Dowlers' evidence yesterday. I'm happy, sir, if you think the appropriate time for me to raise these matters is when Mr Caplan is here, although he may benefit from having heard what I say and having had a little time to digest it. I'm entirely in your hands as to how you want me to deal with this. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Well MR SHERBORNE This is a matter which is significant and is one which needs to be addressed as soon as possible. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I'm comfortable about that. Is it likely to create any difficulty in relation to the first witness? Does anybody Mr Garnham, you don't know. Mr Barr, you've been given forewarning of the questions that core participants wish you to ask this witness. Is there anything in relation to her evidence that's likely to give rise to this sort of issue? MR BARR I think that's most unlikely, sir. I sincerely hope not. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes, all right. Thank you. Mr Sherborne, although I recognise that there may be advantage in you outlining your concerns in the absence of Mr Caplan so that he can read them later, I think it's probably better to wait for him, and if he needs a few minutes, then he can have it. MR SHERBORNE Sir, the concerns are not just mind. We have had concerns expressed by other core participants who are coming to give evidence about the sort of intimidatory tactics that we've seen in the press this morning. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I understand. We'll address them when Mr Caplan has returned. Mr Sherborne, I have one question to ask you. I became slightly concerned during the course of Mr Grant's evidence yesterday that he hadn't understood that the balance decision that I made about cross-examination inevitably meant that Mr Jay would have to put questions that weren't necessarily of his making, but which had been provided to him by other core participants, which they wished to have tested, and I hope that I mean, I sought to explain it to him halfway through his evidence, but I hope that those who are coming do understand the wide-ranging role that counsel to the Inquiry has to adopt in order to make the proceedings fair, and not to require multifarious that's absolutely the wrong word many different cross-examinations. MR SHERBORNE Sir, I appreciate that point. Of course there are matters which these witnesses have come here to deal with of their own experience, and there are points that can be put to them and which have been put to them which have originated not from the Inquiry but from the other core participants. I understand that. The danger, if I may say it, lies in the perception that those are points which are adopted by the Inquiry. I use the word "perception" not because it's Mr Grant's perception that matters; it is the perception of the public, and if one wants to see or more importantly, the perception as portrayed in the press. If you look at the coverage this morning of what happened yesterday, it's quite clear that that is a perception that has been picked up by the media. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON We're on day two so we have a long way to go. So that it's abundantly clear, the purpose of the counsel to the Inquiry is specifically to put not only questions that they wish to investigate, but also those which the other core participants wish to investigate, and as I made clear to Mr Grant yesterday, the mere fact that Mr Jay is asking the questions doesn't mean to say that he adopts or believes them. It may be that there ought to be some form of words adopted for some of the questions that identify that they come from others rather than from the Inquiry, but of course it shouldn't be assumed that because they're even being asked by the Inquiry they are necessarily reflecting my thinking, because one of the tasks of counsel to the Inquiry is to put out the possibilities so that I might consider them, rather than merely to reflect where I am or where I might be. MR SHERBORNE Sir, I understand that course is an approach that's going to be adopted in relation to all the witnesses. But as you yourself have said and with respect, rightly there is a fundamental distinction between the core participant victims coming to give evidence to this Inquiry as to their experiences and the witnesses who come to give evidence on behalf of the newspapers, who, to use my phrase and not yours, are in the dock, in the sense that it is their practices that are being scrutinised, not the practices, culture and ethics of the individuals who come to give evidence to this Inquiry about what they've suffered at the hands of the press. I say no more than that. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I understand the point. We'll doubtless return to it. All right. Yes, Mr Barr. MR BARR Thank you, sir. I call Mary-Ellen Field. MS MARY-ELLEN FIELD (sworn) Questions from MR BARR MR BARR Good morning.
A. Good morning.
Q. Could you tell the Inquiry your full name, please?
A. My name is Mary-Ellen Field.
Q. You've provided a contact address to the Inquiry so I do not need to ask you about that. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Ms Field, as I've said to others, thank you very much for coming. If you need a break at any time, don't hesitate to say so. I'm conscious that you're talking about things I'm aware that you mentioned them at the seminar, that some of the things may be things you would prefer not to be airing in public, but I'm grateful to you for doing so nonetheless.
A. Thank you, sir. MR BARR You've voluntarily provided a witness statement to the Inquiry, which is signed and dated 26 October of this year. Are you familiar with the contents of that statement?
A. I am, Mr Barr.
Q. And are they true to the best of your knowledge and belief?
A. They are.
Q. Thank you. You tell us near the start of the statement that you are a claimant in the voicemail interception cases which are currently being managed by Mr Justice Vos in the Chancery Division of the High Court; is that right?
A. That's correct.
Q. And that litigation is still ongoing?
A. It is.
Q. Can I take you back, please, to 2003. In your statement, you tell us that at that time indeed, I think it's still the case you were working as an expert in the protection, management and exploitation of intellectual property rights.
A. I am. I was.
Q. Was and am?
A. Yes.
Q. Thank you. And here there may be a difference: in 2003, you were working for a company called Chiltern; is that right?
A. Yes, Chiltern it no longer exists, it was bought by BDO Stoy Hayward. It was an international tax and accounting firm.
Q. We'll hear a little bit more about the circumstances in which you came to lead Chiltern in due course, but perhaps you could tell us about 2003 and how it came to be that you were working for Chiltern?
A. I was offered a job by Chiltern at the beginning of 2003 and I began there in April at the end of March 2003.
Q. We understand from your statement that through your work for Chiltern you were introduced to the supermodel Elle Macpherson?
A. Yes, virtually the first week I started there, I was asked to look at some a box of contracts that she'd only recently become a client a tax client of the firm, and one of the tax partners asked me to look at some contracts because it was not an area of expertise that he had and there were licence agreements and various other agreements that you would expect a model to have.
Q. So did there come a time when you sat down with Elle Macpherson to discuss business?
A. Yes, the next day.
Q. And how did that go?
A. It was excellent. There were a lot of issues that I had found in the box of documents that were that needed to be dealt with immediately. Some licences had expired and needed to be renegotiated and we got on very well. We're both from Sydney. We got on very well and she decided immediately to retain me to look after that side of her life. I said maybe she'd like to wait and think about it, but she makes up her mind quickly on things and I started working for her from that day, or she became a client of mine from that day.
Q. Thank you. And did the business relationship between you and Elle Macpherson blossom?
A. Yes. It was very successful for both of us, both financially and from a developmental thing. We had we did lots of exciting things.
Q. And how much contact did you have with her?
A. Well, having a supermodel as a client I didn't have any experience with celebrities before that and working with a celebrity when you're used to working with large corporations or large governments like I always have, it's a sort of a learning curve for everybody because, without meaning to be insulting, often those sort of people don't understand about billable hours and things and you do tend to have to overservice, but it was fun and from the point of view of my billings, it was only a very small part of the billings, but it did take a lot of time.
Q. Was it professionally satisfying?
A. It was very professionally satisfying.
Q. I understand from your statement that the relationship became close enough that an office was provided for Elle Macpherson at Chiltern's premises?
A. Yes, we'd had some problems in one particular case. I was unhappy about her giving interviews to the media at home, and in one instance the journalist asked if he could go to the lavatory and she showed him where it was and then he came back on his own and went into the dining room and drawing room and looked at some of the paintings and wrote them up in an item, which is, you know, just a magnet for burglars, so after that I said, "I don't think it's a good idea to have journalists in the house." So in around August 2005, she said, "Why don't I move into your office?" And I asked my CEO, who was a man, and it took them probably three nanoseconds to make up his mind that it would be a good idea for Elle Macpherson to have an office in our building and so she moved in quickly after that.
Q. I think people will be able to readily understand that evidence. Perhaps we can go now to one of the exhibits to your witness statement. It's an article which deals with your business relationship with Elle Macpherson. Perhaps I can ask the technician to put up on the screen the document which ends with reference number 31806, please. Can you see it?
A. Yes, I can.
Q. This, we're told in your statement, is an article from Accountancy Age Best Practice magazine; is that right?
A. Yes, the October 2005 edition.
Q. I see. This is an article which seems to blend interviews with both yourself and Elle Macpherson. Is that correct?
A. Yes. It was I don't know if they still do it, but Accountancy Age were trying to get people in the industry to get clients to sort of give them a good, you know, review, and the PR and PR people at Chiltern asked Elle if she would give this interview. I wasn't present when she gave the interview and I was it was a very flattering article and I was very touched that she had given that say those things about me.
Q. It is indeed flattering. Those who are following the Inquiry on the Internet will in due course be able to read the whole article, which will be posted later today, but for present purposes, can I perhaps choose a couple of passages. The first one has been put up on the screen. It reads: "Mary-Ellen is the nuts and bolts of the machine on the commercial side. I work in many countries, so I need to have advisers who can cope with all the international interests." Could we now move to the second passage that I've asked the technicians to highlight. For those following from the hard copy, it's the last paragraph on the page. Here we have another quotation from Elle Macpherson: "'She's a fantastic communicator and quip as a whip,' says Macpherson. 'she has a fantastic stroke of knowledge and a very good mediator. She's one of my right-hand people. I couldn't do this business without her.'" So I don't wish to make you blush, Ms Field, but it's fair to say, isn't it, that this was a thriving business relationship?
A. Yes.
Q. And I understand from your statement that your relationship went beyond strictly professional matters and there was a friendship between you; is that right?
A. Well, I don't know she confided in things that you probably wouldn't confided in me things that you wouldn't normally confide, family issues that you wouldn't normally expect a client to confide in you about.
Q. Perhaps as an example of that, could I ask the technician, please, to display the document the reference number of which ends 31808. A slight technical hitch for a moment. We'll wait and see if that can be resolved. Thank you. If you could magnify, please, the card at the bottom of the page. Your statement exhibits a number of cards from Elle Macpherson. This one is dated 1 October 2005. So have I understood correctly, that's about the same time as the article?
A. Yes.
Q. It reads: "Dear Mary-Ellen, thank you for the endless days and infinite dedication to me and my brand. I really, really, really respect and appreciate it." And it's a heart sign and for reasons of confidence, we've redacted Elle Macpherson's signature, but that has been seen by the Inquiry team and by core participants. Can I turn now to the question of press reporting about Elle Macpherson. You tell us in your statement that there was an article in 2003. We need not go into the details of the article, but it led, you tell us, to some successful litigation by Macpherson against a newspaper?
A. Yes, against the Sun. An article was run in October that Elle objected to and they settled in February 2004, and the Sun published an apology.
Q. Then you tell us that during 2005 there was a hiatus in Elle Macpherson's private life and she separated from her boyfriend, who was the father of her children?
A. Yes, but that had been planned for a long time. It wasn't a surprise to us and it had been kept out of the media.
Q. Was that something that became a matter for press interest?
A. Yes, obviously, because they were two very high profile people.
Q. Was it a matter which you discussed with Elle Macpherson?
A. She had begun discussing that with me in October 2003 and had sworn me to secrecy, which was very difficult because her partner was also a client of the firm, and I used to see a lot of him and got on very well with him and it was quite difficult for me to be in that position, and so, as many people here who work for professional services firms, it's a bit difficult when a client asks you to keep something secret and, you know, it's sort of a bit difficult, bit of an issue, but she started planning this back in October 2003, so I found a family lawyer for her and she worked through that lawyer.
Q. Thank you. As time passed and the media published stories about Elle Macpherson's private life, did there come a point in time where there was a concern that there might be leaks?
A. Yes. In around just before she moved into our offices and I think that was another reason why she wanted to move in stories were appearing. Mostly they were silly tittle-tattle, the sort of things that Mr Grant was talking about yesterday. Silly tittle-tattle things that the sort of people that read that sell those sort of papers, but she was very concerned and she was concerned that there were listening devices in the house and I have to say I was concerned as well. So I talked to some security people and they said, you know, you can avoid that if you get 'pay as you go' phones, mobile phones that are not on an account, so like terrorists use. So that was a bit much trouble, she didn't want to do that, so she said, "Well, get the house swept for me, get the house checked for me." So I found a reputable security company and obviously I couldn't ring her and tell her that we were going to do that because if they were listening, it would be pointless. So my husband and I drove over to her place in Kensington and I rang the door bell and she came out and we stood out on the street and talked about. So I had the next Monday, the chap came and he was there all day and we checked the car and the sort of things that Mr Grant talked about yesterday. We had the house checked, we had the car checked, we had all the phones checked and he found nothing, but we now know that isn't how they were getting the messages.
Q. That's what we'll come to in just a moment. Could I ask you to speak a little bit more slowly, please, for the sake of the stenographer.
A. Sorry.
Q. Could you tell us, after you'd arranged for the sweep and taken the other precautions which you've just described, did the media coverage of Elle Macpherson's private life stop?
A. No, it got worse.
Q. And you tell us in your witness statement that there was a particular story which concerned custody of the children?
A. Yes, but it was an it was a non-story because it wasn't an issue. I don't I don't really want correct me if I'm wrong to go too much into people's children
Q. No, there's no need to.
A. but she'd separated from her partner and they weren't married, so as I've been an expert witness for a long time
Q. If I could just stop you there. I don't think there's any need to go into the details.
A. It was just that we were planning the she thought there might be litigation and we were planning it and I was saying to her and this is what we were discussing on the phone that she needed to tell the lawyers everything, because if you don't tell the lawyers the whole situation then you're tying their hands behind their backs. So I suggested that she needed to tell to avoid anything like this in the future, she needed to be honest with her family lawyer, and she agreed with me and she did.
Q. Can I take from your answers that you were privy to intimate details about Elle Macpherson's private life
A. I used to attend
Q. at that stage?
A. I on several occasions attended meetings with the family lawyer.
Q. You then describe in your witness statement how matters came to a head. In particular, you tell us that there was a meeting between you and the fashion editor of the International Herald Tribune, Suzy Mekes. Is that right?
A. Yes. Can I just go back? It was after about three weeks after the flattering article in Accountancy Age was published. We had a big event at the Wallace Collection in Manchester Square, and we had about 200 guests and we launched a range of body products for Elle, and we hadn't been able to have the proper launch because the bombings happened in July and the launch was planned for the next day, so we obviously couldn't do it the next day. So we put it off until 3 November when we had the event, which was very successful and Elle was getting very good at speaking to PowerPoint presentations, and we did a presentation about the new products that we'd launched at Boots and she had asked me to ask Suzy Menkes, as you've said, who is the fashion editor of the International Herald Tribune. And Suzy came and I sat with her while Elle was speaking and at the end of the event, she said, "Oh, Elle, that was fantastic, could you come and speak at the IHT Luxury event in Dubai in December?" And Elle said, yes, that would be great, but could she organise it with me because I would have to go with her. Organising events was not part of my job specification. As you've described, I looked after her intellectual property rights and her business. I didn't she had a manager in Australia who used to manage events like this. So you're in the position she says, "Can you do it?" And then she said to Suzy: "Oh, perhaps you two could meet in the next week or so and organise it?" So when I went back to when I went to the office the next day, I asked my PA to set up a meeting with Suzy Mekes in ten days' time and we organised to have tea at the Dorchester from about ten days after that.
Q. Thank you. You tell us that in fact before that meeting could take place, something happened to intervene. You were telephoned by Elle Macpherson's lawyer?
A. I was, who I had appointed for her, yes.
Q. Mr Carter-Silk?
A. Yes.
Q. Can you tell us about that telephone call, please?
A. He told me that it was only about three days before I was due to have afternoon tea with Suzy Menkes, and he told me that I was not to go, that Elle didn't want me to go, that she was not prepared to have me speaking to the press anymore. And I was astounded, because I didn't speak to the press. As I said, it wasn't my job. I'd only ever once spoken to a journalist when I was with Elle and that was Guy Dennis, who was at the Telegraph then, which was back in 2004. And I was amazed, so I called Elle and I said, "Alex has just called me and said you don't want me to go to this lunch this afternoon tea with Suzy Menkes", and she was, the first time ever, really grouchy with me and she said, "I can't have you speaking to the media. You've been speaking to the press without my permission." And I thought she was just having a bad day, so I didn't worry about it too much and I got my PA to take the afternoon tea out of my diary and then, when the afternoon tea was supposed to take place I was due to meet her at 3.00 and when I I had another meeting scheduled and I got a call from my PA saying that she'd heard from Suzy Menkes' PA, who said she was waiting at the Dorchester for me, so they'd told me not to speak to the media but neglected to tell the other end that, you know, I wasn't coming. So nobody met her.
Q. Just so that we can be absolutely clear as to the position, had you been speaking to the media about Elle Macpherson?
A. Absolutely not. As I said, the only journalist I'd ever spoken to was Guy Dennis from the Telegraph at the Drapers conference in November 2004 and the girl from the whose name escapes me, who wrote that article in the Accountancy Age, but I'd never I didn't know until this year, I'd probably met four journalists in my entire life.
Q. If we move on now in your statement, you tell us that unsettled though you were by this turn of events, you carried on with your work and there was a meeting that you attended at which a lawyer from Allied Domecq was present and also Mr Carter-Silk?
A. Yes, that was as I said earlier, celebrity work was a very small part of my case load, and I had worked for Allied Domecq for a long time on the Courvoisier account. I'd written the original strategy for it back in 1996 and then in about 2004 I started working on it again. We had a meeting at Claridges and they said they were looking to appoint external lawyers, some for a particular job, and could I recommend someone. So I recommended Mr Carter-Silk and he came along to the meeting and he came to Claridges to see Tatiana Whytelord, who was trademark counsel at Allied Domecq, and two of her colleagues.
Q. Thank you. Can you tell us, please, how that meeting went?
A. It was horrible. He was rude to me, he was rude to the his potential clients, my existing clients, and then he left. So we all went out to dinner in St Christopher's Place at Pizza Express and then I went home. Now, that day I had been very busy. As I've said in my witness statement, I had been an expert witness for the Internal Revenue Service in the United States for since 2002 on the Glaxo dispute with the IRS, and we were very busy at that time and a lot we'd had a lot of discovery material come in and I was frankly not I had other things to do than worry about supermodels because there wasn't anything that specifically needed to be done, and I was also very busy with Allied Domecq because they were launching a new range in New York, and I had, bizarrely, not listened to any of my voicemails that day. When I got home my battery had run out and I couldn't listen to it in the cab on the way home, and when I got home, my husband said, "Why didn't you call me?" He said, "Alex rang today and he told me that you're going to get fired on Thursday. You've been speaking to the press without Elle's permission and she knows that you wouldn't do it on purpose but you did it because you're a alcoholic." I said, "Excuse me?" Anyway, the next minute my phone and it was Tatiana, my friend who I'd just been out with, my friend and client, and she said that Mr Carter-Silk had rung her on her mobile number because she had given him her business card and her mobile number was on it, and he had said the same thing to her, that I was going to be fired unless I came to this meeting at his offices around the corner in Aldwych. Unless I came to this meeting on Thursday and agreed to do what I was told that I had to do, I would be fired. I thought they'd all gone mad. So I just went to sleep and went to work in the morning, and went to see my CEO and ask him what was going on, and he said, "Oh, Elle's made a complaint. It's nothing, don't worry about it." And so I asked my PA what was going on and she said, "Oh, they have put something about a marketing meeting in there", but Matthew, my CEO, is also going. I thought: "He doesn't know anything about marketing. He's an accountant." And I was I had I was to so busy, I was just I thought they'd all gone mad and I didn't take too much notice of it. But on the Tuesday while I was at work, Mr Carter-Silk rang my husband again and said that if I didn't go to this meeting, Chiltern would fire me, that Elle had proposed that I be sent to rehab to recover from my alcoholism, to the same place that she goes to, and that they will pay for it and then I would then get better and when I came back after five weeks, everything would be lovely. Well, I honestly thought I mean, put yourself in my position. What would you think? My husband said to Mr Carter-Silk and said it again on the Thursday: "I've been married to my wife for 33 years. I think I might know if she was an alcoholic", but
Q. Perhaps I can just pause you there. Again, so we can be absolutely clear, were you an alcoholic?
A. No. No.
Q. So you've been asked, in the circumstances that you've described, to attend a meeting?
A. Yes, at Manches around the corner.
Q. You tell us in your statement that the meeting was, as you say, at Manches on 24 November 2005 and that you did attend?
A. Yes. That was a big mistake. I called obviously I've always worked with lawyers and I know lots of lawyers and I called friends, and one of them on the Wednesday evening organised for me to see an employment lawyer, and he said what every other lawyer I talked to said: "Do not go to that meeting under any circumstances. Go and see the HR people at Chiltern and if you don't get any satisfactory explanation, resign and sue for constructive dismissal." Well, I didn't do that, obviously. Resigning and suing for constructive constructive dismissal is a really difficult thing and I have a seriously handicapped, disabled child who will never be able to look after himself, so just walking away from a very high-paying job is not really a great idea. I also thought they'd all gone mad and that I could go to this meeting and I could convince them that they had all turned into lunatics. I just thought that's what I could do, and they were breaking all the employment rules insisting that my husband came. What did my husband have to do with it? He didn't have anything to do with Elle and he didn't have anything to do with where I worked. But anyway, we went, which was a very stupid thing to do.
Q. If I can now ask you about that meeting. You tell us you went to try and persuade them that they were wrong. What in fact happened?
A. The meeting was set for 10. My husband and I got there just before 10 and Elle came downstairs there's sort of an atrium thing. She came downstairs and said she wanted to see me on my own. Again, I was very stupid, I shouldn't have done that. So I went in there and she put her arms around me and cries and tells me that, you know, she knows what it's like to be an alcoholic that's a matter of public record, so I'm not saying anything I shouldn't say and that she's going to help me and she knows that I would never have spoken to the media were it not for my alcoholism. I just was speechless. I said, "Can you give me an example of when I've done this?" She said, "You've done 11 things." I said, "Tell me what the 11 things are", but she wouldn't, and I said, "You can't haul me in here, tell me I've done something and then not tell me what I've done." And she said, "I'm not allowed to tell you", and she said, "If you don't do what we want, Matthew [my CEO] will come in here and you'll be fired." So I was just I mean, I don't know, it sounds like a B movie, but it was and after half an hour of psycho-babble, I said I wanted to see my husband, so my husband came in, followed by Mr Carter-Silk, one of my colleagues from work, Fiona Hoxton-Moore(?) and Matthew Wickers, our CEO, and they proceeded to basically trash my reputation, trash my everything, and then say I had to go to this place and I had to go on the Monday.
Q. Did you go?
A. I wasn't going to go. When I went home that night, it was 11 as you know, I'm Australian. There's 11 hours' difference this time of the year because of daylight saving, and I rang my oldest friend, who's a lawyer, but also at that time was the Federal Attorney General of Australia, and I told him what had happened. We've been friends since I was 15 and we're godparents to each other's children and I told him what had happened and he just was speechless and said exactly what my lawyer friends in London had said: "Do not go there. Resign immediately and sue for constructive dismissal." But as I've said, I'm an idiot and I didn't do that. So the next day I was still determined that I wouldn't go. My CEO had gone to Spain to play golf and he sent me a text saying, "You don't have to do this if you don't want to." So I went down to Elle's office in the building and I showed her the text and I said, "Look, I don't know what's going on here but he says I don't have to go." And she said, "Oh, he's only saying that. If you don't go, you'll be fired." And she said, "I'm going home to pick up her older son, who had started school then, and then I'll come back and I want to talk to you." So she came back and she parked up on the forecourt of the building where we were, chucked the driver out of the car, and spent an hour she totally broke me down and I gave in. I know I'm an idiot, but I gave in and I went to this horrible place.
Q. When you went to The Meadows, were you seen there by medical experts?
A. I was.
Q. What did they conclude about whether or not you were an alcoholic?
A. Well, for the first ten days you're sort of in this hospital thing, where they there's no plugs in the hand basin in case you drown yourself in the hand basin, and all these strange people I mean, I've never even had a cigarette in my life. I didn't even know what these people were talking about most of the time. Plus they try to make you take anti-depressants or some sort of and I wouldn't take them, so that makes them think you're hostile. Then because I'm a runner, I wanted to use the gym and then they wouldn't let me use the gym because they said it was obsessive behaviour. After ten days, they rang my husband and they said that I had been subjected to it's called an intervention, like one of those CIA renditions, except they don't put you in chains and talk to you about they said that I wasn't an alcoholic and that I had been bullied. They also rang my employer, who didn't take the call. Anyway, they paid for it, so and it's very expensive, so I stayed there because that it's not Elle had made out it was like sort of a spa or something, but you know, it's a grade one psychiatric facility with men with guns in holsters parading you know, going around the outside of the thing, so it was fairly horrible. Not all the people there were drug addicts. I mean, when I came out of the hospital thing, I had to share a dormitory with these people, this woman and one woman who injected drugs between her totals so people couldn't I'd just never met people like that. It was horrible. Anyway, I survived.
Q. You've explained to us rather graphically what it was like at The Meadows. You returned from The Meadows. What were you hoping was going to happen upon your return?
A. Well, I'd kept my side of the bargain. I came back with a clean bill of health with a thing that said I was suffering from "adjustment disorder", which apparently means "stress" in American psychiatric hospitals, and and so I came back. I was back in the office on 6 January and I went to see Matthew and I said, "Well, what do I do now?" And he said, "Well, it's business as usual. You've done what she wanted." And so she was still away and I sent her a text, and on the night she rang me on the way back from the airport and said I was fired, she didn't want me to handle her business any more, she couldn't trust me, I was ungrateful for what she had done for me. So I went and reported this to my line manager, who was the CEO, who did, look, I have to say, terribly shocked because we'd all kept our side of the bargain. So Things went from bad to worse after that.
Q. You explained to us that you continued for a while to work for Chiltern, although without the Elle Macpherson account.
A. Well, I had deadlines coming up for the you know, we were due to go to trial for the Glaxo trial in the sort of in the autumn of 2006, so I had a lot of work on.
Q. In terms of your employment with Chiltern, what happened next?
A. In the after she fired me, the following week, I was called in for a meeting and told that I had to replace that Elle was going she didn't want to keep her business there any more and I had to replace that business. But she was such a tiny part of my overall billings, it seemed insane. Then I got some new work in the nature of working with the US government is it's sort of tenders well, not tenders as such. Once you're accredited, the work just rolls in and another six-figure sum came in, and I thought that would fix that and nobody would worry. Then they produced a glossy brochure at the office and fears that I had that I was being removed were sort of that sort of took it away. If they spend the money on doing a big glossy brochure about me, I have to assume that they're not going to fire me any time soon.
Q. Perhaps I can fast forward just a little bit to March 2006. Two months after the account with Elle Macpherson had come to an end, what did your employers do?
A. On 10 March, they made me redundant. I had no warning, nothing. I was made redundant, and because I was involved you know, because I was an expert witness for the IRS, I was frankly, who are you going to be more scared of: the IRS or Chiltern? So I rang chief counsel and he flew out on the Monday and we had a meeting with them, but they clearly were not going to keep me there any more, despite the large billings that I had there.
Q. Was there really a redundancy situation?
A. No, because they immediately I mean, I do a lot of work in transfer pricing. They immediately hired a new transfer pricing person.
Q. The way you put it in your witness statement is: "There is no doubt in my mind that the termination of my contract with Chiltern came as a direct result of the allegations made by Elle."
A. Yes, they said in their documents to me I'd been indiscreet, that the client didn't trust me, despite the fact that no other client said this.
Q. What impact did losing your job with Chiltern have upon you? Can I first of all ask you financially?
A. Well, initially, you know, I wasn't exactly living from month to month. It wasn't
Q. I don't need the details, but would it be fair to say it had a very serious effect on you?
A. It had, it had a very serious and because I'd become ill, I couldn't and I was falling down all the time, I couldn't it was not a really good advertisement for yourself looking for a new job.
Q. Did it have an effect on your standing in society?
A. Well, you know, you take those things more personally. Even now, I was at a meeting recently and they wouldn't say the name of the client when I was there and I thought: "They still don't trust me." I'm just being pathetic, I know, but at the time well, it was it was made worse by the fact that I was ill, that I'd become ill.
Q. Perhaps we can move to that. Again, I have no desire to ask you any details about this, but you tell us in your statement that there was a period of decline in your health at the end of January 2006 and that it ultimately led to you requiring surgery and a pacemaker being fitted in 2009?
A. Yes.
Q. It may be that this is a matter which will need to be fully resolved in the civil litigation in which you are involved, but perhaps I could ask you this: do you attribute the decline in your health in any way to the events that you have told us about involving Elle Macpherson, the loss of trust and the ending of your employment by Chiltern?
A. Well, I've never been sick. The only time I've ever I got hurt playing tennis in 1993 and had to have spinal surgery, but that was a sporting accident, but I've never been sick. I had actually never missed a day of work at Chiltern. But I began falling, which as I'd been accused of being an alcoholic, falling probably wasn't the best thing for me to do, but I became very ill on the evening of the 28th and my husband called an ambulance and I was rushed to Chelsea and Westminster and received the same excellent treatment that Mr Grant described that he received yesterday, but because I'm a nobody, fortunately nobody was ringing up anyone and telling them I was there. But they referred me to people and the situation got worse and worse. I couldn't drive any more. I didn't know when I was going to fall down, and that wasn't resolved until I wasn't diagnosed until February
Q. I think I can stop you there. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON The important thing is this was a physical condition eventually diagnosed?
A. Yes, yes. MR BARR Now if we move to March 2006. You tell us that you received a call out of the blue from Elle Macpherson, asking you who the security people were who checked her house and office; is that right?
A. She was very friendly and she asked me what was the name of the it was the week before I was made redundant and I didn't have it in my mind and I looked it up and told her what it was, who the person was, and she thanked me and went.
Q. You tell us in your statement that you now know that Clive Goodman's column in the News of the World was cancelled the week before this call.
A. Yes.
Q. If I can ask the technician, please, to put up on the screen the document the reference for which ends 31809. If you could highlight, please, the bottom of those two parts sorry, I meant magnify. Thank you. We see that that's a card, it says: "Dear MEF That's you, isn't it?
A. Yes.
Q. It's from Elle Macpherson, dated April 2006, so not very long after she telephoned you?
A. No.
Q. And it says: "Dear MEF, thank you for my birthday card. Was very touched. It means a lot to me. Have been meaning to put pen to paper for some time now. Will do ASAP. Much love and Can't quite read the
A. "Light".
Q. "Much love and light And again, we've redacted the signature. Did you in fact hear anything further from Elle Macpherson after that?
A. Never again.
Q. You then tell us that a few months later, in August 2006, that you heard on the radio that Glenn Mulcaire and Clive Goodman had been arrested for phone hacking and that Elle Macpherson was one of the victims?
A. Yes. I heard it early on the Today programme, and then suddenly my phone I started getting emails and texts from people and then a call from a girlfriend who's a lawyer, saying, "Oh my God, that's what happened. You know, that's why you have to ring the police straight away, ring your former employer", blah, blah, blah. So I emailed and texted Elle and I emailed my former employer and I didn't get a response, and so I tried to contact the police.
Q. How did you try and contact the police?
A. I haven't had much contact with the police in my life, so I wasn't sure how you did that, but I I looked up on the Internet and our closest police station was Wandsworth. So I called the number for Wandsworth and nobody answered and I tried again later in the day and still nobody answered. There wasn't even a voicemail, so I looked on the Internet again and I saw Scotland Yard, which that was the only name I'd actually never heard of the Metropolitan Police service, so I saw and I found a phone number on there, a general number, and I called, and the lady who answered seemed quite helpful and I told her and she said she'd put me through to someone, and she put me through to another line and I waited and waited and then suddenly it disconnected. So I thought I'd better write and there wasn't any point writing, so I looked up to see who the police commissioner was, because that was the top person, and I wrote to him.
Q. Did you get a reply?
A. No.
Q. You then tell us that you learnt in January 2007 that Glenn Mulcaire and Clive Goodman were jailed for phone hacking. Did this development and the news that you've already told us about, that Elle Macpherson had been a victim of phone hacking, lead to any change in your relationship with Chiltern?
A. No. I they didn't respond to when I wrote to them back in August, I emailed them back in August about: "Look, obviously I'm totally vindicated. I didn't do this." No, I had no response. So I wrote again to Commissioner Blair.
Q. Did you get a response that time?
A. No. I think the letters are in the exhibits.
Q. They are indeed. You tell us that much later on in this year, I think, in 2011, you've had further contact with the police; is that right?
A. Well, it started when Sienna Miller kept going to court to try to get access to her phone records, I thought that that is out of sequence. Can I because I had actually given an interview to the Guardian in
Q. If you want to tell us about your interview with the Guardian
A. Do you want to do that later?
Q. Now is a convenient time.
A. Okay. Nothing happened. After the Mulcaire and Goodman were jailed and nothing happened and I was getting sicker and sicker, I again heard the story in I think it was 12 July 2009, a report on the Today Show that the Guardian had published this story about phone hacking and I've never actually bought the Guardian before so I went I walked down to the newspaper place down the road and bought the Guardian and read it. I couldn't believe it. So I rang the reporter, Stephen Brook, who had written the story or it was somebody, Nick Davies, and I spoke to Stephen Brook and he said, "Can you come give us an interview?" So I did, and they made a video, which is still on the Internet, and then I thought about it. Before I you know, I thought about it for a little while before I seeing as I'd made such bad judgments in the past. I thought: "Well, I will talk to them. I'll see if anything happens." I actually honestly expected to get angry letters from lawyers or abusive phone case saying that I shouldn't have said that, but nothing happened, absolutely nothing, and then the BBC One Show called the Guardian and said would I do an interview for them, so I did an interview for them the next night and nothing happened. And then I just felt: "Well, that's hopeless. I'll give up. I can't spend my whole life obsessing about what happened." And then, at the beginning of 2010, the New York Times rang me and asked me if I'd help them with their investigations, so I worked with them and then they published their story in the autumn of last year, so I thought and then at the same time, Sienna Miller was going finally got her phone records, so I wrote to I wrote to Dominic Lawson had published a really sort of in his column in the Sunday Times because I subscribe to the Sunday Times, so I replied to his email because it said that this was a Labour Party plot to get at the Conservatives and blah, blah, blah, and I just thought that was a load of total rubbish, so I wrote to him and told him that I'd been collateral damage and that's the first person who has actually ever responded to me and he wrote a very nice email back and then wrote an article he didn't mention me about it in January of this year. Then I thought: "Well, I'll give it another try. I'll write to the Crown Prosecution Service." And they responded, and then in I think it was between Christmas and New Year, they announced that there would be no further investigation, there was no further evidence, and lots of people complained. So I wrote back and then I got a letter from a woman called Alison Levitt QC, which I think you have, and then I wrote back and sort of queried a couple of things she'd said and I got another letter sort of putting me off, and then I had a call from the CPS and they said and a letter following it up, saying that I would be contacted by a policeman, and I was, but he was horrible to me. He was really rude to me and behaved like I'd done something wrong. So I rang the Crown Prosecution Service back and said, "Well, if that's the sort of help I'm going to get, I'm not interested." But then, about four days later, a nice policeman I gave someone from last night one of the detectives who I gave the chap's mobile number and he was really nice and he said he'd had a good look at it and he could see, you know, that I had had a lot of problems, and but then things sort of took a life of their own. Then Rupert Murdoch came over and sort of took control of it and was out at Wapping and then the one journalist that I did know at the BBC, who had helped me with a client years before, who had a trademark problem and was being monstered by a big corporation who they'd done a show on it on Radio 4 and he organised for me to do an interview on 30 January of this year with Paddy O'Connell from Broadcasting House. So I did the interview and I had no idea how widely that was listened to around the world and then people contacted me from all around the world and that's how I got lawyers and so on.
Q. Thank you very much for filling us in on the intervening events. Is the position now and I don't want you to go into the details of communications with the police that you are in contact with them on a satisfactory basis?
A. Yes.
Q. Thank you. You've told us already that you're a litigant. How are you funded, if I may ask, in the litigation?
A. I have a conditional fee arrangement. I couldn't do it otherwise.
Q. And you tell us finally in your statements that you are active in politics?
A. (Nods head)
Q. And you tell us that you have raised your concerns about how the phone hacking issue has been dealt with internally within the Conservative party. Is that right?
A. I have.
Q. Thank you.
A. They don't take any notice of me, but I have.
Q. For those who are following on the Internet, they will be able to see the exhibits which will be posted later today. Thank you very much indeed.
A. Thank you. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I suppose that all one can say is that you've correctly described your own position; not your fault, the collateral damage of what somebody else did to the person for whom you worked. Thank you very, very much indeed for coming to tell me about it. Thank you.
A. Thank you. MR BARR Sir, could we have a short break between the witnesses? LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes. (11.05 am) (A short break) (11.12 am) LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Five minutes is going to be five minutes, because otherwise we're going to just lose time. MS PATRY HOSKINS We're still missing a few, sir. I don't know if you want to wait. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I'm going to wait here. Could you just announce that I'm sitting again, please, outside. (Pause) Right. MS PATRY HOSKINS Sir, the next witness is Mr Garry Flitcroft. I'll just ask for him to come and take a seat. MR GARRY WILLIAM FLITCROFT (sworn) LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Mr Flitcroft, thank you very much for coming. I appreciate this is not your normal terrain, but don't worry about it.
A. Thank you. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON If you need a break, say so. I'm conscious that you're going to be speaking about things which are personal to you, and I'm grateful to you for sharing your experience so that it can all be taken into account. Thank you very much.
A. Yes. Questions from MS PATRY HOSKINS MS PATRY HOSKINS First of all, could you say your full name?
A. Garry William Flitcroft.
Q. Thank you very much. You have provided a witness statement to this Inquiry. Those of us who are in the room will either see it on screen or have it already. Those who are watching on television or on the Internet will have it later today. Can I clarify, before I ask you any questions about it, that you can confirm to me that the contents in the statement are true to the best of your knowledge and belief?
A. Yes, they are.
Q. I'm going to start with your career history. I'm going to lead you through this, if I can, for the purposes of saving time and for those who do have the witness statement, paragraphs 3 to 6 are the paragraphs that we're going to be looking at. You explain that you are currently a football manager, manager of Chorley, but you're also a retired professional footballer. You explain that you have three children, aged 8, 10 and 14, and your wife and you have been separated for some years, you're not divorced, you currently live with your girlfriend. Then you explain your footballing history, if I can put it that way. Can I just ask you to say in your own words, when did you first start playing football?
A. I started playing football when I was about 7-year-old as a young kid and then I got signed for Manchester City when I was 12, signed apprenticeship forms when I was 16 and then got in the first team when I was 18.
Q. So when you first signed for a club, you said that was
A. When I was 12, but I started when I was 7.
Q. Which club?
A. Just a junior football team in Bolton.
Q. When you signed for that club and as you moved through, what was your intention? Did you seek fame and fortune?
A. No, my intention was just to be a professional footballer, try and be a footballer when I got older.
Q. You explain that you played for Manchester City and then you moved to Blackburn Rovers and played there, you tell us, from March 1996 to 2004; is that right?
A. Yes, that's correct.
Q. You had three seasons as captain of the club. Can I ask you about the fortunes of Blackburn Rovers during that time, just in order to understand the public profile that you had during that time. First of all, which League was Blackburn Rovers in at that time?
A. We were in the Premiership.
Q. Throughout the time that you played for them?
A. Yes.
Q. Did you ever win the Premiership?
A. No, I signed the season after we won the Premiership.
Q. Did you ever qualify for Champions League football?
A. No.
Q. For those of us who aren't familiar LORD JUSTICE LEVESON You're not doing badly MS PATRY HOSKINS I'm sad to say that there might be some people who are not familiar with the meaning of that. Can you confirm that this simply means finishing in the top four places in the Premiership, thereby qualifying for a League that is played out amongst the top European clubs?
A. Yeah.
Q. You didn't qualify for Champions League football?
A. No.
Q. Did you ever play for the full England team, the national team, during that time?
A. No, I just played for England under 15s and under 21s.
Q. Never for the full team?
A. No, never for the full team.
Q. No? Did you ever sell your story by appearing, for example, in a publication such as Hello or OK magazine?
A. No.
Q. You ever write for any publication?
A. Never.
Q. Did you ever make any public pronouncements that you are aware of about your family life or your public life?
A. Never, no.
Q. How often did you appear at non-football-related public events, for example? So premieres of films or
A. No, never anything like that. Just hospital visits, really.
Q. Charity events?
A. Charity events, yeah.
Q. Did you ever obtain any corporate sponsorship, TV advertising in your own name?
A. No, nothing on the TV.
Q. Did you ever have your own aftershave?
A. No.
Q. All right. Against that background, I'm going to turn to ask you about media conduct. You deal with this in your statement and from paragraph 7 onwards for those of us who have it. It's obvious to those who know a little bit about you, Mr Flitcroft, that you were granted an injunction to restrain a story about your private life being published back in 2001. I'm going to take you through the chronology, if I can. You explain in paragraph 7 that it was a story about your private life. Can you just tell us a bit about what happened?
A. Yeah, I got an injunction. A girl that I'd seen three or four times had contacted me to say that she wanted money off me, otherwise she was going to go to the newspapers.
Q. Can I just pause you there? Let's be graphic about this. When you say a girl you'd seen a few times, what does that mean?
A. I'd seen
Q. Were you in a relationship with her?
A. I wouldn't say a full-blown relationship, no. I took her to a hotel once and seen her twice at her house.
Q. But an intimate relationship?
A. Yes.
Q. Okay. So she contacted you. In what way?
A. She telephoned me.
Q. Right, and what happened then?
A. She told me we'd just got back from Dubai with the football team and she told me that she wanted to see me and I just said, "Listen, I don't want to see you anymore", and she said, "Right, I want ?3,000 for a boob job", which I said, "I'm not paying you." Then she said, "You'll have to go to your mum and dad's house. I've left an envelope there." Then the phone went dead.
Q. So she said she'd taken an envelope to your parents' house, right?
A. Yes, being that she lived in Chester, which was probably an hour and 15 minutes away and she never didn't even know where I lived, never mind my parents. I went around to my mum's house there was an inevitably there with "Garry" and a big kiss on it, and inside the envelope there was text messages that I'd been sending her.
Q. What do you mean by text messages? Printouts?
A. That she'd been writing down and the dates and times and a room the card key from the hotel where I'd stayed with her.
Q. How did you feel when you saw this envelope?
A. Obviously stressed because then I was thinking: what do I do in a you know, I know I've done wrong and I hold my hands up that I did wrong and, you know, I made I mistake but at the end of the day, I didn't want my family to find out about what I'd been doing.
Q. What did you do after you'd found this envelope at your parents' house?
A. I took it straight to the PFA solicitor and I said sorry, I got the envelope, took it to the PFA solicitor and then Craig Hignett, who I played with at Blackburn Rovers had told me he spoke to a sports reporter and my story was going to be printed on the Sunday. So my solicitor then got hold of the paper.
Q. Can I pause you there. Before we move on to the discussions you had with the Sunday newspaper, I've been asked to ask you this question: it was disputed later by this lady, who you say gave you the envelope, that she had in fact tried to blackmail you. As I understand it, that issue was never decided by any court. Is that right?
A. No. Like I say, when I took the envelope to the PFA solicitors, I just let them deal with it then, and then
Q. But your story is that she did try to blackmail you; is that right?
A. Yeah.
Q. Tell me what happened then. What contact did you have with the Sunday People?
A. Obviously I went to the PFA. They put me in touch with my solicitor there, Mark, who then dealt with the injunction.
Q. Okay. When you say he dealt with the injunction, at some stage you must have decided whether or not you wanted to apply for this injunction; is that right?
A. Yeah. We discussed it and we discussed it with the PFA.
Q. Why did you decide to try and obtain the injunction?
A. To try and obtain the injunction because my family is close and I didn't want to get it out. You're obviously covering your own back as well. I hold my hands up. Like I say, I know I did wrong but nobody's perfect and at the end of the day, I had a wife and a kid and I had a very, very close family and I didn't want it to get out to them either.
Q. How did you think your wife would react if she did find out at that time, when you were applying for the injunction?
A. All I could think about was it going in the newspapers and it being seen nationally and what effects it would have on her at the time. You know, I would have liked to take it on the chin, but for my wife to find out that way, it wouldn't have been right.
Q. You explain in your witness statement, for those who have it, that you then obtained an injunction on 27 April 2001 against the Sunday People. Did you ever speak to the Sunday People yourself or have any contact with them?
A. No.
Q. What was your understanding of what they were going to do if you had not obtained the injunction?
A. They were going to print my story on the following Sunday.
Q. Can you remember who was editor of the Sunday People at that time?
A. It was Neil Wallis.
Q. Now, you go on to then say at paragraph 15 of the statement, for those who have it, that as soon as you obtained the injunction, you say, the Sunday People launched a dirt-digging exercise. What do you mean by that?
A. Well, the injunction got put into place, and then when I was at the football club, I had lads come in and phone me up from other clubs to say that, you know: "I'd been told by sports journalists that the footballer was [me] that was gagging the press." At that point, I was worrying that they were going to go home and tell their wives and the wives in the players' lounge at football would then tell my wife.
Q. In terms of the conduct of the Sunday People, you say they carried out a dirt digging exercise. What did they do?
A. They put things in the papers where they were saying it's an unfashionable club he's at, a north-west club, so
Q. So they were printing details about you, but not your name?
A. Yeah.
Q. I understand. You say at paragraph 15 I have been asked to ask you this question. You say: "For reasons I do not quite understand, it seemed that details of my affair, even though it had been over for some time, was of huge interest to the paper." I've been asked to ask you this: how long had it been over by that stage? By the time you obtained the injunction, how long had it been since you stopped seeing this lady?
A. Probably about three months, four months.
Q. You go on to explain at paragraph 16 that their investigations, this dirt-digging that you explain, led to the discovery that you'd had an affair with a second woman. Do you see that?
A. Yeah.
Q. "She was contacted by the paper and asked to sell her story. As a result, she telephoned me and asked for ?5,000 in return for not telling her story." Can you tell me about that conversation?
A. Yeah, she phoned me up and said that a reporter had come and seen her and told her he'd pay her money and would I pay the ?5,000, which I think she said in she said she did say that to me as well in her statement to the court, so
Q. She said, "The People is offering me a certain sum"?
A. Yeah.
Q. "But you can pay it and I won't sell my story"?
A. Yeah.
Q. Is that right?
A. Yeah.
Q. Again, I've been asked to put it to you that she denies having tried to blackmail you in that way. What's your version?
A. I think in her evidence, going back ten years, she admitted she asked me for 5,000, if I can remember.
Q. Thank you. And again, you say that they had discovered you'd had an affair. Do you accept that you had had an intimate relationship with the second woman?
A. Yeah, I'd been in contact with her for probably over a year, so
Q. I understand. You then go on to say that you cannot think how the paper found out about this second affair because as far as you're aware, no one else knew about it: "It had been over for some time and on the occasions we met it had always been at her apartment, where she lived alone." You go on to say: "I strongly suspect that my phone was hacked by journalists and as a result, the second woman was contacted and asked to sell her story to the paper." Again, I've been asked to ask you: do you have any firm evidence that your phone was hacked or is that just speculation?
A. No, that's just speculation. I have no evidence at all. All I can say is that one of the girls lived in Stockport and one lived in Chester. They didn't know each other, so it just seems a massive coincidence that the same newspaper linked two girls in the space of a couple of months to me.
Q. I understand. You then go on to tell us that subsequently the High Court upheld the original injunction in relation to the stories of both these women, since revealing details, it was found, in a national newspaper would be an unjustified intrusion into your privacy. That's paragraph 19 that you have there. But you say that despite the injunction being upheld at that stage so now against two different women the Sunday People deliberately published, you say, enough details behind of the subject matter behind the injunction, without naming you or the women, so as to spark speculation as to which Premiership footballer they were talking about and you've already touched on that. You said they published the fact it was a north-west club, an unfashionable club, you said. Are there any other details you can remember that could have helped identify you?
A. Not really that come to mind, no.
Q. Okay. You say that also word had got out to a number of players through sports journalists that the person behind the injunction was you, which meant that fellow players and colleagues took the mickey out of you in the dressing rooms. Can you tell me about that?
A. It was a sports journalist that had told Craig Hignett that the story was going to be printed and that's what alerted me, so then took out the injunction. I had footballers that I've played with at other football clubs before phoning me up and saying, "Garry, we've heard it's you, is it you?" And it carried on from there, and then coming in the dressing room and
Q. What would they say? Try and give me a typical example of what someone might say to you in that context?
A. "We're going to be going into the lapdancing place tonight and go and dance with your (overspeaking)", and things like that. "She can strip off for us", or whatever it was.
Q. How did you feel about that sort of teasing or taking the mickey?
A. Same again. I could take it on the chin, but because people were saying things to me, you start wondering: "When's it going to get out?"
Q. I understand. We know that you go on to say that the injunction was lifted by the Court of Appeal in March 2002 and by that stage, it was widely suspected that the person behind the injunction was you and you explain that you believe this Court of Appeal decision was wrongly decided. You say that in terms. Do you want to go into the legal niceties of that or not?
A. No, I don't know enough about it. I can only say what my solicitors have said to me.
Q. I understand. All right. What I want to explore with you now is the impact of the lifting of that injunction on you and your family, if I can take that, because it was lifted, as you explained, in March 2002. Can you tell me, did you get advance warning of the fact that the injunction was about to be lifted and that the press were about to reveal that you are the Premiership footballer?
A. Yeah. My solicitor had phoned me up at the time and said, "You're going to need to get out of the house, because you've lost the the injunction had been lifted and you're going to have a lot of press and photographers coming over to your house."
Q. So what did you do?
A. I told Karen straight away. In the meantime, when I told her, I had a buzz on my gate and it was the Daily Mirror sorry, the Daily Mail.
Q. So wait a minute. When did have you the buzz on your
A. Sorry, before
Q. Before you'd even told her?
A. Before I was going to tell her, the Daily Mail buzzed on my gates, about an hour, literally, after Mark had told me.
Q. Right.
A. And said could he talk to me from the intercom, and Karen asked me what was going on and I eventually you know, I took her for a ride. I said, "Listen", told her exactly what had happened, took her back and the press were already at the bottom gates. We've got two sets of gates. It's a private driveway with three other houses on it. And I said, "We're going to have to get out and I'll have to take you up to the Lake District with your parents, my parents, and we'll go out there."
Q. Pause there. I don't want you to tell me about the details of the conversation that you had with her in the car that day, but how did she react?
A. She was angry, started crying. Hit me in the chest. She was absolutely devastated.
Q. I understand. When you returned to your house and you saw this media frenzy, I guess I could call it, what did you decide to do?
A. We'd already decided that we needed to get away somewhere, so I got my brothers to come around and get us out of the house as quick as we could.
Q. Were your club supportive of the fact you were going to be away for a few days?
A. My club were great. They gave me four days off and they supported me, yeah.
Q. Again, I don't want any personal details of any conversations which you had with your wife during that time, but if I can put it this way: was there hope of a reconciliation during that period?
A. Yeah, I mean, at the end of the day, me and Karen were getting on the best we could for the sake of the little'un, but it finally didn't work out and I ended up moving out.
Q. Thank you. I want to ask you about the impact on your children. Can you tell us about the impact on them of the fact that their father had been named in the newspapers in this way?
A. I'll be honest with you. The littlest one was only young then, so to say he didn't get much attention and it's only later on now in life now where he does do.
Q. Tell me about that.
A. Well, from the beginning, obviously Karen's taken him to school and the mums are saying things about her, but as far as the kids go, you know, teasing him at school. He comes watching me now for my team at Chorley and there is other fans that, you know, sing chants about his dad and
Q. They still sing chants to this day?
A. Yeah, at Chester City the other week they were singing chants about me. And I just think when your lads are coming to watch you play football now and they're at an age where they know what's going on, you know, it's unfair.
Q. Okay. You've told me about the immediate impact on your wife when the injunction was lifted. Can you tell me a bit about the impact that this whole media frenzy has had on your wife since that time?
A. Well, obviously we split up, which is you know, from mine and Karen's point of view is, you know, a massive disappointment when you have three kids. But the fact that Karen's always been a private person, you know, a picture took and like I say, you Google her on the Internet and it comes up with my case now. I think it's wrong when she's done nothing wrong. It's me who's done something wrong, and she shouldn't have to deal with all that.
Q. Can you tell me a little about the level of media interest that there was in you and your family after the injunction was lifted?
A. Yeah, I mean, it was it had been going on for maybe 12 months that Mark had told me to expect the worst if the injunction got lifted and I'd say there were always at least 20 reporters, photographers at my gates. You know, going on top of that, you know, there's been there was an helicopter taking pictures above my house, and it just seemed that they wanted, the Sunday People especially wanted to make a make a statement to me that they were you know, it was never to take on the press again type of thing.
Q. You say at paragraph 30, for those who have it, that following the lifting of the injunction, the national press ran a series of follow-up articles, revealing the nature the injunction and the subject matter behind the injunction and there was an absolute feeding frenzy. Can I just ask you now, please, to look very briefly at some of the articles, just two of the articles. For the sake of the technician who's behind us, could we have a look, please, first at the document which ends the number ends 32030. It's in your exhibits and it's a Sun article headed, "Love rat is Garry Flitcroft". Do you have that?
A. Yes.
Q. That's obviously one example of the Sun, and you'll see it says quite clearly: "The married soccer ace who used the law to hide two affairs can be today named as Garry Flitcroft. The Blackburn Rovers skipper has blown ?200,000 on his bid to avoid being exposed." The first two paragraphs there. First of all, is that right? Did you blow ?200,000 in legal costs to avoid being exposed?
A. Yeah, it was about ?190,000, I think, to fight for my privacy.
Q. I understand. I am going to ask you to look at a second document, which is, I think, probably just slightly further on in the bundle. It's 32032. It's an article in the Telegraph reporting on the same issue, obviously. Just wait a moment until it's on the screen for those at the back of the room. If we focus for the moment on the title of that. If we could just zoom in on that: "Saga of the love rat footballer leaves one question: Garry who?" So that's how the Telegraph is reporting it, and if we look at the first three paragraphs if we could just highlight the first three paragraphs, please: "So now the truth can be told. The Premiership footballer who fought for so long and at such great expense, et cetera, is Garry Flitcroft. The question that inevitably arises is: Garry who?" Why were they saying that? Why were they questioning who you were, in your view?
A. I don't think I was a high profile player. I never caught myself in the papers. You know, I was at probably an unfashionable club being at Blackburn Rovers and when you're looking at high profile people you know, there are a lot more high profile people than me, but the facts is you know, they say it's got to be published because it's public interest and then say "Garry who" is just totally wrong.
Q. I understand. I think I can probably guess the answer to this question, but do you think it was in the public interest for the Sunday People to tell the world about the fact that you'd had two extra-marital affairs?
A. No, it was private. It was between me and Karen and there's no reason why my private life should be in the public interest. You know, people I was a footballer and the Sunday People printed the story because it was probably interesting to the public, but at the end of the day, it wasn't public interest. If I'd been done for match-fixing or taking cocaine, then that's in the public interest, but I disagree with them putting it in.
Q. I understand. I have been asking you about the impact on your wife and children and I will come back to ask but the impact on other members of your family, but if you don't mind, I'm going to move chronologically, please, through the years. We'll move now to three years later, 2005, please, and paragraph 37 onwards in the witness statement. You say this: "I also found out that in 2005 the tabloid press were still carrying out secret surveillance on me in an attempt to uncover another sensational story." What do you mean by "secret surveillance"? Do you mean someone was following you around and taking pictures of you?
A. No, someone was following someone else around.
Q. Can you just tell me in your own words about that?
A. Yeah, in 2005
Q. Can I just pause there. Parts of your statement here are redacted.
A. Yeah.
Q. And I think you understand for legal reasons it's had to be redacted.
A. Yeah.
Q. If I could just ask you to be careful about that and not mention anything that's been redacted.
A. Yeah. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Do you have a copy that has the redacted bits blacked out? Good, okay.
A. In 2005, I got a text message and answerphone message left by a lady that said she'd been doorstepped and would I get hold of her. I never got back to her because I thought nothing of it at the time. MS PATRY HOSKINS Did you know this lady?
A. No.
Q. You just didn't know her. You'd never met her?
A. No, I never met her in my life.
Q. Right.
A. And I just thought it was the press trying to get something out of me again, so I never contacted her.
Q. Right.
A. Then in January, I got a text message saying such-and-such: "I've seen things going on with the phone hacking. If you need any evidence, contact me."
Q. Who was this message from?
A. The same lady in 2005, that I never spoke to, yeah. I've never met her in my life.
Q. Did you then speak to her?
A. No, I gave her number to Mark, my solicitor, and Mark spoke to her for me because I was still nervy if it was someone trying to catch me out.
Q. I appreciate this is hearsay evidence, but do you know anything about what she told him about the circumstances in which she'd been approached?
A. Yeah, she'd been delivering some exercise bikes at Blackburn Rovers
Q. First of all, did she work for Blackburn Rovers?
A. No.
Q. Who did she work for?
A. She just worked for a company who delivered exercise bikes to Blackburn.
Q. Right.
A. She then was followed home. She went on her holidays with her husband and the morning she come back, 7 o'clock, a newspaper knocked on her door and said she'd been having an affair with me and another girl called Sarah, to which Sarah's the girl I now see.
Q. All right. Can you tell me a bit more about your knowledge of what happened to her after that? I appreciate that she'd been doorstepped in this way, but then did she have any other contact with the press?
A. Well, obviously over the last few months, after my solicitor's been speaking to her, she hasn't been in contact with me as well, because I wanted to see if the newspaper had gone. She said they'd knocked on her door, said that she'd been seeing me and she'd phoned Orange up and they'd the newspaper had phoned Orange up to get numbers, apparently, to see if my numbers were on her phone records.
Q. The newspaper had?
A. Yeah.
Q. Right. Can I just be absolutely clear: had you been exchanging telephone calls or messages with this woman?
A. Never. I have never met the lady in my life. Never.
Q. So if the newspaper did contact her mobile phone company, would they have found any messages from you?
A. No.
Q. Are your numbers stored in her phone or anything like that?
A. Nothing at all.
Q. Okay. After that happened, did she have any other contact with the press?
A. I don't
Q. Can I just ask you to look at paragraph 44. Perhaps I'm being too cryptic. Paragraph 44 sets out that she subsequently telephoned "redacted" and I don't want you to mention that
A. Yeah.
Q. and confronted this person: "He confirmed that he had telephoned Orange and said he'd been trying to access information about her mobile phone usage and this had led to her phone being cut off. He also said something along the lines of that he wanted to catch me out again." By "me", can we presume he wanted to catch you out again?
A. Yeah.
Q. It's clear also from the end of that paragraph that she just denied the story and nothing was ever published.
A. Yeah.
Q. Why do you refer to this incident in your statement? What do you want the Inquiry to take away from that incident?
A. I just think that when you know, it just shows you that they're still digging for information three or four years after I've already been done and reading Neil Wallis's some of his quotes that I want to go to later on, you know, when they finally come out in the newspapers, he just says that, you know, I could get on with my life, but they don't let you get on with your life. They're still digging for information and that's the point I'm trying to prove there. This lady, it nearly wrecked her marriage and that's why she wanted to get in touch with me because she felt so aggrieved by what this reporter had done to her.
Q. I understand. Since you retired as a professional footballer, have you had any contact with the press? Have you sold your story to Hello or OK, given any interviews or so on?
A. No. The only thing I do, I've got sports journalists at Chorley that I speak to sometimes, just the local press with my football club.
Q. About Chorley?
A. Yeah.
Q. Rather than about you?
A. Yeah.
Q. Can I ask you then to go back to the impact on you and your family. You've set out quite clearly the impact on your wife and children. I want to ask you about the impact on others, if I can. The first is you said at the start of this examination that you've got a close family. I want to ask you about your relationship with your father-in-law and how this whole situation impacted on him. Can you tell us a bit about him?
A. He had Parkinson's disease for years. He's died now, but I was very close to him, and to have the press turning up on his doorstep is totally wrong, trying to get a story about me and his daughter, when he was critically ill.
Q. Was he critically ill at the time?
A. Yeah, he was really bad, yeah.
Q. Tell me about the media intrusion on his life. Were there people at his door? What was happening?
A. Obviously he's you know, he didn't need it at the time. He'd had operations to fit something onto his brain for the Parkinson's disease and Barbara, Karen's mum, was looking after him, Karen was looking after him, and just as a family, they didn't need the grief that was going on with, you know, what should have been between me and Karen.
Q. Did they actually come to his front door or contact him in any way, the press?
A. Barbara come to the front door. Malcolm was in the chair and he struggled getting out of the chair.
Q. I understand.
A. But it was a shock to see a load of press at his door looking for his daughter.
Q. Can I ask you about the impact on your father? First of all, tell me a bit about the relationship that you had with your father.
A. Me and me dad were really, really close. Ever since I was 7, he took me on the back field for two hours every night. He followed me everywhere, home and away.
Q. When you say he followed you everywhere, does that mean he attended
A. Every football match.
Q. every football game that you played in?
A. Yeah.
Q. From the age of 7?
A. Yeah.
Q. Right through to the time when you were a professional footballer?
A. Yeah.
Q. Home and away?
A. Yeah.
Q. That's quite a commitment.
A. Yeah.
Q. Why do you think he did that?
A. I was his life, at the end of the day. He loved coming and watching me play football.
Q. I understand. Can you tell me about whether that changed following the lifting of the injunction and the subsequent press publicity?
A. Yeah, it definitely changed because the taunting I was getting on the terraces you know, my dad suffered the pressure and anxiety. He'd suffered it since he were a 20-year-old kid, and he stopped then watching me play football.
Q. He stopped watching you within how long of the injunction being lifted did he stop coming to watch you?
A. We played Leicester away and the story had come out in the morning and the chants were so bad that he just said, "I can't come and watch you again."
Q. So it was immediately he stopped coming to watch you?
A. Yeah. Yeah.
Q. You said he suffered from depression for a long time. Did you notice any change after the injunction was lifted?
A. It's one of them I mean, my dad become you know, suffering from anxiety and depression, you've got to have something in your life and his life was coming and watching me play football, and his work, and that took him out of his life. He became very housebound, started taking more tablets and he got into a real rut, and obviously not coming out (inaudible coughing).
Q. And what happened to your father?
A. Me dad committed suicide in 2008.
Q. I've been asked to put you sorry, but I have to put it to you that that means there was a period of six years between the time that the injunction was lifted and the time when he committed suicide. But in your mind, are those two events linked?
A. To be honest with you, I mean, it's a long time from me dad committing suicide from when it come out in the papers, but all I can say is it affected him a lot. Something was taken out of his life that he loved doing and, yeah, I would say over the years his depression got worse because he wasn't come watching me play football.
Q. Some might say, Mr Flitcroft, that footballers are in the public eye by definition. If you're a Premiership footballer, you play in the public eye, and because of that, you're somehow a role model, such that the press are entitled to expose your private life. Do you agree with that sentiment?
A. Well, who says we're role models? It's the papers who say we're role models, I think, so from my point of view, we're doing a job and our job is playing football. If that puts you in the public eye, then surely it doesn't affect your private life. Like I say again, even though I did wrong, that was something that me and Karen should have dealt with. That's all I can say about that.
Q. I understand. Did you ever complain about any of this to the Press Complaints Commission? Did you ever have any contact with them in?
A. No. To be totally honest with you, I wouldn't know anything about the PCC, really, other than going on the Internet, and Neil Wallis, who did my case, was on the panel at the time.
Q. He was on the PCC panel at the time, what, of the injunction?
A. Yeah, around that time.
Q. But did you ever think about going down that route, complaining to them?
A. Never. I mean, once I got the injunction you know, I didn't have the press turning up at my house through the injunction. It was when it got lifted that it was horrendous.
Q. I understand. Is there anything that you wish to add? This is your opportunity if there's anything that you'd like to say or you'd like the judge to take away from your evidence?
A. Just that, you know, there's been some high-profile cases lately and mine was a massive case, you know. Neil Wallis says it was a historic victory for press freedom, and I just felt that at the time when they got the second girl, when I had the injunction, they were trying everything they could, and if they got information illegally, then my injunction shouldn't have been lifted, and it may have helped some of the other footballers that have been in, you know, in trying to protect their private lives lately. You know, at the end of the day, they might be high profile, the John Terrys and Rio Ferdinands and Ryan Giggs, but what gets put in the paper does affect how them kids feel about them and at the end of the day, they're in the public and in the newspapers because they're excellent footballers. You know, John Terry gets the captaincy took off him by Capello. Well, did Capello want to take the captaincy off him? I presume not, because John Terry's a leader. I would have thought that he knew that if he didn't, then the press that he was going to get was going to be horrendous for him, and at the same time, Graham Souness stood by me at Blackburn. He said, "What happens in Garry's private life is private. It's nothing to do what's going on at the club and it only matters on the pitch what he does." MS PATRY HOSKINS Thank you very much on behalf of the Inquiry and I'm sure the judge will have a few points. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Thank you very much indeed. I appreciate you coming. I really do. Thank you.
A. Okay. MS PATRY HOSKINS Sir, again, I don't know if we should take a short break just to get the witnesses ready. MR DAVIES Sir, I just wonder if I might say something before we take a break. It's simply this: the copy I have of Mr Flitcroft's statement is redacted for about ten paragraphs in the middle. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Ten paragraphs? MR DAVIES Ten paragraphs, from what looks to be halfway through 35 to the beginning of 45. It's headed "For distribution to core participants", so I was slightly taken by surprise when questions were asked about those paragraphs. I'm not suggesting any harm was done but it did mean that we didn't have notice of the evidence. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I'm very sorry to hear about that. What I'm more concerned to hear about is that some failure of the system. MS PATRY HOSKINS I think we'll just have to check which version is on the Lextranet database. It could be that Mr Davies has obtained an earlier copy, because there was an earlier version of the statement that had more significant redactions. It could be that he simply got an earlier version, but we will check the Lextranet system and we'll find out whether there's been a glitch in the system. I don't know if any of the other core participants have the same problem. MR GARNHAM Yes. MS PATRY HOSKINS There's been a glitch. I can only apologise for that. We'll ensure that the correct version goes onto the website in due course and if there is any concerns if any of the core participants wish to raise any concerns with us about whether or not they would have wished to ask additional questions, I would be grateful if they could have a chat with me in the short break. MR DAVIES I'm not suggesting harm was done. I really raised it for the future. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON No, no. That's absolutely correct, Mr Davies. The care that we obviously have to take is that it's the final version that everybody sees. All right, thank you very much. I think we'll carry on. I know that there's a point to raise at some stage, but given the identity of the next witnesses, I don't think it's fair to let them wait. MS PATRY HOSKINS Sir, in that case, I ask Mr and Mrs Watson to come. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Very good. MR JAMES WATSON AND MRS MARGARET WATSON (affirmed) LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Please sit down. You've probably heard me say that I recognise that this is a difficult exercise and that you're speaking about matters that are private and extremely deeply felt by you. I'm very grateful to you for giving me the information that you give me. It all goes back, I readily recognise, a long time, and I'm sure you appreciate that there are limits to what this Inquiry can do, but I do think there are features of what you've said in your statement that are important to hear for the purposes of fairness and balance. So thank you very much for coming. You've equally heard me say that if you need a break at any stage, then you only need to say so, and I've stored up five minutes by not having a break between the two witnesses. MRS WATSON Thank you. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON All right? But please, this is not to be more stressful than it absolutely has to be. MRS WATSON Thank you. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Thank you. Questions from MS PATRY HOSKINS MS PATRY HOSKINS I understand that you, Mrs Watson, are going to be giving the majority of the answers, but of course, Mr Watson, if you would like to answer any of the questions, it's entirely acceptable. MR WATSON Thank you.
Q. For the sake of the technician, the witness statement is 24125. First of all, could I ask you, Mrs Watson I'm going to direct my questions to your wife. MR WATSON Yes.
Q. Could I ask you to state your full name to the Inquiry?
A. Margaret Watson.
Q. You've provided a witness statement to this Inquiry, which I think you have in front of you. Can you confirm that everything you say in that is true to the best of your knowledge and belief?
A. It's absolutely true, yes.
Q. I'm going to take you through why you're here and what has happened to you. For everyone who has the statement again, the caveat everyone else who's watching will have it later on today we're going to be looking at paragraph 2 of the statement. If you would like to turn that up so that you know where I am, feel free to do that. It should just be over the page behind that. Exactly. If I can, I'm going to lead you through some of the background. You just tell me whether you think what I'm saying is correct or not. You explain that on 10 April 1991, you're much loved and now sorely missed 16-year-old daughter, Diane, was stabbed to death by a fellow pupil, Barbara Glover, in the grounds of Whitehill Secondary School, her school, during morning recess, so during the morning break.
A. Yes.
Q. You tell us that on 25 July, so a few months later, Barbara was convicted of her murder.
A. Yes.
Q. She was also found guilty of assaulting Diane the day before the murder?
A. That's correct, yes.
Q. You say that she received this is Barbara, of course a sentence without limit to time and was committed to a secure unit?
A. That's correct.
Q. And then she was released, you explain, several years later, 26 January?
A. January, yes, 2000.
Q. Okay. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON So for English ears, effectively she was convicted of murder and received a mandatory life sentence?
A. Yes, exactly. MS PATRY HOSKINS I really don't want to have to ask you any detailed questions about
A. Please feel free. We want this information to come out.
Q. All right. Let me ask you about the day that Diane died. Can you tell me a little bit about that day?
A. On 9 January sorry, April 1991, Diane had been threatened by Barbara Glover through our son Alan. She told Alan to give Diane a message that she was going to sort her out, have her beaten up and slash her. Do you want me to go into detail about
Q. Yes, absolutely.
A. This revolved around a boy
Q. I understand.
A. who was going out with Barbara. Am I doing all right?
Q. Can you just pause a moment? LORD JUSTICE LEVESON You're absolutely fine. I don't want to distress you by going into all the details. I understand. The statement is there. I don't think it's necessary for you to do that because what really matters is what happened thereafter, isn't it? And what concerns you, I know, is not that there was anything wrong in the criminal justice system she was convicted of murder. There was no question, as I understand it, of provocation. It wasn't raised or was entirely rejected by the court.
A. Rejected. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON And that's what the position was. Is that a fair summary?
A. Yes, that's true. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I just don't want to
A. Yes, I understand. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON make you go through the process of that summary. MS PATRY HOSKINS Thank you. That's very helpful. I'm only asking you these questions to get to exactly the same point. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Well, there you are. MS PATRY HOSKINS That's always the way. Your Lordship is much faster and much better than me. Essentially, when she was tried for the murder of your daughter, she attempted to argue that she had been provoked but that was expressly rejected by the judge.
A. Yes.
Q. Okay. You explain at paragraph 6 that just days after sorry, I'll let you turn over the page so you know where I am. Just a few days after the conviction on 2 August 1991, an article by Jack McLean was published in the Glasgow Herald. You set out the article in your exhibits but we won't turn it up because it's minuscule and hard to read. But I'd like you to explain in your own words what that article said and why you were so upset by it.
A. Well, I didn't see it when it was first released because we were too upset and couldn't speak to anyone, but a friend of ours had read it and later on, maybe a month or two after, she brought it to our attention and it just wasn't factually correct. What he was doing, Jack McLean of the Glasgow Herald, he was painting a picture of the murderer of our daughter as being the victim, and we came from an upper working class and looked down on others with disdain.
Q. Let's pause there. The article was about the murder of your daughter; is that correct?
A. Yes.
Q. It was also explaining that this Barbara Glover had been convicted?
A. Yes.
Q. And you explain that he seemed to indicate that she was a victim some way?
A. Yes.
Q. Can you remember what concerned you about that allegation?
A. He said that he we came from an upper working class background and Diane looked down on Barbara Glover with disdain.
Q. You obviously attended the trial. Had there ever been any discussion, either by Barbara Glover or in the findings of the judge, that your daughter had looked down on Barbara Glover with disdain?
A. No, none of this evidence came out in court. This was just his assessment because he was a campaigner for young offenders and didn't like the idea of Barbara Glover getting a life sentence for murdering my daughter.
Q. I understand.
A. He knew nothing about the case. Absolutely nothing.
Q. Okay. He also, in the article you tell us at paragraph 8, indicated in the article that Barbara Glover had been so scared that she had wet herself in the dock. Was that right?
A. That never happened. We were at the trial throughout it, and I can assure you she did not wet herself in court. That was to gain public sympathy on her side for his campaign for young offenders, and what he did there, he picked an individual case he knew nothing about to spearhead his campaign, which he's absolutely no right to do. If journalists want to do campaigns for anyone about anything, they must ensure they have all the facts before them before they start delving into people's private lives and causing other tragedies to take place.
Q. So if I can summarise it in this way: the article, in your eyes, portrayed Diane as the bully?
A. No doubt.
Q. And portrayed Barbara Glover as the victim?
A. Yes, (overspeaking) so, yes.
Q. How did you feel about that when you saw the article for the first time?
A. To be perfectly honest, we were in too much pain and distress at that time about Diane. All we wanted was Diane back. We wanted to take her place and give her her life back. We couldn't do that, but we decided after a while to go up to the Glasgow Herald office and ask to speak to Mr McLean.
Q. Just pause before you tell us that because there was a second article, you tell us
A. Yes, we didn't do much about the first because we weren't fit.
Q. I understand. You were grieving.
A. Yes.
Q. 26 June 1992, the Glasgow Herald published a second article by the same gentleman, which compared Diane's murder with another murder case where the accused had been found not guilty.
A. Mm.
Q. Again, you say the comparisons may give a misleading picture of the situation. Mr McLean, you say, "used this article on this unrelated case to call for the murderer of our daughter to be released, something we found insensitive."
A. Yes.
Q. What was your reaction?
A. I was absolutely fuming. Enough was enough. I realised it was going to be some kind of campaign on his behalf and I couldn't take it any more and I thought being unaware how the media works, I thought I would go down to Glasgow, the Herald's office, and ask to either speak to Mr McLean personally or the editor, and I was told by the reception I had no right to come up and ask to speak to any journalist. If I have a complaint about a journalist, I must put it in writing, which we duly did.
Q. Did you have any response to that letter?
A. Yes.
Q. Right.
A. It wasn't exactly helpful.
Q. What did they say in that letter?
A. It's more or less standing by his original article. It wasn't so much what he wrote to me. It was what he wrote to my MP, who he had also been in touch with, Mr Michael Martin, which cause the upset.
Q. I'll come back to that later. You got this response and you weren't happy with it.
A. Sorry?
Q. You got this response from the Glasgow Herald and you weren't happy with it, obviously. You've explained that. What would you have liked for them to do? In an ideal world, what would they have done as a result of
A. All they have to simply do is look into the facts. We didn't have a transcript of the trial then, but if they'd taken the time to study even the newspaper cuttings, they'd have realised that not only was Barbara Glover found for first-degree murder; she was found guilty of assaulting Diane an unprovoked assault on Diane the day before. So it's a completely unjustified column.
Q. I don't mean to cut across you. Should they have contacted you maybe to check the facts?
A. Oh, that would have been too much bother, wouldn't it? His only interest was in offenders, which he's quite entitled to do, but as I said before, they must get their facts before they delve into a private case and make sure it was certainly obviously it was a biased article. It was intended to be a biased article, but what he has no right doing is painting Diane as something she wasn't.
Q. I understand.
A. He tore everything that we had of Diane apart, the essence of her life, the person who she was. We didn't even have the memory(?) of her life because of people like him.
Q. Obviously they hadn't checked the facts.
A. No.
Q. They hadn't spoken to you and you were not happy with the written response that you'd got.
A. You could say that.
Q. So what did you do then? Still focusing on the Glasgow Herald, what did you do?
A. As I say, my MP also wrote to Mr McLean too, and I did ask for another meeting through the Glasgow Herald. I requested a meeting, which I'd been refused before, and I was told no, it wouldn't be possible. So
Q. You eventually did get your meeting. How did you get that meeting?
A. Yes, we did a six-week campaign standing outside the Herald office with a banner, demanding to meet with Mr McLean.
Q. A banner which said can you remember?
A. Well
Q. You don't want to repeat it?
A. No.
Q. You don't have to repeat it, but indicating that you wanted to have a meeting about this and eventually you had a meeting
A. Yes.
Q. with Mr McLean and the editor of the Glasgow Herald and again, did they apologise?
A. No, no.
Q. What did they say?
A. We drafted questions on the transcript of the trial and the evidence, and on the printed questions to Mr McLean, Mr McLean decided to compound the pain he had caused to us by making up false allegations that he'd spoken to our doctor, Barbara Glover's doctor, the teachers from Diane's side of the case and teachers from Barbara Glover's side of the case, but we went up to Whitehall Secondary School and got written confirmation that no one had even heard of Mr McLean, let alone spoken to him
Q. So he told you things that were untrue?
A. The doctor gave his written confirmation, and unfortunately before I sent my witness my evidence to you, I've just come across last week a new piece of evidence where the headmaster has written
Q. Okay.
A. about his concerns about his reputation being called into question.
Q. I understand.
A. Because he was the only teacher that dealt with both the Watsons and the Glovers. No other teacher dealt with our families.
Q. I understand.
A. So he feels his reputation has been besmirched.
Q. I understand. So you weren't happy with the outcome of that meeting. I can understand that. Can I move you on then to an article that was written shortly after that in September 1992, in Marie Claire feature magazine, a feature, you tell us at paragraph 10, by Meg Henderson about British children serving life sentences. That article is in the exhibits. I don't think we need to turn it up on the screen, but I'm going to ask you some brief questions about. Obviously it didn't actually mention your daughter by name, did it?
A. No, it used other names.
Q. It used another name, so it used the name "Donna" instead of "Diane"?
A. "Donna", that's correct.
Q. And "Jean" instead of "Barbara"?
A. Yes.
Q. And it alleged that there had been essentially a campaign of harassment or diminishing by your daughter?
A. Yes.
Q. And for one of the allegations made in the article that you refer to is that previous to the murder, Donna, so Diane, had pulled Barbara's T-shirt off, leaving her standing in her bra in front of other children. That's simply fiction, isn't it?
A. It simply did not happen. For the start, it wasn't a t-shirt Barbara Glover had on; it was a sweatshirt. That's one fact it didn't get right. And it reads as if Diane walked up to Barbara Glover and simply pulled off her T-shirt. That is not what happened. What happened is Barbara Glover this is on the night when Barbara Glover had assaulted Diane, unprovoked assault, remember, she'd been found guilty of. She had Diane Diane was small, like me. Barbara Glover was tall, so to try and defend herself, Diane had got hold of the hood of her sweatshirt to try and get her down and her sweatshirt did ride up but it didn't come off, anywhere near come off. So where these people are getting this information, I would like to know.
Q. So again, you would say that that article portrayed your daughter as a bully?
A. Yes.
Q. It didn't get its facts right?
A. No.
Q. And it portrayed Barbara Glover as the victim?
A. Uh-huh.
Q. Did Marie Claire contact you prior to writing that article?
A. No, none of them have.
Q. Did you take any action in respect of that article?
A. Yes. We felt the best course there because we'd never heard of the Marie Claire magazine before was to see a solicitor.
Q. How did it come to your attention, that article?
A. It was actually a friend of my daughter's who'd read it and thought that we should read it because her mother was more than aware it was referring to Diane.
Q. What action did you take as a result of that?
A. We sought the advice of a solicitor.
Q. I understand. I understand that you eventually did get an apology from Marie Claire.
A. Not just like that.
Q. I appreciate
A. At first, they were not interested. The original answer to our complaint I don't know if you have a copy of the small reply we were today they actually were to write it. They wrote it. It was only about three lines to go in the letters page, but we weren't to have any say in it, and obviously we refused to accept that. We wanted a full retraction and apology. We didn't get a retraction, but we eventually got the apology.
Q. How much later?
A. Oh, that was about a year, wasn't it?
Q. And how many letters? Can you remember, approximately?
A. No, the only reason we got we went down to London and demanded to speak to Glenda Bailey, who was then the editor of the Marie Claire. At first she refused to see us, then she finally relented. We showed her the evidence that we had and she said she had the full transcript of the trial and I said, "That's funny. We're not allowed to get that." You have to go through a process. I don't know if it's the same, but then you did. And she said, "Well, I can assure you we have." I said, "Right, can we see it?" It was press cuttings, all circled with Barbara Glover's evidence. I said, "Where is the other witnesses?" She says, "We don't have copies of that." I think that says it all.
Q. So it was based simply on Barbara Glover's evidence?
A. Oh yes, because it was a campaign to get her released.
Q. Turn to paragraph 14 of your statement and I'm going to take you through this. I don't want to cause you any distress, but you tell us there that LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Give them a minute. MS PATRY HOSKINS Do you have that? Paragraph 14, page 4. You tell us there that tragically, these articles and obviously you refer to those articles in some details tragically it was all too much to bear for your son, Alan, and he took his own life on 5 December 1992. How old was Alan?
A. 15.
Q. He was found, you tell us, holding copies of the articles referred to above?
A. Without a doubt.
Q. "We were in no doubt", you say, "that the way that Diane's death was misreporting by Meg Henderson of Marie Claire, Jack McLean and others "
A. We've actually got the proof now because we managed to get a transcript of the trial, which will prove everything we said is correct.
Q. Why do you say that you are sure in your own minds that these articles and the misreporting contributed directly to his death?
A. Well, Alan couldn't understand particularly the Marie Claire one particularly upset Alan because it was a disgrace. That's not journalism. But he wanted to know what we were doing about it, and we told him we'd sought the advice of a solicitor and as things weren't moving, time was getting on and nothing letters were flying back and forward but nothing was happening. I phoned the solicitor one morning and I say how upset Alan was becoming, and could he possibly explain the law to Alan because he's accusing Jim and I of just sitting back and doing nothing. So when he come out of school that particular day, we took him to see the solicitor who explained that the dead cannot be defamed, so once you are dead, you can say what you like about the deceased, and we have no recourse in the law.
Q. How did Alan react to that?
A. He was extremely upset. He said, "Surely there's something can be done?" He says, "Not legally." He says, "All we can do is write to the magazine", and I'm afraid that all just became too much for Alan. And I don't blame him because I can understand. So the journalists in this country kicking on about the chilling effect if you do away with the Press Complaints Commission which you have to do away with but if you do away with the Press Complaints Commission, it will have a chilling effect on journalists. What about the deadly effect it has on the victims and misreporting, the malicious lies, the malicious falsehoods. Just because a person's deceased, you can write what you want, and they certainly did it.
Q. I understand that to add insult to injury, on the day of Alan's funeral, a third article by Jack McLean was published in the Glasgow Herald. It made scathing reference to a debate in the House of Commons which had taken place shortly after Alan's death and during which your local MP Michael Martin criticised Mr McLean about his insensitive article. How did you feel when you saw that article?
A. I couldn't believe it because that was the day of Alan's funeral. I thought at least they would leave us alone for Alan's funeral. They took away his respect, they took away his dignity, and the very day that we were laying our son to rest. If you say that's good journalism if any journalists thinks that's good, God forgive you, because I won't.
Q. I want to take you on then to the action or the steps that you took following I mean in respect of all these articles, if I can. You've explained the contact you had with the Glasgow Herald. You've explained the contact that you had with Marie Claire magazine. I want to ask you about your experiences with the Press Complaints Commission, if that's all right. That part of your evidence starts at paragraph 24, if you want me to refresh your memory.
A. Refresh my memory.
Q. You explain that your husband and yourself made a complaint to the PCC in September 1992 based on the Code of Practice, as it was then, and you explain that in particular the Marie Claire article had been inaccurate to the point of distortion and had intruded on your privacy with tragic consequences. You say the complaint was pursued but then you were unable to take matters further at that time because of ill health and so on, and your solicitor in error wrote to the PCC saying that you were happy and that it had been concluded
A. Well, I can understand because he had been trying to get in touch with us, but because we'd lost Alan
Q. I understand. I don't want to ask you any more of that, but you then recontacted the PCC after that, didn't you, to say that actually it hadn't been resolved and that was a mistake?
A. Error, yes. November.
Q. Can you tell me briefly about what happened then with the PCC and whether you feel that they'd dealt adequately with your complaint?
A. Well, the gentleman I spoke to Mr Austin, I believe his name was he wasn't the least bit interested in what we had to say. He didn't take he couldn't seem to take on board that we had started a complaint, unfortunately we'd lost a son in between that complaint and that we would like to now try, if we could possibly take it forward, but he was not interested. He said our solicitor had written to him, which apparently he had done. I'm not disputing that. Our solicitor's done it in good faith because he knew we weren't fit to deal with anything, let alone the Press Complaints.
Q. So you're saying that the PCC said to you that this has already been dealt with and closed
A. As far as we were concerned, yes.
Q. and they're not reopening it? "We're not reopening it, despite the fact that you've told us that you want it reopened." Is that right?
A. Mm-hm.
Q. Did you have any other contact with the PCC at all after that?
A. Yes. There was a are you referring to the article that was you're published in the Sunday Mail? It was grossly misleading and an insult, again, to our daughter's memory.
Q. Could you tell us a little about that article?
A. Well, once again we weren't informed this article was going to print. I think it was someone else, I can't remember, came up to the door when the Sunday was released and gave us a copy because they were so upset about it. Do you have the article there?
Q. Yes, I have. I'm just trying to find the number. I think it's 31843. It's the article itself. In your little bundle, if you turn past your witness statement and look to page 14A? LORD JUSTICE LEVESON If you can read that, you'll do very much better than I. MS PATRY HOSKINS I don't think we'll be able to read that, but I'm sure you can tell us about the gist of it. Why did that article upset you?
A. I think the headline says it all: "Child crime fighters turn into criminals." Then it goes on to describe how when children are young, if they're bullied or abused, they may go on to commit violent crime. Then there's a photograph, a large photograph obviously this is a small one of Mary Vale(?) and a photograph of the daughter of my daughter's murderer, Barbara Glover.
Q. We can see that. I don't think anybody will be able to read that, but the photograph on the right-hand side is Barbara Glover, yes. Did it portray
A. Yes, apparently, Scottish Office had released some report about children who are violated when they're younger may go on to commit violent crime, and to make this case, the Mail on Sunday in Scotland decided to publish a large spread on child fighters turned into criminals.
Q. Did they portray Ms Glover as a victim?
A. Well, obviously, just looking at that at a glance you don't have to read the article. Just looking at it at a glance, you think that the reporter's referring to Barbara Glover as being a victim and most certainly does not. It doesn't even mention Barbara Glover.
Q. At the trial of Barbara Glover, was there any hint of a
A. No.
Q. Was there a hint of a suggestion that she had been such a victim?
A. No.
Q. I understand. Right, so as a result of that article, you were telling me you took you had further contact with the
A. Sorry?
Q. As a result of that article, you had further contact with the Press Complaints Commission?
A. Yes. I emailed them and I hoped they would take this one seriously, but clearly they did not.
Q. Can you just tell me in a nutshell what their response to you was?
A. Well, basically because I mean, I can't remember verbatim. I would need to
Q. You really don't have to remember verbatim. It's page 15 of the exhibit, so just after your witness statement and it's 31844.
A. Well, if I just say it in general.
Q. Is this a correct letter?
A. Yes. 3 November 2003.
Q. Yes.
A. What they were basically saying, although they found the Sunday Mail article misleading, the headlines misleading, they didn't really see any reason to take it further because in the context, they did put on the other side that Barbara Glover had the judge had said that Barbara Glover had not been bullied by Diane and Mr Sweet had written a letter. He was I think it was the deputy editor, I think, and he'd written a letter to the Press Complaints. I think that would say it all.
Q. I understand. So your complaint about the article was that the headline was completely misrepresentative
A. Grossly misleading, an insult.
Q. And it was misrepresentative of what the article actually said?
A. Yes.
Q. And it was insulting?
A. Yes.
Q. To you?
A. Well, our childrens' memory, yes.
Q. I understand, and the Press Complaints Commission essentially said we can see it from the text of the letter that well, it is misleading but the article itself doesn't suggest that she's a victim.
A. They accepted it was misleading. And I also found something else out. When I got this letter back, I sent another email, a follow-up email to the Press Complaints once they'd given me their judgment, and asking them why their complaint was not on a website because they seemed to have made this big thing of set up a website and all complaints are on it. I think you've got a copy of the response to that too, which clearly states that they don't.
Q. Yes.
A. So they either do one thing or they don't. They're misleading the public and they're misleading this Inquiry.
Q. I understand. Is it safe for me to say that you weren't entire satisfied with the way they dealt with that complaint either?
A. No.
Q. Let me ask you finally about the section of your statement headed "Our campaign for change". This is a section which describes the work that you have done since your children passed away. You've campaigned, you explain to us, for change in relation to a number of issues which are of importance for both families of crime victims which have been subject to press wrongdoing, and the public at large. One of the things you tell us that you've done is you've been involved in various support groups, including families of murdered children and justice for victims, and
A. We actually set up the families of murdered children one.
Q. You set that one up?
A. Yes.
Q. And you've, in fact, had success to this extent, that there are now provisions in the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 which allow the courts to make exploitation proceeds orders in respect of offenders and so on.
A. Yes.
Q. That's the first thing. But the second issue, and more importantly for you, you say, is the issue of defamation of the deceased. Would you like to say a few words about your campaign in respect of that?
A. Well, we're pleased to say that the Scottish government, after a lot of years of campaigning, did publish a consultation paper on defamation of the deceased it's called "Death of a Good Name Defamation and the Deceased" which closed in April 9 this year. Obviously, we're still waiting for the results of that, and hopefully they'll get a stronger power. So we need protection. Just because a person's died, their reputation shouldn't die with them. They shouldn't be besmirched at the will of some sick journalists because that's what they are, sick.
Q. I understand.
A. They unjustly attack the memory of the deceased, because you've got to remember, that memory's all the living have of them. So please don't besmirch the innocent to make a case for offenders. That's not right and it's not just.
Q. I understand.
A. So we're hoping to get the results this year, but we don't know.
Q. In a moment, I'm going to ask your husband to read out a short statement that he's prepared about but before I do, would you like to add anything?
A. I would like to see the English Parliamentarians getting some backbone and publishing a consultation paper here in England for victims of crime on defamation of homicide victims.
Q. Is there anything else that you'd like to add?
A. No, just to thank everyone for being so kind and listening to us.
Q. Not at all. Thank you. Mr Watson, I think you have a short MR WATSON Just a short one. It says: "Given the Inquiry looking into the media and the ethics and complaint procedure of the Press Complaints Commission, we strongly feel the PCC is paid for by the newspapers who published false, grossly misleading articles about the events leading up to our dear murdered daughter Diane, which added to our family's unbearable pain and anguish. Sadly, the malicious falsehoods published as fact were too much for our son, Alan, who died with these articles in his hand. We feel that the PCC should be replaced by a completely independent body or tribunal who will go over the complaints evidence in person."
A. That's what I meant to say, if I may say that.
Q. Of course?
A. If you're going to set up an independent regulatory body or tribunal, please allow the victims of the media to go and give their evidence in person to that tribunal, where they can look it over. It would be nice if the actual offending journalist was there when these hearings took place and they can ask each other questions and sort it out and hopefully I'll know they try their best.
Q. Do either of you have anything that you wish to add? MR WATSON No. Thank you very much. MS PATRY HOSKINS Those are all my questions. I don't know if the judge has questions. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON No. Thank you very much. Your concerns and complaints range over a number of issues, some of which are not really for me, but the way in which complaints about accuracy are dealt with and the very difficult issue about headlines and what can be read into headlines, most certainly is. I'm very grateful to you for coming down from Scotland and taking the time. Thank you. MR WATSON Thank you, sir. MRS WATSON Thank you. MS PATRY HOSKINS Sir, it's 12.30. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes. MS PATRY HOSKINS The next witness is Mr Coogan, as I understand it, but he was scheduled in for this afternoon. Discussion LORD JUSTICE LEVESON That's fine, because we have to deal with the issues that Mr Sherborne wants to raise. We can deal with that now. Right. I'm sure you've been told, Mr Caplan, that in your absence, Mr Garnham raised a concern about the way in which the rebuttal to Mr Grant's evidence was printed by one of the titles for whom you appear. The phrase that he pointed to was "mendacious smears driven by a hatred of the media". What I'm going to do, before I ask Mr Sherborne, who wants to raise some other points, is to ask Mr Garnham just to articulate so that you can hear him, his concerns about that phrase. MR GARNHAM Sir, as I sought to explain this morning, our concerns are that when a witness comes to give evidence to your Inquiry, whoever it is, and in particular when they give opinion evidence at the invitation of counsel to the Inquiry, they should be able to do so without fear that by the following morning they will be confused by a national newspaper of lying. It seems to us, sir, that the judgment as to whether or not a witness is telling the truth is yours and yours alone, and there is a real danger in the sort of level of press commentary that we've seen this morning having a deleterious effect on the work of your Inquiry because, to put it frankly, witnesses will be very cautious, we fear, about coming and giving opinion evidence, or that matter, factual evidence, if the likelihood is that they will face that sort of onslaught in the press the following morning. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Thank you. Mr Sherborne, you want to elaborate that and raise some other issues, so do that now. MR SHERBORNE Sir, I do indeed. There are two matters I wanted to raise. Can I deal with the first, which relates to the evidence given by Mr and Mrs Dowler. You will be aware that following this evidence, Mr Mulcaire has made a public statement saying that it was not him who deleted Milly's voicemails. Obviously if and I say "if" he didn't, then the finger points firmly at the newspaper's journalists themselves. Obviously, sir, that is a matter that you will want to deal with at least in part 2, if not perhaps in general terms in part. Can I then turn to my second point, and that is to refer to the coverage in Associated Newspapers of yesterday's evidence given by Mr Grant, which, as I forewarned in my speech of last week, has been to attack a witness giving evidence not in this room, but outside, through the pages of their own newspaper and in the editorial this morning. Sir, you will recall that when Mr Caplan spoke yesterday morning before the evidence started, he said that if there were statements that had been made about the behaviour of Associated journalists, they would seek to file evidence, statements to balance this, and correct anything they perceived as being wrong, and no one demurred. Of course, Associated Newspapers has had Mr Grant's statement for a number of days. Unfortunately and it is a matter of regret none of the public saw it until yesterday evening because it was not up on the system. But certainly Associated Newspapers had it for several, so they were well aware that Mr Grant believed that there was a very strong inference and I use the word "inference", not "speculation" that the source for the freelancer who wrote that sorry in the Mail on Sunday in 2007 must have listened to his voicemails because how else would he have got this information. As I said, you heard Mr Caplan say yesterday morning that they might put in statements in response. You might have been forgiven for thinking, as I did, that this meant statements of evidence to be put before the Inquiry as opposed to a press statement, but be that as it may, what was filed, so to speak, in the pages of the Daily Mail website and the Daily Mail itself was not a denial but a personal attack on Mr Grant as a witness, in which they referred to his inference not as mistaken, not even wrong, but as "a mendacious smear from a man driven by hatred of the media". Whilst Associated Newspapers' statement was clearly an attempt, however feeble, to strike out as hard as possible, it is, of course, no substitute for evidence. Mr Grant went on oath yesterday to explain what happened to him and what he believes to be the case LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Mr Sherborne, let me cut across you a little bit. As regards evidence, you don't need to be too concerned about that because although I haven't read the newspapers today. I was already of the mind that it may be appropriate for me to require evidence on this issue because of the way in which matters emerged. So you don't need to develop an argument about that at this stage, although I'll hear what Mr Caplan has to say. That's one side of it. The other side of it: of course Associated are entitled to deny that which Mr Grant says. That must be entirely fair and appropriate. MR SHERBORNE Of course, but what they didn't do was simply deny it. What they suggested with as that he was deliberately lying. "Mendacious" appears to be a favourite word on the Daily Mail website, if you search it. Sir, if you need a picture of how the tabloid press works, this top of the table tabloid, one only needs to look LORD JUSTICE LEVESON No, Mr Sherborne, let's not make a speech about it. I understand the concern that you're raising and I'm equally conscious of the balance between, on the one hand, legitimate reporting of the proceedings and comment upon them, and going beyond the line that I identified at the very beginning of this hearing, where it might have an impact on the witnesses. MR SHERBORNE Sir, this was not comment. This was, as us libel lawyers refer to it, an allegation of fact. This was a press statement put out by the Daily Mail stating in terms that these were "mendacious smears". It was not comment. And as if to reinforce this point, we have this morning in the editorial from the Daily Mail, a repeat of these allegations and they are headed with the words: "Mr Grant: the facts." This is not a comment, sir, with the greatest respect. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON You'd better let me see it. MR SHERBORNE The press statement went out yesterday afternoon and was repeated in the newspaper, and that is the comment in the editorial. As I say, it is headlined with the words "the facts". LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes. MR SHERBORNE Sir, it's not just that they stepped beyond the bounds of comment but it's the intimidating nature of what has been published. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I understand that, but the editorial to which you've referred doesn't repeat the word "mendacious". It asserts that he's a man consumed by hatred for the media, but then it asserts that they don't hack phones MR SHERBORNE "Do not", using the present tense, rather than "did not". LORD JUSTICE LEVESON "Do not", yes, and they did not receive information about the recent birth of the child from a hospital source. MR SHERBORNE This is a repetition of what was in their press statement yesterday, in which the words "mendacious smears" were in, as well as "driven by hatred of the media". LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes. MR SHERBORNE As I say, and I repeat, this is not a comment on Mr Grant's evidence. These are allegations of fact which go beyond merely saying, as Mr Caplan said that his clients might, that the inference that was drawn by Mr Grant was wrong or mistaken. It was said to be a lie, and I don't need to point out that in the context of somebody giving evidence to this Inquiry, that is an allegation of the most serious kind. It is the intimidatory nature of it which, in my submission, is something, sir, that this Inquiry needs to take very seriously. As I said in my submissions last week, this was foreshadowed by the Daily Mail, and Ms Platell in particular, in her article on 20 September when she described the Leveson Inquiry and the line-up of witnesses in the way that I read out last week, including reference to "S&M spanker Max Mosley, prostitute procurer Hugh Grant, gold-digger Sheryl Gascoigne" and so on, and followed that with: "Gerry and Kate McCann are also expected to appear What sleazy, degrading company for those who truly suffered." If one needs a reminder, given that it is said that Mr Grant and everyone heard his evidence yesterday hates all the media, which is said to be his motivation if one needs a gentle steer as to who hates who here, Mr Jay did not read out Ms Platell's article that was written about Mr Grant after the birth of his daughter, but can I simply refer to a very few passages to give you a flavour of what was said. Ms Platell said this: "Once a loved actor, the truth is that Grant has become a lonely, bitter man, consumed with hatred of the media Sounds something like a party line. consumed with hatred of the media who helped make him a star. One can only imagine how scarred his abandoned daughter is going to feel. It remains to be seen if the self-obsessed Mr Grant will be able to give any long-term commitment. Pity his poor daughter. In truth, this great moral crusader is just another hypocritical celebrity who enjoys the money and fame that media exposure gives him but refuses to accept the accompanying responsibilities. This week's news that he secretly fathered a child certainly puts into telling perspective his efforts to silence the press by demanding privacy laws." Mr Caplan made his little speech yesterday morning. I made a rather bigger one last Wednesday. This is not, as you say, a time for speeches. This is the time for evidence. Mr Grant has given his. If Associated Newspapers wants to put evidence in on oath, then they should do so. It's important to say, of course, as was said very publicly yesterday by Ms Khan herself, that she, the first time she ever knew about this story was when it appeared in the Daily Mail, contrary to what was said yesterday by Associated Newspapers that somehow it was a source that had spoken to her that had provided it. If and when Associated Newspapers do file their evidence, perhaps they can deal with why there is a specific reference to what this supposed LA executive's voice sounded like, and how anyone knew that this woman had a "plummy voice". Maybe that's just me speculating. But what is also important to remember is that Associated Newspapers were forced to apologise and pay damages to Mr Grant, damages which were given to a cancer charity, following the publication of the article, an article which they did not defend at all. And if I can leave the last word LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Which article? MR SHERBORNE The article in 2007. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Oh, yes. MR SHERBORNE And if I can leave the last word to Mr Grant, who after that victory made a public statement, he said this: "I took this action because I was tired of the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday newspapers publishing almost entirely fictional articles about my private life for their own financial gain and also hoping [he said] that this statement in court might remind people that the so-called close friends or close sources [once again, this is what Associated referred to yesterday] on which these stories claim to be based almost never exist." I didn't hear Associated Newspapers complain that this criticism of the so-called sources was a mendacious smear at the time of the statement in open court in 2007, but maybe now they might want to complain to the PCC, sir. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Right. Mr Caplan? MR CAPLAN May I begin by saying that I agree with Mr Sherborne that this is not the time for speeches, although he seems to have made another one. Can I be constructive, please, and just say one or two things about yesterday and what happened? First of all, sir, you will have seen, I'm sure, the coverage that followed Mr Grant's evidence yesterday afternoon, and by that I mean the coverage last night and the coverage in the national newspapers in the afternoon, last night and in the national newspapers this morning, and it in effect was to this order: it was that the Mail on Sunday has been implicated in the phone hacking scandal. We should not underestimate that the coverage from these proceedings goes worldwide. There was a tremendous amount of enquiries to Associated Newspapers about their position in relation to being implicated, and there was pressure on them from the Press Association and others to comment. Mr Grant is entitled to comment as he wishes, but we sought to make the point that that comment was based on the flimsiest of material and his allegations that the journalists of Associated Newspapers had been involved in phone hacking was utterly refuted. Sir, that allegation is extremely serious. It is an allegation of criminal conduct. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON As is the allegation, it would appear, that has been made against Mr Grant. MR CAPLAN Well, I do you mean in relation to the LORD JUSTICE LEVESON His evidence yesterday. MR CAPLAN That was a response to the fact that he was commenting freely when there was not a substratum of evidence to support that comment. The issue, I think, here is about the limits of the rights to reply and comment. I think that's where we are. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes, absolutely, and as I made clear, I have absolutely no difficulty at all with the press reporting and dealing with allegations that are made against them. That's entirely fair. MR CAPLAN Can I then just come it is an issue I foreshadowed, I think, yesterday morning to the position in which we were yesterday afternoon. A very serious criminal allegation had been made about Associated Newspapers and its staff. Under the Inquiry procedure, there was no right for me to put questions directly to Mr Grant on behalf of Associated Newspapers to cross-examine him, I obviously put those questions through Mr Jay, Inquiry counsel, and there was no right for me to make any contemporaneous reply at the conclusion of his evidence to rebut or to deny the allegation that had been made. Sir, could I suggest two possible solutions? The first is this, that when Mr Jay puts questions to a witness, it would be perhaps clear to everybody if, in putting a denial or a refutation to a witness about an allegation that he makes, if he says that this is denied by a particular core participant and he's putting these questions on their behalf. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes, I think that's a good idea. I agree with that. MR CAPLAN Because yesterday, I'm not sure people were clear, and I mean members of the press as well, that Associated Newspapers was expressly denying in these proceedings the allegation that had been made. Secondly, sir, the other possibility, if I may say so, and you referred yesterday to a right of reply, or I might have been, you suggested, referring to a possible right of reply, is that if a serious allegation is made by a witness, it might be possible for a core participant at the end of that evidence simply to say to the Inquiry that that allegation is refuted and a very brief word or two responding to it. Sir, that again would be a mechanism for dealing with serious allegations as they are made in these televised proceedings. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON All right. But actually it goes on a bit from that, doesn't it, because, Mr Caplan, if all Associated had said was, "This is what Grant said, this was the basis upon which he said it, this is our case, this is our view, A, B, C, D, facts, therefore we reject it", then that's absolutely, seems to me, subject to hearing anybody else, that's fine, because that's reporting and that's reporting on the day's proceedings and dealing with what I understand is the legitimate interests and the reputation interests of your clients. But the real issue is the extent to which it's appropriate to go from the defensive onto the offensive in that way. I hope that you will feel it appropriate, and if not, I might ask you for the names so that I feel it appropriate, to serve some evidence, not because, not because at the end of the day I'm going to have to make a decision about whether your clients did unlawfully obtain information from Mr Grant, because that, if it's ever going to happen, will be later, and I'm not going to do it because, if I'm going to do it for one, then I have to do it for all, and the situation becomes utterly untenable, but I do recognise that if it becomes graphic, as it did yesterday, then the reputation and interests of the relevant core participant do require it to be able, equally graphically, to be able to answer it. MR CAPLAN Yes. So could I grapple with that? As you know, any allegation of phone tapping is absolutely refuted on behalf of my clients and the journalists. I cannot be clearer than that. And if this kind of serious allegation is being made in these proceedings, I do ask for an effective mechanism for a right of reply, if possible, within this Inquiry. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Well MR CAPLAN And I'm happy to certainly suggest I have suggested two, but I do respectfully suggest it's something that's LORD JUSTICE LEVESON In relation to the first, I have no I'll hear Mr Jay, but I have no difficulty about that. In relation to the second, I'm not sure about. But what do you say about my possible requirement that the relevant journalists make statements and come give evidence? MR CAPLAN Yes, I'm very happy to do that. This is in relation to the allegations Mr Grant made? LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes. MR CAPLAN I'm very happy to do that. I think we already said, I'm being reminded, that that's something that we would do. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes. MR CAPLAN The trouble is, by the time that happens, it may well be January LORD JUSTICE LEVESON It may not, actually. MR CAPLAN and the allegations may have gone around the world (overspeaking) phone hacking. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON No, no, it may not, because if you get them in you know, I'm a master of the procedure in this Inquiry and I can move people around, subject to their convenience, rather like chess pieces, and I am perfectly happy to do that, recognising the point that is made. But I do want you to make a comment, please, or to deal with the underlying allegation or concern expressed by Mr Garnham and Mr Sherborne that the comment went rather further than was appropriate, given the circumstances. MR CAPLAN Can I say here I hear everything that you've said. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Right. All right. Mr Sherborne, you're very keen to add something? MR SHERBORNE I am, sir, because it gives no reassurance to those of my clients who are coming to give evidence to hear Mr Caplan's plea in mitigation which nowhere deals with the fact that those words "mendacious smears" were used. "Mendacious" means lies, and for Mr Caplan's benefit and for the benefit of the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday, when there is a real distinction between someone who makes a statement which he or she knows to be untrue, and, to quote Mr Caplan's words, someone who says something that doesn't have a "sufficient substratum of truth" to make it. I shouldn't need to point that out. And I shouldn't need to point out, sir, that there is another critical distinction between a right of reply and a right of attack, and that is what has happened here, and if those who have been brave enough to come and give evidence to this Inquiry about what they suffered at the hands of the press hear that kind of plea in mitigation, then as Mr Garnham himself warned, we may well face people who are unwilling to be that brave any longer. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I understand the point entirely, and given the way in which Mr Caplan has just dealt with the proposition that I put to him in that regard, I expect there to be some conversation over the next hour as to how we're going to cope with it. I'm not taking it other than extremely seriously. I am very concerned to reflect and recognise the concern that has been expressed by those who have come and given evidence, and I think I've said it to every witness or almost every witness, and I will continue to do so. So I'm alert to the position. I think it would probably be sensible if some thought be given, and I'll ask the Inquiry team also to do so, as to how we're going to cope. There are two specific problems. There's first of all the issue in relation to Mr Grant, and secondly is the issue for the future. I have the point firmly in mind. MR SHERBORNE Sir, I'm very grateful. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Right. Mr Jay, is there anything that you want to say at this stage about this? MR JAY Sir, I would respectfully endorse Mr Garnham's concern, which was expressed with his usual moderation, that language such as "mendacious smears", should, if at all possible, be avoided. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON It's not merely possible; it's, I would have thought, necessary. MR JAY I'm putting the point with excessive moderation. What I really mean is exactly what you've said. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes, well, there's time for moderation, Mr Jay, and indeed Mr Caplan has got the point, which is why I didn't seek to go further. MR JAY Yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON But, therefore, we need to know how we're going to cope with that and we're going to need to know how we're going to cope in the future for those witnesses who are to come. MR JAY Yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I think it's possibly sensible that there can be a discussion other than in the full glare of televised reporting, but we shall return to the topic at 2 o'clock. MR JAY Yes. May I just deal with the two practical solutions which Mr Caplan came up with? LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes. MR JAY We took the view that if a line of questioning was put to us by a core participant, unless they agreed, we would not attribute that line expressly to the core participant, because after all, during the course of this Inquiry, we may be receiving lines of a confidential nature where the core participant might not want it to be known who the ultimate source is. However, if a core participant does not mind that we make it clear who the source is, then of course we will make it clear, and that may apply in relation to witnesses we're hearing in the very near future, but I will obtain confirmation of that. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes, but in relation to the questions that you asked Mr Grant, it was, I am sure, obvious to all that you were dealing with a particular article which could only the information for which could only have come from the Daily Mail. MR JAY Yes. Not merely is that right, but the lines of questioning were put to Mr Grant through his legal team in advance, in general terms, and it must have been entirely obvious LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Well, I'm sure. MR JAY It did not require any powers of inference or deduction. Indeed, that was clear when Mr Grant gave his evidence. As for an immediate right of reply, in my submission, I doubt whether that's going to work. What would be preferable is that evidence in rebuttal be obtained as soon as possible and we hear it as soon as possible. As you've indicated, the chess pieces can be moved around quite quickly to accommodate urgent evidence in the interests of justice, and we will do our best to achieve that. But if there's going to be a series of speeches at various moments of this Inquiry, the system, in my submission, is not going to work and the temperature is simply going to rise further. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes. I don't know how often this is going to arise. I think this might be one of a very, very limited number of examples. But what do you say to the proposition that, having put the questions that emanate from the relevant core participant, which he'll deal with, or he or she will deal with, as they feel appropriate MR JAY Yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON where you have been told in terms that that allegation is denied, you can put the final follow-up question: for the avoidance of all doubt, you understand that that allegation is denied entirely. MR JAY Yes. I have absolutely no difficulty in doing that. To be absolutely clear, when a question is put of any witness, there is not a viewpoint in the question which is behind the question. It is merely testing a proposition. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes. MR JAY And that is what happened yesterday. Insofar as I have opinions, I keep them private and I did not intend, and I hope it did not appear as such, to express any opinion yesterday. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes, I got concerned, as you will remember, during the course of the afternoon that Mr Grant might not have been understanding why some of the questions you were asking, you were asking, which is why I raised the concern again this morning. MR JAY Yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON It may be that he did, and there it is. All right. I've got the point. I want to know how we are going to solve the position in relation to the concern which Mr Garnham raised, and Mr Sherborne has developed, and which Mr Caplan has recognised, so that we retrieve the balance that I think is absolutely critical for the consideration of these witnesses' evidence. MR JAY Yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON And then also consider the way forward. MR JAY Thank you. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON We will resume at 2 o'clock with that, I think, solution first, if Mr Coogan doesn't mind waiting a little bit longer. Thank you. (1.05 pm)


Gave a statement at the hearing on 22 November 2011 (AM) ; and submitted 2 pieces of evidence
Gave a statement at the hearing on 22 November 2011 (AM) ; and submitted 1 pieces of evidence
Gave a statement at the hearing on 22 November 2011 (AM) ; and submitted 1 pieces of evidence
Gave a statement at the hearing on 22 November 2011 (AM) ; and submitted 2 pieces of evidence


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