Afternoon Hearing on 28 November 2011

Charlotte Church and Anne Diamond gave statements at this hearing

Hearing Transcript

(1.45 pm) LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes, Mr Jay. MR JAY The outstanding issues we left open at lunch the position is that the Section 19 order that you made has been put on the website. It is therefore formally promulgated. In our view, it covers any further publication because publication is continuous on anybody's blog or website. That has been pointed out to Guido Fawkes, so I can be explicit about it, and he should take the appropriate immediate steps to rectify the matter. So there's that. Whether or not Mr Campbell's witness statement should not be published, I can see arguments both ways but maybe Mr Caplan should say what he wishes to say and if necessary I will revert. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes. Thank you. Mr Caplan, it might be best to wait and see what happens during the course of the afternoon, might it not? I haven't yet directed that it should go on the website, and it isn't there, so this might be a case of wait and see. MR CAPLAN Yes. Sir, perhaps we can return to it then at the end of the day. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I think we'll probably find out if it comes off. MR CAPLAN Thank you. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Right. MS PATRY HOSKINS Sir, the first witness this afternoon is Ms Charlotte Church. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Very good. Thank you. MS CHARLOTTE MARIA CHURCH (sworn) LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Please sit down and make yourself as comfortable as you can in the context of this rather unusual environment.
A. Okay. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON First of all, relax.
A. Okay. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I don't pretend it's necessarily easy, but I'm very grateful to you for volunteering to do this. You've probably heard me say to others that I think it's very important that we hear everybody's perception of what's going on. I know it's difficult because you're talking about things that, by definition, you don't want broadcast around the world, or even anywhere, so I'm grateful to you for coming to do it. Thank you very much.
A. My pleasure. MS PATRY HOSKINS Could you state your full name?
A. Charlotte Maria Church. MS PATRY HOSKINS You have provided a witness statement to the Inquiry. Could you confirm that the contents of it are true to the best of your knowledge and belief?
A. Yes, again. MS PATRY HOSKINS If you just wait there, I understand that Mr Sherborne, your barrister, wishes to ask you a few questions. Questions from MR SHERBORNE MR SHERBORNE Thank you. I think I'm part of the unusual agreement. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I'll agree with that, Mr Sherborne. MR SHERBORNE The chairman described it as an unusual environment. Can I ask you: have you ever given evidence before?
A. No, never.
Q.So I think the next question that must follow from that is: why have you agreed to come and give evidence to the Inquiry?
A. I've agreed to be here today basically because I think that the things that I went through when I was younger were when I was quite young, I was a minor it was from when I was 12 years old and therefore I kind of wanted to show through my experiences how I think it's imperative that children are protected. Also, after becoming a mother myself of two young children, I really want to be able to protect my children in the future as much as possible and their privacy is their right. And also just in terms of my family, who have had to deal with this for years and years, and who are very happy for me to be speaking here at this Inquiry today.
Q.Thank you. We've heard from a number of witnesses who have already given evidence about various particularly intrusive practices, such as being doorstepped, stalked or followed wherever they go. Are these practices which are familiar in your experience?
A. Absolutely. All of them.
Q.I know you're going to be asked some specific questions about that in due course by Ms Patry Hoskins so I'm not going to ask you now, but in general terms, can you just explain what the impact that has on you and your family?
A. Well, obviously a massive impact. It infiltrates your everyday life to the point where, even nowadays, when I'm not doing too much, they'll follow we quite regularly wherever I go, whether it be shopping, taking my children to nursery, even though I expressly asked them not to take photographs when I'm with my children at nursery because therefore I don't want the nursery I don't want people to know where it is, et cetera. But I mean, it's just everywhere. I think there is kind of a shadow network where everybody is infiltrated, in terms of hotel concierge, restaurants who will tip off journalists or paparazzi, the airlines, everywhere I haven't been on a holiday since I was 16 where I haven't been found and photographed, and much of that, I believe, was bought information because I can't if I haven't even been followed to the airport, there have been no paparazzi at the airport, I can't really see how else it could have come about.
Q.Those holidays, do they include holidays with your children as well?
A. Yes.
Q.Finally, we've heard from a number of editors and newspaper representatives that the practices, the culture that we've been hearing about this week, belongs to a bygone era and that things are much better now. In your experience, is that correct?
A. No. MR SHERBORNE I'm sure you'll be asked a lot about it. I'll leave you with that. Thank you very much.
A. Thank you. Questions from MS PATRY HOSKINS MS PATRY HOSKINS Thank you very much. Can I just have one word with the technician. Can we have up, please, document 33122, which is the first page of Ms Church's witness statement. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON It's there. MS PATRY HOSKINS Oh, is it? I can't see, you see. Let's start with introductions. I'm sure that you need no introduction, but by way of summary, I'm going to read out parts of paragraph 3 of your statement.
A. Okay.
Q.You started your professional life as a singer when you were just 11 years old and you explain that through numerous TV and radio appearances you became an internationally recognised musical success, going from a typical school girl to a bankable commodity in less than a year.
A. Mm-hm.
Q.You were marketed by an aggressive record company campaign and you were branded "The voice of an angel" before you were even 12 years old, and you explain that little did you know as a 12-year-old that this description would be used and distorted repeatedly to mock you in catchy tabloid headlines. I'm going to cover a number of issues with you this afternoon, Ms Church. I'm going to deal with them in this order. First I'm going to ask you about press intrusion, then about false and fabricated stories and then I'm going to ask you about the action that you've taken against the press in the past.
A. Okay.
Q.Finally, I'll let you say whatever you want at the end if there's anything that you'd like to add. Let's start with press intrusion into your life, please. I want to start with the early days while you were still a child. You've explained you started life as a singer age 11. Did you have media scrutiny right from the start?
A. I wouldn't say it was right from the start. There was definitely a massive amount of interest right from the start, which was generally always positive because I didn't have any skeletons or anything when I was 12, et cetera, and they kind of treated me with kid gloves because I was so young. So it wasn't necessarily right from the start. There was a lot of press intrusion in terms of, you know, they were always at my school and things like that, taking photographs of me going to school, but at that time it didn't feel that intrusive, and it was all rather new and exciting and totally different to the life I had previously lived.
Q.Yes. When did that start to change then?
A. It started to change probably when I was around 14.
Q.What changes did you notice?
A. Just people were more willing to be negative. It just got a bit more intrusive, really. That's all I can kind of categorise it with, but also there was a lot of articles at that time which were not necessarily accurate and a little and, you know, just really negative in general.
Q.Can I ask you about one particular incident which took place when you were 13 years old. It's at paragraph 7 of your statement. I'll read you a couple of lines and if I could ask you then to just explain and elaborate a bit further. You say when you were 13, you were asked to perform at Rupert Murdoch's wedding in New York. When it came to the payment for your work, your management at the time informed you that either there would be a ?100,000 fee, which is, you say, the biggest fee you'd ever been offered, or, if the fee for your performance was waived, you would be looked upon favourably by Mr Murdoch's papers.
A. Yes.
Q.You explain that despite your own reluctance to agree to anything other than the ?100,000 fee, you were convinced into taking the latter option?
A. That's true.
Q.Can I just ask you about this, because News International have denied that this offer was ever made to you at this time. Can you tell the Inquiry as much as you remember about that particular incident?
A. Well, I remember being told that Rupert Murdoch had asked me to sing at his wedding to entertain and it would take place on his yacht in New York, and I remember being told that you know, the offer of money or the offer of the favour in order to basically get good press, to be looked upon favourably, as I said in the statement, and I also remember being 13 and thinking: "Why on earth would anybody take a favour or ?100,000?" and you know, me and my mother being quite resolute on this point, that the ?100,000 was definitely the best option, but being advised by management and by certain members of the record company to take the latter option, that he was a very, very powerful man, I was in the early stages of my career and could absolutely do with a favour of this magnitude. Basically, he flew us in on his private jet from LA to New York, which was amazing, and then we went on to his boat, which had a grand piano on it, which I was amazed by, and, yeah, I sang at the ceremony.
Q.Can I ask you this: News International say that the fact that you sang at his wedding was in fact a surprise to Rupert Murdoch. It was arranged secretly as a surprise for his wedding.
A. Mm-hm.
Q.And that therefore he could not possibly have known about this alleged deal, this favour. Is there anything you'd like to say about that?
A. Well, I had been told by my management that he had specifically asked for me to sing "Pie Jesu", and when I raised to my management the point that "Pie Jesu" was actually a requiem, which is a funeral song and does he really want a funeral song at his wedding, and there had been other the correspondence went back and forth and he said he didn't care whether it was a funeral song, he liked that song and he wanted me to sing it, which I did.
Q.So when you are told that he didn't know you were going to sing, that it was a surprise, is that something that accords with your recollection?
A. No. Not in the slightest.
Q.Okay. Can I ask you to turn now to paragraph 23 of your statement. We're still back sort of in the early days. You explain the intense scrutiny.
A.the beginning of paragraph 23 you say: "I went through my teens, the tabloids increased their interest in me, and whether it was smoking, going out, putting on weight, their scrutiny was intense." Then you tell us about a distasteful feature on the Sun website featuring a countdown clock. Can you tell us about that in your own words, please?
A. Okay, when maybe you think about this, I'd kind of like to remove myself from the situation and maybe for people in this room to think about whether it be their children or their grandchildren and just that you know, I was 16 and, you know, after seeing this and after my whole family seeing this, just being totally appalled. You know, I was really, really severely uncomfortable with any kind of innuendo like that, you know, let alone from kind of people my own age possibly, but never mind kind of journalists or newspapers as a whole.
Q.Can I just go back, just for those of us who don't have the statement necessarily
A. Sorry.
Q. as to what the feature was about?
A. So basically it was on the Sun's website and it was a countdown clock, which I can't remember exactly how long it ran for but it ran for, I think, maybe more than a month, a countdown clock to my 16th birthday, basically with it the innuendo of the age of my passing of consent, where basically I could have sex and it was kind of a countdown until that date, which was a little bizarre.
Q.Do you remember seeing it at the time?
A. I do, I do.
Q.How did it make you feel?
A. Just horrible. You know, I was a 16-year-old girl and I was just really uncomfortable with it in general.
Q.I'm going to move on to a period when you were aged between 16 and 20, if I can. Paragraph 24, just the next paragraph from where we were, you say this: "From the ages of 16 to 20, I had to endure the worst excesses of the press." You then set out a number of ways in which the media intruded on your life.
A.times, you had photographers stationed 24/7 by your door: "On one occasion, my manager found that a reporter had cut holes in a shrub on my property and installed a secret camera near to the entrance to my home so as to track and document my movements."
A. Yes.
Q.How did you find out about that?
A. Basically my manager just came to me and said that he'd found a camera or evidence of a camera, and basically that there was a something cut out of the hedge, a little circle cut out of the hedge, and there was really no other person in the world who would kind of do that other than the press. And you know, they'd often in previous properties, they'd cut holes in other people's property, in, you know, kind of the shrubbery or the hedges, in order to be able to get the right actual of my house that they wanted. So it had happened before, but not quite so dramatically.
Q.Did you ever find out who was responsible for that?
A. No.
Q.You go on to say: "I've been repeatedly chased in my car and had photographers force open doors to try and photograph me. When attending public events, I had to suffer the indignity of paparazzi trying to take photographs up my skirt and down my top. Photographs of my homes were printed so that the security of my family was compromised." I'll come on to the rest of the paragraph in a moment. You explained to Mr Sherborne earlier how this all made you feel, but can you tell us how regularly was this occurring during this period? Was it every time you went out? Was it occasionally?
A. It's difficult to say because at different times there were different levels of interest. If there has been a story that has just come out, then there's a massive level of interest. Obviously I live in Cardiff, I don't live in London, so a lot of photographers would have to travel, although there are a lot of freelance photographers in Cardiff as well. So I mean generally generally, from 16 to 18, there was at least one photographer there most days, and by "most days", maybe five out of seven days in a week. If there was a story that had just broken or anything like that, then they would literally be there all the time and there would be a lot of them. Maybe, you know, six to eight, possibly. Yeah, so it was it was really, really intense. And then of course, when you get to a situation where if you're out in public and they're trying to take photos you know, those are really indecent photos that they're trying to get because, you know, at the time it was all the rage to take these photos and expose these celebrities for whatever it might be their cellulite, I'm not really sure but it was once again just a really unpleasant experience, yeah, and something I hope I don't really have to go through again.
Q.Can I ask you about paragraph 256 your statement. We're still in the period between the age of 16 and 20. You explain that when you became pregnant with your first child, the Sun printed an article, which is headlined "Church sober shock", headed as an exclusive. The article reported that you were not drinking or smoking and had put on a bit of weight and that this had caused rumours that you were pregnant.
A. Yes.
Q.You recall that. You say: "A.the time of the article, I was in my first trimester, the most sensitive time in a pregnancy and even my parents didn't know I was pregnant." Then you say this in brackets: "The source, never cited, was probably a hacked voicemail message from my doctor or via other surveillance." The question I've been asked to put to you is do you have any evidence that that information was obtained because your phone was hacked?
A. I don't have any particular evidence of that. I have evidence that my phone was hacked, obviously, as a lot of other people giving evidence to this Inquiry do, but I didn't tell anybody. I hadn't told anybody apart from when I'd gone to have my initial scan, so I just I just can't see that it came from any other area.
Q.That's what I was going to ask you. Who knew? You say your parents didn't even know you were pregnant. You knew?
A. Yes.
Q.Your doctor knew?
A. My partner knew.
Q.And that's it?
A. Yes.
Q.Do you have any evidence that you may have been subject to surveillance, that the information might have been obtained by surveillance?
A. Once again, no evidence, just just, you know, probable actions of what were the kind of things that I knew they would they were up to at the time.
Q.You explain that you explained to the PCC about this article. I'll come back to your experiences with the PCC later on, but you tell us that your complaint was upheld but that given the article had been published, that was no good to you?
A. Absolutely. My family
Q.Tell about me bit about that?
A. My family were really upset that, you know, I hadn't told them first and it had come out in this way and the one thing I do say in my statement I mean, surely it's any woman's right to tell her family or her loved ones, when she feels the time is appropriate, that she's pregnant and it was my news to tell and that opportunity was taken away from me, and luckily, I went on to give birth to a healthy child, but if I would have had any complications, then once again, it would have been something that you know, it should have been left to me to have been able to tell people, et cetera. So yeah, the PCC complaint was upheld, but what does that mean? There was a small retraction and I just I just didn't think that it could deter any other paper from doing the same in the future.
Q.Can I ask you about the small correction that appeared. Can you remember anything about that correction or apology that appeared?
A. No.
Q.Its prominence or
A. No, I can't remember anything about it.
Q.Just for the sake of completeness, I'd like us to look together, please, at what the Sun said about why they had published this article.
A. Okay.
Q.If you look in your exhibits for the sake of the technician it's document 33143 you should have it in the little exhibit cc1 after your statement. It should say 33143 at the bottom, or page 8 as well it says. Do you have it?
A. Yes.
Q.Fantastic. We can see from the top of the page that you're the complainant and the publication you're complaining about is the Sun. You explain that you complained to the Press Complaints Commission about this article, "Baby rumours for sober Church". We can see from the third paragraph down, the one that starts "Mr Milton said" do you see that?
A. Mm-hm.
Q. that the newspaper had told your PR agent that it had received firm information that you were pregnant. The newspaper was told in response that such information was private and would not be commented on and that they in fact told the newspaper that you were not more than 12 weeks pregnant and that no statement would be made until after the 12-week scan, and in spite of this, the newspaper published an article referring to rumours about a pregnancy."
A. Mm.
Q.Does that confirm your recollection of events?
A. Yes, pretty much.
Q.Thank you very much. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON The newspaper's response was that it had merely reported speculation to that effect. MS PATRY HOSKINS Yes, that's absolutely right. For the sake of completeness, if we look at what the Commission says other the page: "The Commission has recently made clear that newspapers should not reveal the fact of someone's pregnancy before the 12 week scan without consent and when the information is not known to any significant degree. The newspaper's defence in this case was that it had merely reported rumours that the complaint was pregnant because of a change in her behaviour, but the newspaper had provided no evidence of any rumours and had not denied that it had known for a fact that she was pregnant when it published the piece. In these circumstances, it seemed to the Commission that the newspaper had simply tried to circumvent the privacy provisions of the code by representing the story as speculation. This was not acceptable within the spirit of the code. The complaint was unheld." So we'll see, sir, that the PCC took a view as to what the newspaper was in fact saying. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes. MS PATRY HOSKINS Still on the subject of press intrusion, please, Ms Church, I'd like to come back to press intrusion which you considered put your life at risk. In that respect, let's look back at paragraph 24, which I said I'd come back to. The second half of paragraph 24. This is the incident where photographs of your house were printed and also, on one occasion, a threat to kidnap you was published in the News of the World. Can you just tell us a bit about that?
A. A lot of this a lot of this information kind of about any kind of kidnap stuff or really, really obsessive fans was kind of kept from me in order to try and protect me and my sanity, but the News of the World deemed it acceptable to publish that there was a kidnap plot and when I became aware of this story, asked the publication not to print in any terms where I lived. It was quite well-known that I lived in Cardiff but, you know, due to the recent threats, not to publish where I lived, but they did, and I can't remember exactly what it said, but it was basically: "She lives in Pontcanna, round the corner from her parents' hotel", or words to that effect. It was really quite exact. MS PATRY HOSKINS Sir, those documents are in exhibit cc2 but they will not be published on the website for obvious reasons. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON No. MS PATRY HOSKINS If you wanted to see the exact words used, you can see them there. Thank you very much. Can I ask you now, still on press intrusion, about the impact on others, and in this respect I'd like us to look at paragraphs 26 onwards of this statement. You preface these paragraphs by saying this: "Whilst the coverage about me could be hurtful, it has been the coverage about my parents that has been particularly painful to deal with. The events I am about to describe include: blackmail, bribery, phone interception, innuendo and most importantly, the invasion of the privacy of private, non-public people. To my mind, it reveals the tabloids at their very worst." Then you refer to an article dated 11 December 2005 in the News of the World which reported that your father was having an affair. Again, I'm not going to put those documents back in the public domain by publishing them on the website, but can you tell us a bit about that particular article?
A. Absolutely. On 11 December, as you said, the News of the World reported that my father was having an affair.
Q.Can I pause there. Had you received any prior notification that that article was going to be published?
A. Yes.
A. Yes. I'm not sure whether it was we were given knowledge of this article being published because to comment on it or just I'm not really sure how it came about, and I don't know if they were even asked for their comment, I'm just not sure. But yeah, it was 11 December and the News of the World reported my father was having an affair, which he was, and the article the front page headline was: "Church's three in a bed cocaine shock." With my picture beside it, which obviously, if you hadn't bought the publication and read the entire story, you could have made your own assumptions, which would have been entirely wrong.
Q.Ie that it was you?
A. Yes, and the first line of the article which after going back to a lot of the articles, actually, that I put into this bundle, I think maybe I've just kind of blanked out just quite how bad they were but I just want to read out the first line of the article, which was: "Superstar Charlotte Church's mum tried to kill herself because her husband is a love rat hooked on cocaine and three-in-a-bed orgies." You can imagine what followed it, in true News of the World style. It was basically just totally sensationalised, and whether partially or wholly true, I just really hated the fact that my parents, who had never been in this industry apart from in looking after me, were being exposed and vilified in this fashion. It was just had a massive, massive impact on my family life, on my mother's health, which the News of the World had reported on before then, on her mental health state and her hospital treatment, which we also think the only way they could have known about that hospital treatment, et cetera, was either through the hacking or possibly through the bribing of hospital staff, et cetera. So they knew how vulnerable she was and still printed this story, which was horrific. And I just I can't think of any justification for printing a story like that.
Q.That was going to be my question. Perhaps the answer to it is obvious, but can you see any public interest in publishing a story about the fact that your father, not you, had had an affair?
A. I see no interest no public interest at all that it serves, other than to sell papers.
Q.Okay. Can I unpick what you said after that about your mother's health? You say in your statement your mother's a vulnerable person. Shortly before the publication of this story, she'd actually been admitted to hospital after an attempted suicide. This was in part due to the fact, you say, that she was aware that this story was coming out?
A. Yes, at least in part. Just because, as I go on later to say, it's totally different you know, the way that a lot of newspapers explain this type of behaviour is that, you know well, the truth should out and the family have a right to know. Well, yes, possibly the family have a right to know, but you know, everybody else doesn't have a right to know and lots of couples have to deal with situations like this between themselves, as ordinary normal people do, but having to deal with it on this scale, with your in terms of my mother, with her mother and father, her elderly mother and father having to go through all of this, my nana having to go to church on a Sunday and listen to people's comments, et cetera, is just unacceptable.
Q.What was the impact of that whole story on you?
A. The story had a massive impact on me, obviously nowhere near as much as the impact on my mother, but it's totally unnatural for a daughter to know that about their parents, and yeah, it had a massive psychological effect on me, which you know, obviously we've all managed to come through it because there is you know, there's really no other option. It's not like you can go to the PCC and kind of have something there or get something back or you know, so you've just got to get on with it, really.
Q.Before we leave the topic of press intrusion, let me ask you about some of the common arguments that you hear rehearsed, what I call the whingeing celebrity arguments. First of all, can I start from this point do you accept that someone who is in the public eye, who is famous, will necessarily attract a certain level of media interest?
A. Yes, I totally accept that.
Q.It's been said and you agree, you accept this in your statement that you yourself have, on occasion, gone to speak to magazines such as Hello and OK and received a fee presumably for those interviews.
A. Mm-hm.
Q.Does that, in your view, the fact that you've done that, mean that you deserve a higher level of media interest?
A. Categorically no, but then also to expand upon that point is that I think I wrote some little bits of points down. Basically, there is no rule book for dealing with the tabloid press and I tried lots of different approaches of how to deal with it. Sometimes I've not given interviews, hidden myself away at home, even done my food shopping on the Internet so as not to go out and be photographed and be written about, and generally the way that that was counteracted was by that they made up stories and used old photographs. So with OK and Hello, I tried something different, to see whether that would work, because they were obviously insatiable for information and new photos, et cetera, but I think I think those particular articles need to be seen in context with what I was going through at the time. So basically, I was pregnant with my first child. I was having a home birth. Whilst I'm giving birth to my first child at my house, I'm well aware that there are six photographers outside my house who are waiting, waiting for those first pictures, and by signing an exclusive deal, I took the value of those paparazzi pictures away.
A.this point, I'd lived with the paparazzi for a while. I knew the tactics they used. I knew it wasn't always safe. I knew there were car chases, et cetera, involved, especially because there's a large number of them, therefore they're all fighting for which one gets its first and the best picture, and I didn't want to subject my tiny newborn children to that. There's also something to be said where they do take nice photos and they actually print what you say, which I haven't found in a lot of tabloid interviews and things that I've done, or whether they've been interviews or not, and basically my decision was based upon the fact that photographs of my children would have been taken anyway, with or without my consent, and this was the lesser of two evils. So basically it's kind of a no-win situation. I'd also like it to be noted that any money that I earned from those type of things I gave to charity.
Q.Another myth is that you need the press as much as they need you. In that respect, look at paragraph 6 of your statement, where you say this: "It's often argued that as someone in the public eye, I need the media and that intrusions into my private life and the negative coverage are and always have been a fair trade off for success, that I need the press just as much as they need me. However, I cannot see how this is actually the case." And you say as a singer, a newspaper in particular is a very bad medium for promoting my work. Why is it a very bad medium?
A. Well, when I was a young girl especially, basically it was kind of a commodity. It was that I was this really small girl with this big operatic voice and therefore you kind of needed to see it. You know, it was quite a visual and audio thing at the same time, which obviously a newspaper cannot give. So I think at the very start of my career, and generally as a singer or a musician, it's not that much of a great medium for your work. TV and radio are much more important.
A.a TV presenter, definitely you need the press more than as a musician. You know, they definitely do aid people and encourage people to watch your shows when they're on, et cetera, so
Q.I understand. You then say, same paragraph "I have interacted with the media on a number of occasions, as is required of any signed recording artist." Can I ask you a bit about that?
A. It's not even necessarily just a signed recording artist. If you have a new show on television, if you have a book or, you know, kind of whatever, generally it's you're signed to a company, whether it be a book company or TV company, and therefore you are contractually obliged to promote that product. So maybe a lot of the decisions that were made by the promotion staff, whether in the record company at the time or the TV company, wouldn't have been the publications I would have necessarily gone for but you have a contractual obligation.
Q.I understand. So in a nutshell, you've interacted with the press on a number of occasions because you were obliged to do so?
A. I was obliged to do so and also because I didn't really have any formal training from when I was 12, and generally whenever asked a question, just told the truth, and sometimes, you know, you get yourself into a conversation with a journalist and you just tell the truth and I kind of started to journalists started to know that you can ask her anything and she's going to let you know. She's not going to kind of hide or hopefully, I haven't been hypocritical ever. So I do think that that has that has, you know, throughout my throughout my life been something, that I may have been too honest in interviews and therefore they felt that they had more of a claim on me. But then also, because it was since I was 12 and everybody felt like they'd grown up with me, maybe they felt that they had some sort of ownership.
Q.I said I'd move on after press intrusion to phone hacking and other unlawful means. In that respect, look at paragraph 28 of your statement to remind yourself of what you said in that respect. You say it's been revealed to you that the police have substantial information demonstrating that your phone messages and those close to you were intercepted and monitored by Glenn Mulcaire, who you understand was contracted to News of the World. When did you first find out that your phone may have been hacked?
A. Crikey. I can't I can't remember. Earlier this year.
Q.How did you find out?
A. I'm sorry, I'm not doing very well on this point.
Q.Don't worry.
A. How did we find out? I think we were contacted by the police. Yeah, we were contacted by the police, who showed us all of the photocopied notes of Glenn Mulcaire's notebook, which in turn had passwords and PIN numbers and phone numbers of lots of people in my life, my mother and my father, me, their friends, my friends, old boyfriends' numbers. Yeah, it was quite substantial.
Q.I understand. You say the information you've seen relates to 2003, 2005 and 2006. You refer to the things that you've just had names, numbers, notes, addresses, PIN numbers and so on and you say that the earliest information revealed you were hacked when you were just 17.
A. Yes.
Q.How did you feel when you found out that you'd been the subject of phone hacking?
A. I mean, even though we, as a family, felt that the press had always used some dreadful tactics in order to get a story, it was still it was still quite bemusing, and especially that when I was younger, I remember having a big group of girlfriends and the more and more that was leaked that I just thought: "I don't understand how this is getting out", the more I kind of cut people out of my life simply as to reduce the amount of people that I spent time with, to hopefully not have quite so many leaks, and so then to find out that, you know, they were hacked and you'd accused these people you know, you're left with a feeling of guilt then, which I just you know, it wasn't my fault, but for accusing those people who are closest to you. When I first gave birth to my daughter, Ruby, I wanted to keep it secret for about a week just so I could have some time with my newborn baby, and it was in the papers within about two days. You know, her time of birth, her place of birth, her name, and I remember saying to my mum, you know: "It must be you, it must be one of our family", and her being really upset and in turn going to all of our family and having big arguments, et cetera, when in fact that could have entirely been down to hacking as well. So, yeah, it's been a little bit confusing at that time times.
Q.I understand. This is not the only experience you've had of being contacted by the police and by Scotland Yard in relation to private detectives. You tell us in paragraph 29 that the when you were 19 you were contacted by the police in relation to Operation Motorman.
A. Yes.
Q.Do you remember much about that?
A. I do, actually. I remember being in my mother's house, because she said she'd been contacted by them and I should come over, and they brought a massive, massive black book, which was just full of information, and it there seemed to be much more information in the stuff that I saw when I was 19 than kind of Glenn Mulcaire's notes, et cetera. It was comprehensive. They just had everything.
Q.Information about you?
A. Yeah, information about me, information about my friends, family members, criminal records, DVLA records, you know, mobile numbers and house numbers and just all sorts. I was just we were just completely taken aback, to be honest.
Q.You say in your stamtement this: that one of the pieces of information that book contained was transcripts of telephone calls. Are you sure about that?
A. This is this is something that my dad seemed to recall more so. I just remember there just being a massive amount of information. I couldn't swear to that there was definitely transcripts of telephone calls. I remember there being something to do with like live interception phone calls, but what is memory? Flawed.
Q.Fair enough. You go on to say in the next paragraph that both the phone hacking and Operation Motorman material also contained information about previous boyfriends of yours and you explain that you've been unable to experience the highs and lows of relationships like any normal person without unwanted attention and it seems illegal surveillance. Can you tell us a bit more about that?
A. Well, basically a lot of their telephone numbers were on the Glenn Mulcaire notes, so I should imagine it's hard to know the extent of it because you just don't know, looking back. But yeah I mean, basically there was always paparazzi around, there was always journalists about in the places that we go, trying to speak to my friends, offer friends or if not friends, then at least people on the outer circle of the people that you know money in order to talk or give a quote or what not. And yeah, basically my first boyfriend sold a story on me when I was 17 and that was pretty dreadful, and I just reme thinking: "Why is it okay that an editor or somebody senior in a newspaper could pay an employed boy from Cardiff tens of thousands of pounds to reveal intimate sexual details about another 17-year-old girl?" I just couldn't quite get my head around that. It happened again when I was 19, a pretty much similar case. Yeah, but to me that again just made me think of my grandmother having to just it's just stuff that you shouldn't know about your other family members and you unfortunately are exposed to.
Q.I'm now going to turn to false and fabricated stories, if I can. I know that you've given us a large number of examples of these in your statement, but let's pick some out, if I with can. First of all, I'm going to look at paragraph 31 and the coverage of the occasion when you went on holiday in June 2004 with five of your friends to celebrate your 18th birthday.
A. Okay.
Q.I'm sure you remember that.
A. Yes.
Q.For the technician, the document number is 33145: "The Daily Mail's double spread read 'Vice of an angel' and set out a detailed, disparaging and distorted account of our movements and behaviour." Can you tell us about the article?
A. The article, I think, was the one that like literally named every single one of my girlfriends, their occupations, their age, and then, as you said, went on to just give the most ridiculous account of what had apparently happened, which was it was nowhere near that interesting or debauched, and we were just a couple of 18-year-old girls on our first girls' holiday. And also actually, at this time we were staying in a private villa at which there were paparazzi photographs taken of all of us and a lot of the girls were not happy about that at all. And also, one of the worst things about this article was that it said that us as a group had apparently nicknamed one of my friends and it was a pun on a name that crudely made fun of their weight, and I've never spoken about this girl in this way and I've never heard anybody else speak about her in this way, until, it seems, the journalist made up this cruel nickname about a 17-year-old girl and deemed that to be acceptable.
Q.It was just untrue?
A. Mm-hm.
Q.I've been asked to ask you whether you complained at the time to the PCC?
A. Looking back at my complaints to the PCC, what's actually stood out to me is how kind of sporadic they are, and also about much lesser stories than stories that stick in my mind as being really, really important or really dreadful, and I think that's mainly because throughout the whole time, you just you know, whatever the PCC ruling is is kind of inconsequential. The damage is already done, there are no real repercussions and it just doesn't it just doesn't help. And so a lot of the time well, most of the time, I just didn't bother. It incurs legal costs and I just didn't bother. There's obviously I think just the sporadic nature of them is obviously when I'd just had enough it might have been even just a small story or something that was slightly inaccurate and I'd just had enough and so therefore gone to the PCC to make a point, but in general I think that explains why they're quite so sporadic.
Q.So you didn't complain about this particular occasion?
A. I don't think so.
Q.You've explained to us why. Did you even complain to the Daily Mail or contact them? Do you remember?
A. I should imagine. I mean, there was always there's always a two and fro of you can't you know: "You can't print this", or: "This is totally wrong", but between, you know, kind of the publicist I never personally contact the journalists, although a lot of the times I wanted to but I was always told not to, you know, by whether it be my management or whether it be the record company, because there was a kind of there was a thing that, you know: "Say nothing is best. Say nothing is best. This is the way it is. You're just going to have to shut up and put up. This is the way it is."
Q.The second example I'd like to pick out is the New York story, if I can put it that way. If you turn back to paragraph 20 of your statement, I'll introduce the story for you. You say that one of the most professionally damaging articles published about you was not by a tabloid but by the Times. It's been pointed out to me that it may have been the Sunday Times. Is that right?
A. Possibly.
Q.The article concerned the 9/11 terrorist atrocity. You were 14 at the time and spending a great deal of time in New York. Although you were only a young girl, you were horrified and shaken by events that occurred that day. Can you tell us a bit about how you came to have that article published in the Sunday Times?
A. Looking back, I was actually 15 when I referenced the article. I'd literally just flown back from New York. The record company had set up an interview for me which was general that was quite normal and I'd been out in New York for a while and my manager, John Vernile, who is sat here in the courtroom today you know, we did a lot of he organised for me to go to a lot of the benefits and the commemorations and we went down to Ground Zero and lots of the fire stations and because of my recent experiences then and because it had just happened, then Jasper Gerrard asked me a lot of questions about it. I felt at the time that the interview was going really well. He was asking me really like intelligent questions and I was used to being asked what my favourite colour was still and how did my teenage friends deal with my fame and things like this, and it just felt totally different and new. And you know, I answered all of his questions and when I eventually saw the piece, I was just totally shell-shocked, and because nobody had sat in on the interview with me, which is what generally would have happened, and therefore nobody was taping it from our side, and so I had kind of you know, like the Sony people and everybody kind of saying, you know:"Have you said this? What's going on?" And I basically had to defend myself for ages about the fact that I hadn't said these horrific things and never would have said these horrific things.
Q.What were you alleged to have said?
A. I was alleged to have said sorry, I'll read, if that's okay?
Q.Of course?
A. "One of the most denigrating claims was the comment I supposedly made about the celebrity of some of the 9/11 firefighters. The comment I had actually made was not disparaging of them. It was quite the reverse. I recall referring to their appearance at the British Television Awards and explaining that I thought it was in bad taste for the television producers to demean the firefighters' heroism by making them present the award for best soap. However, this was dressed up as me believing that these men did not deserve their recognition and had only been doing their job." So it was a lot of things like that. And as I also say here, we asked for the tape of the interview and the Times refused to release it. In any event, I was only 15 years old, sorry, and to be exposed by a newspaper of this type to ridicule and derision upon such a sensitive subject was a terrible experience, and that article then went over to the New York Post, which was also owned by Mr Murdoch's company, and the headline was "Voice of an angel spews venom". And of course, because of the massively sensitive nature of this subject, there was just a massive backlash against me in America, where the record company deemed it necessary to hire police guards, and I was getting abuse if I was walking around in the streets where people, you know, had truly believed that I had said these kind of things, and it was just not a very nice experience, once again.
Q.Can I come to a third example, a much more recent example, if I can, of a false story. It's paragraph 14 of your statement, please, and it's an article in The People. For the technician, the article is at page 33136. I'll let you explain what this article was about in your own words.
A. Okay. So this article basically said that I was out at a pub in Cardiff with my partner and we were both inebriated and I was singing "Be my baby", apparently, to which afterwards I apparently slumped into a chair and said, "That was for you, baby. Will you be my baby? Will you marry me?" To which he apparently replied, "Yes, but I don't want to become Mr Church." That was the article.
Q.Can you pause there? Can we just turn to the next page? It's 33137. Then we'll see the actual People article. We see there's a photograph, a photograph of you. It looks like you're singing karaoke.
A. It does.
Q.First of all, is any of this story true?
A. Not one shred.
Q.But they have a photograph of you?
A. The photograph is from 2007, when I was doing a radio show with Chris Moyles. It was a Christmas radio show and because at that time my parents owned that pub, then he decided it would be a cool thing to do it from the pub, and so it was a massively out of date photo.
Q.So not taken that night?
A. No, surprisingly.
Q.Did The People check with you before printing this article whether it was true or not?
A. No. They phoned my publicist very late on the Friday and didn't say I think it was just a freelance journalist and just said, "What is the nature of Charlotte's relationship with her partner?" of which my publicist, generally, unless they would kind of state where they were from, who they were writing it for, what the article was about, would just generally not answer. So they did call at the last minute, but it was with you know, they didn't really give much away and therefore neither did we.
Q.I'll come back to what you did in relation to the article in a moment, but you say this in paragraph 40: "Within 36 hours of them reporting this tale, it was picked up by 70 outlets around the world and presented as fact."
A. Yes.
Q.Is that something that you recognise from other articles?
A. Absolutely. That's just generally the way it goes. It just kind of blows up. Everybody the main thing about this whole Inquiry, I think, is that everybody everybody really believes that there are a set of proper rules and regulations that are adhered to, and therefore these things are really true and they couldn't be printed if they weren't true, and that is just generally, a lot of the time, just not the case, in my experience, anyway. So yes, it was picked up by 70 different outlets. It was also embellished upon, so it went from this to the fact that I couldn't remember proposing because I had been so drunk. So the story just got expanded upon, bloggers wrote about it, people believed it, and now we're left with the debris of trying to make this story go away because it was never, in fact, true.
Q.Let me ask you: when you saw this article and realised that it had been published and it was actually false, what did you do?
A. I gave a statement saying that it was a complete fabrication and that this was a case you know, this was an exact reason why this Leveson Inquiry is happening and how it's out of control and it simply shouldn't be allowed to happen, and part of my statement which was basically the denial was printed in a few publications. Most of most of the rest of it, the stronger parts of the statement, were just totally ignored and in one instance I think it might have been the Press Association who basically wrote back when we'd given the statement, saying, "We can't print this whole statement because our consumers don't like to hear anything negative about us or our conduct."
Q.Okay. Did you contact the newspaper itself?
A. Yeah, we contacted the newspaper itself just is to say this is totally untrue and therefore and it's also defamatory, and those are ongoing legal procedures.
Q.Okay. We were passed this morning a document from the newspaper itself which indicates that The People have actually now published a correction and apology in relation to that story. That was at page 2 of yesterday's edition of The People. I'll pass you a copy, sir. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Have you seen this?
A. I have seen it. I also saw the legal letter that went to them before this which said that we didn't just want a normal run-of-the-mill apology because it's just not good enough, but I don't really know the ins and outs of it. My lawyers know much more about the ins and outs of what's going on with it. MR SHERBORNE Sorry, being one of those lawyers, I don't know whether it's helpful given that there's a statement in effect from the newspaper pointing out that they published a unilateral apology yesterday, I don't know whether it's helpful to put that in context? LORD JUSTICE LEVESON No, I don't think it probably is. If it's appropriate, then statements can be put in writing about it. MR SHERBORNE I understand. What Ms Church was saying, though, was that with the apology and it was a unilateral one, and that's obviously a matter that's of wider interest to the Inquiry in terms of what the appropriate form of redress is the apology she was seeking in agreed terms was also the answers to a number of questions which are rather similar to those questions Ms Patry Hoskins had put about how it was this story was written and how there are quotes from Ms Church and her partner, given that this is all entirely fabricated. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON All right. Just read out what the People say. MS PATRY HOSKINS Yes, of course I will. The apology reads follows: "Charlotte Church [and there's a small photograph]. On November 6 2011, we said Charlotte Church had proposed marriage to Jonathan Powell at a boozy karaoke night at Robin Hood pub in Cardiff. We were misinformed. On the night in question, Ms Church and Mr Powell were performing a gig at studios in Cardiff and Ms Church did not propose that night or at all. We are happy to set the record straight and we apologise for our mistake." LORD JUSTICE LEVESON So you weren't in the place at all?
A. No. I wasn't anywhere near there. I was doing a gig with a large public audience somewhere totally different. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON All right. MS PATRY HOSKINS You obviously took legal action in that respect and that takes us on to what you say about why you don't always take action. You've told us why you don't always go to the PCC, but can you tell us about why you've taken the view that you can't always just resort to lawyers when you see an article published about you?
A. Well, first of all, if you challenge I've always well, I used to always be of the view that if you challenge these individual tabloid papers, then there would somehow be some bad feeling and I've always been led to believe that to be true. So there would be like a residual bad feeling, which in turn would create more stories possibly, more negative stories, and it's also a massive financial commitment
Q.It's paragraph 15 of your statement, if you want to look back at that.
A. Yeah, sorry. Yeah, there's a massive financial implication and if it is a defamation claim and it's resisted, then your costs will be ten or 20 times what the initial costs would be, which would be maybe around ?5,000 or ?10,000, just to put in an initial complaint. Generally, you may not even recover all of your costs and the damage is done. Once it's in print, it's done. It's been disseminated all over the Internet to all the other publications, so it just feels a little pointless.
Q.Thank you. You've told us a bit about the PCC and your experiences with that. Would you consider it again in the future? Is that something that you think gives you an adequate remedy when an article like this is published?
A. No.
Q.Why not?
A. Because because it's just totally inadequate for there is a massive problem to deal with and they just don't deal with the problems. They don't deal with it at all.
Q.Thank you. This isn't a compulsory question, I say, to quote the chairman, but is there any particular changes to the way that the press is regulated that you would consider would be appropriate?
A. The only thing that I really want to get across from giving my statement is that, as I said, all of this well, a lot of this happened to me whilst I was a minor and whilst I was really very young, and it was really hard and it has had a psychological effect upon me, kind of it almost feels like they put you through this psychological grinding, test your strength and you come out the other side and it just keeps happening, and I just I would hate to the see that happen to any other child who is in my position, who was talented or sporty or whatever it may be, and as I said, I want to make sure that my children are protected. So that's the main reason why I'm here. In terms of recommendations, I haven't got a clue.
Q.Okay. There's two finally things. One is I know you recently heard a speech that Paul Dacre gave to the Royal Society of Editors and there's something you wanted to say about that?
A. Yes, it struck me and I don't want to single out Paul Dacre at all, but it was generally just in terms of editors and people who are high up in these tabloid papers, that he said in his speech to I think it was the Editors' Committee
Q.Royal Society.
A. And in his speech he said that there were many journalists who were exposing the misdeeds of the rich, the powerful and the pompous, and it just struck me that Mr Dacre himself, and possibly other editors, et cetera, are probably rich, definitely powerful I'm not sure about pompous, but if they were subject to the investigative journalism that they subject others to, maybe they would come out whiter as white but if they weren't, and they had misdeeds to be spoken of, then surely their misdeeds are much more within the public interest, being very powerful men in these massive media organisations, than that of me as a TV presenter/singer or my parents or my friends or what not, and that just kind of struck me, so I just wanted to make that point.
Q.I understand. The last thing I wanted to ask you was to consider the cumulative effect of all of this. You've told us about the constant press intrusion, the press intrusion when you were a young child right through to the present day. You've told us about the cameras in the bushes. You've told us about the entirely false article, the articles that possibly put your life in danger, the articles about your parents. How has all this impacted on you? How do you feel about it now?
A. Um I feel I feel strangely strong because I have survived it all and I'm not really sure how. I really don't know how because at times had has been just really, really messes with your mind, and especially because I was growing and I was only just forming opinions and learning how to live and trying to learn what a normal life was, if there is such a thing. So in a way, I think it's made me stronger, but professionally I definitely think that because I have been made a caricature for so long and actually, this person that I'm portrayed as in the tabloid papers really isn't me, really isn't the person that I am, the way I live my life, the things I say, the things that I believe. It's just not the person that I am, and I think that that has had a massive impact on my career. I think I as an artist, as a singer, as a musician, I find it really difficult to be taken seriously because my credibility has just been blown to bits with these stories that have just been going on for years and years, and the cumulative effect of that has been that I find it really difficult to be taken seriously.
Q.Is there anything that you wanted to say about the impact or perhaps the future impact on your children?
A. Well, yeah, as I've explained, my main reason for being here is to be here for my children. If, for any reason, I'm still in the public eye by the time that they're grown up, I really hope that they won't be subject to what I was. MS PATRY HOSKINS Ms Church, those are my questions. Unless there was something that you wanted to add that you feel we have not covered
A. I don't think so. MS PATRY HOSKINS Thank you very much. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Thank you very much and thank you again for going through that experience. Thank you.
A. Thank you. MR BARR Sir, the next and final witness this afternoon is Anne Diamond. MS ANNE MARGARET DIAMOND (sworn) Questions from MR BARR MR BARR Would you tell the Inquiry your full name?
A. My full name is Anne Margaret Diamond.
Q.And you've provided a contact address through the solicitors, Collyer Bristow?
A. Yes.
Q.Could you tell the Inquiry your occupation, please?
A. Well, I am a broadcast journalist. I started life as a print journalist, I was trained in my early 20s as a print journalist and I later went into journalism on television and radio. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Ms Diamond, I'm going to say to you what I've said to others who have come here. Thank you for coming voluntarily to the Inquiry. I recognise, having read your statement, that there are some things that are intensely personal that you've spoken of, and your concern to ensure your privacy is rather exposed by the fact you're here talking about it. I understand the problem that creates so I'm very grateful to you because it's obviously very important that I make sure that I understand all the various perspectives.
A. Absolutely, thank you. MR BARR And you've provided a witness statement voluntarily to the Inquiry. Are you familiar with the contents of the statement?
A. I am indeed.
Q.Are they true and correct?
A. Yes, they are.
Q.To the best of your knowledge and belief?
A. Yes.
Q.You tell us in the background section, as you were touching upon a moment ago, that you started your professional life on the regional newspapers, then became a television news presenter and in 1983 significantly increased your profile when you became a presenter on TV-am.
A. That's right. I was catapulted very much from the world of print media, where I was just a straight working journalist I was catapulted into an incredibly high profile job because breakfast television had just been started in this country, had spectacularly flopped and was being spectacularly rescued again, and I was part of that rescue package, which meant that everything I did and said suddenly became front page news.
Q.Having successfully taken part in that resurrection, you have continued to work in the media ever since, in newspapers, TV and radio, as I understand?
A. That's right. I still work very much as a broadcast journalist but as a print journalist as well.
Q.So what you can help the Inquiry with is experience of a person who has been regulated both by the broadcast regulation arrangements and by the print media regulation arrangements?
A. Absolutely. A number of difference perspectives, actually, because as a journalist, I have been trained to be a reporter and to report on other people's activities.
A. when I was catapulted, as I said, into becoming a household name in 1983, I then became the subject of other people writing about me, so I've been able to see it from both perspectives, from inside journalism, as it were, and from outside, but also, as you say, in the print world and in the broadcast world, where there is regulation.
Q.If I may take you first of all to your experience as a person written about in the media. You start by telling us at paragraph 4 of your witness statement and onwards about a Channel 4 documentary entitled "Murdoch, the mogul who screwed the news", which was screened earlier the year and in which I understand you participated?
A. That's right. I mean, a lot of the things I'll probably talk about today did happen quite a while ago, but I suddenly found, just in recent months, that maybe my experiences of press intrusion, particularly, and of ethics and practices might be relevant to the very things that you're looking at in this Inquiry because I was approached by a Channel 4 documentary company who were making a documentary about Rupert Murdoch, and during the making of their documentary, they interviewed Rupert Murdoch's former butler, who told them a story that almost shed a new light on some of the experiences that I had been through 15, 20 years ago. This butler apparently said that I had had an encounter with Rupert Murdoch. He remembered that it was at a party. I seem to remember it being in the TV studio when I had the chance to interview Murdoch, but I had put to Rupert Murdoch and I think it was because I was thinking in the time, in the 80s, of the way some of the Murdoch press appeared to be hounding both Princess Diana and Elton John and making their lives a misery, but I did put the point, somewhat precociously perhaps, to Mr Murdoch that his newspapers were intent or seemed to be intent on ruining some people's lives and how did he feel about that and how could he sleep at night knowing that that was going on? I seem to remember Mr Murdoch brushing it aside completely, and I remember after that incident being a bit frustrated that I didn't feel that I'd got my point over to him at all, and nothing more was ever said about that at all and I'd completely forgotten the incident until, as I said, just a few weeks ago this butler, Phillip Townsend, apparently said in the Channel 4 documentary that Rupert Murdoch's reaction though had been different at the time, that Murdoch had called together a number of his newspaper editors and said something to them which led them maybe and I don't know the right wording and I don't think even Mr Townsend remembered the complete wording, but possibly indicated to his editors that I was a person from that point onwards to be targeted.
Q.It's against that background that we come to the next section of your witness statement, which starts at paragraph 7, and you say that only some three weeks after your exchange with Rupert Murdoch, there started some intrusive reporting about your private life. The first instance that you tell us about is that there was coverage of your romantic relationship with a man who was to become your husband for ten years and father of five children.
A. When you look back now in the knowledge of what Mr Townsend had said if I look back at the timetable now, it does become well, I would suggest it becomes evident that from that moment onwards there were consistent negative stories about me in Mr Murdoch's newspapers, yes.
Q.You tell us about these. The next instance you tell us about is a report in 1987 about a road traffic accident in which you had been involved seven years earlier.
A. Seven years earlier, yes. This newspaper article, which was the front page lead of the Sun, it took up almost the entire front page. The headline in enormous print font, rather, was "Anne Diamond killed my father". That was the headline. And it came out of the blue. I knew nothing of it at all. This actually was talking about an accident that had happened seven years earlier, a very tragic road traffic accident that had happened in Birmingham where I was a young TV reporter, and it was indeed a terribly tragic accident. A man had died in the accident and I was driving the car, but the coroner went to great lengths to point out at the inquest that it was not my fault and nothing to do with me at all from a fault point of view, and it was dreadfully upsetting, obviously, to all concerned but it had happened seven years before and, I mean, it was part of history. But the Sun had chosen to go back to try I presume they were just trying to find stories about my past, had unearthed that this incident had happened. They then tracked down the surviving family of the man who had died in the car crash and I think they found his son, and they interviewed his son about how he felt watching me on breakfast television knowing that I had killed his father. And he of course, and quite understandably, did give them a few comments about how he couldn't bear to watch me on television because he could never forget what had happened, and they regurgitated that into a front page story under the headline "Anne Diamond killed my father", and when I saw that front page I was absolutely shocked.
Q.And you explain to us what you did was to report the matter to the Press Council, and having heard from you and also from the Sun, the Press Council found in your favour, didn't it?
A. I was terrified when I read that front page headline.
A.the time, I think I'd just had my first baby. I was a young mum at home, on pregnancy leave, nursing my baby and this story appeared, and I thought that my employers, I thought the public, I certainly thought the press would view me from that moment onwards as a murderer, because that's what the headline made it look like. It made it look like I was a calculating, cold-blooded murderer and I knew I wasn't. I was sitting at home nursing my baby and I knew I was a good person, and I was frightened to go out from that moment onwards. So yes, I did complain to the Press Council, as it was then, about that story and they completely upheld my complaint.
Q.Perhaps we can pause there and have a look at the way in which the outcome of that complaint was reported. Could we have, please, a document the reference for which ends at 33178. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON If you can read that, you're a better person than I am.
A. Yes. MR BARR I fear that the text is very difficult to read are, but for the purposes of my questions that might not matter too much. You've already explained that your complaint was unheld. What I'm interested in is the size and the location of this report. Was this a front page?
A. It was on page 23 at the bottom of the page. You couldn't really find it unless you knew. And yet the Press Council ruling itself was very strong. They found that the Sun had devoted its front page to raking up a seven-year-old tragedy under a wholly misleading headline. They said it was an irresponsible and grievous intrusion into privacy and furthermore, they said: "The newspaper has tried to defend its conduct by asserting that a person in public life has to take the slings and arrows of press publicity. Such an absolute proposition is unacceptable." And I hold by that. I've always held by that. I think we've heard from many other witness that while you may be a person who lives your life to a certain extent in the public glare, you may have a job that's on television or you may be an international singing star or a movie star or a best-selling author, it doesn't mean that because you do that you sell the entire rest of your life to the newspapers. You don't give them utter licence to peek into your most private moment. That's why I believe that that Press Council ruling, even though it was only reported on page 23 at the time, is very important, saying that such an absolute proposition is unacceptable.
Q.I may come back in a little while to what might be termed the "open season" argument, but if we stick with the question of the placement of apologies and rulings when they're printed in newspapers, what's your position there? Is it your view that this article should have been printed on the front page to give it parity with the article that you're complaining about?
A. Actually, yes, I do think so. I think it should have parity.
Q.We've heard that there are a number of newspapers now
A. Actually, I think the other thing to notice is that there is no apology in that either. No apology whatsoever.
Q.I understand that. I'm asking to widen the debate to a general level. A number of newspapers now are printing apologies on page 2. Does it follow that you think that that's not always necessarily prominent enough?
A. I think anyone in print journalism knows that page 2 is not a very prominent page. Page 3 is, page 1 is, but not page 2.
Q.I see. If we move now in your statement to the next intrusion, which you tell us about. We're now in late 1986 when you have fallen pregnant for the first time, paragraph 21 of your witness statement, and you tell us that at a time when there was great uncertainty hanging over the pregnancy, if I might put it that way, you were telephoned by a journalist from the News of the World, telling you that they were about to run a story that you were pregnant and asking you to confirm or to deny it.
A. Yes.
Q.Could you
A. What had happened at the time was I was still unmarried, although I was with the man who would become my husband and the father of all of my children, but I was only about eight weeks pregnant, barely pregnant, I think, as any woman would confirm, and that my husband and I my partner at the time and I were out shopping when I was involved in a sort of medical emergency, if I can put it that way, and I thought I was possibly miscarrying. I was rushed to my GP, who then made an immediate appointment with me to go for a scan in Harley Street to see if the pregnancy was still intact, and the technician in the scan told me that the only thing to do was to it was it still there to go home and literally lie down and hope that the pregnancy hung on in there. Within an hour of me getting home and putting my feet up, we were telephoned by a News of the World journalist, who said, "We know you're pregnant and we're going to run the story. Confirm or deny." And I found myself in an impossible position. To confirm would have been as Charlotte said, in the same way, to confirm would have been to tell the world before I'd even told my parents and I couldn't do that. And also I just didn't feel safe enough yet to tell anyone that I was pregnant because I may well have not have been by the end of the evening, and so I chose and it was no choice, really I chose to deny. It was the only thing I could think of saying: "No, I'm not pregnant."
Q.The consequence of that
A. They ran the story anyway, that I was pregnant, and when, a couple of months later, I was indeed pregnant, because the pregnancy did hang on in there and survive, they called me a liar from that point onwards.
Q.You go on to tell us when you gave birth to your first child and in particular you tell us what a Sun reporter did in order to try and get the story.
A. It was terrifying. I was actually in labour in the hospital and at one point an administrator came until and said, "Very sorry to interrupt, we don't really want to alarm you but you do need to know that we have just caught somebody who was a reporter for the Sun who was impersonating a doctor and we've had to eject him from the hospital, but we do feel you ought to know", which is why we took the decision, within hours of me giving birth safely to my first son, that I needed to get out of that hospital as fast as possible and home, where I could be private, and just as Charlotte has said, where I could be an ordinary mum with my child, trying to just be private for a while.
Q.Can you tell us how you got back into your house?
A. The only way the hospital advised us we could get out of the hospital without having to go through the paparazzi, who were outside in their hundreds, was to go out down through we were taken out and we were taken down through the sort of laundry lift and we were put into the back of a laundry van and the hospital laundry van drove out of the underground carpark and drove us away from the press. When we got home, we found that there was an equal amount of paparazzi outside our front door, but we did think of a way out of that, which was by entering an adjacent block of flats through their underground carpark, going up in the lift, crossing the roof this is a woman who's given birth just a few hours earlier crossing the roof with a newborn baby and then down the lift into our own flat. It was ridiculous the lengths we had to go to to try and get a bit of private time.
Q.Then you tell us what happened when you decided to terminate the employment of your nanny. I'm looking at paragraph 24 of your witness statement, and you describe that a reporter again from the Sun offered your former nanny ?30,000 for a story about your private lives, even before your former nanny had vacated your home.
A. She was a lovely girl, my first nanny. In the end, we realised we weren't right for each other. What I hadn't realised, I think, during those first few weeks at home with my baby where I didn't venture out much because of the photographers who were outside, I didn't actually think how my relatives, friends and my nanny were having to go in and out every day, in and out through this enormous bank of photographers and reporters. And so I think, I suppose, at some point she had been approached by one of these reporters and told that if she ever wanted to sell her story, they could offer her more money than was her annual salary. So I think at the point where she and I agreed, I thought quite amicably, to part our ways in fact, she was working out her notice, as you were, quite amicably, still living with me. So it wasn't I mean, we were getting on still quite well.
A.some point, she met up with a journalist from the Sun and he told her that he could offer her ?30,000 if she would give him certain information about I don't know, what just life was like with the Diamonds, is the way I think he put it. She came back from that meeting, I gather, and she was in her own room and I was with the baby when I got a phone call from a reporter on the Sun who said, "I've just had lunch with your nanny. I've just bought her up. What's your reaction?" And I was completely shocked and I put the phone down and rang my husband and said, "What do I do?" And he said, "Go and talk to her. If she's in the house, go and talk to her and see if you can reason with her." And I went through to her and we did. We sat on her bed and we talked it through and she and I were both in tears by the end of the discussion and she said, "I'm going to ring them up and I'm going to tell them I don't want to do it", and so she did and she rang the reporter up and she said, "I don't want to do it anymore. I see I shouldn't have done it. I didn't completely understand that there is a confidentiality between a nanny and her employers. I just don't want to go there. It's going to upset too many people." And he said, "You can't pull out of it. You've given me enough information and we're still going to run the story". So they did run the story and they reneged on their promise to pay her, so she never got they are ?30,000. The story ran anyway and we both felt abused.
Q.You say the story ran anyway. Can I ask about the detail of that, because you tell us that your husband went before a judge to get an injunction?
A. Yes, he immediately during that time period when I was talking to her and when she was ringing back the reporter on the Sun my partner, who then became my husband, went before a judge in chambers and got an injunction to prevent the Sun I think on the grounds of confidentiality to prevent the Sun going to press with that story. We were told they had to stop the presses rolling and remove the story, which we were warned is a very costly process, and we were sort of warned that they will not forgive you for doing that. That story did actually run anyway in many editions of the Sun. They were slow to stop the presses, and I think it simply incurred more wrath from the Sun because, several days later, Mr Murdoch went ahead and had it printed in the Today newspaper anyway.
Q.That was another of his newspapers at the time?
A. Yes.
Q.You then take us to the birth of your second child, and as a result of the experiences which you've just described to us, when your first child was born, you tell us that you decided to go to Australia to give birth to your second child, but that travelling to the other side of the world did not prevent the media taking an interest in you?
A. No. We were very well aware within a couple of weeks of arriving in Australia that there was a particular newspaper photographer following us everywhere we went. I remember he had a silver helmet and rode a big motorbike and he was following us whatever we went. So we were aware that we were being tailed, but within about a week, I think just a few days before I actually gave birth, they did run we were rung up by friends in the UK who said, "Oh, they've just run an enormous picture, which I have to say is very unflattering, of you getting out of your swimming pool, nine months pregnant, under a headline 'Has Anne Diamond lost her sparkle?'" This particular photograph was taken on a long lens from a neighbour's upstairs window, and we learned later that that particular photographer who had been following us around had talked his way or bought his way into a neighbour's upstairs window and had taken a photograph of me getting out of my own swimming pool in my own back garden in Australia.
Q.I see. Then you tell us that the media interest continued in December 1987 when you bought a new house and that the details of the house were printed in the Today newspaper?
A. Somehow the newspaper reporter had gone to the estate agent and got details of the house that we had just bought and I mean estate agent's details and they printed them in full all over I think at least one page of the Today newspaper. That was everything, from measurements and locations of rooms and locations of where doors were or things like that. I mean, absolutely every bit of information you could imagine would come from an estate agent's brochure was printed all over the Today newspaper. It wasn't just a dreadful invasion of privacy of my new home, but it was a burglar's charter.
Q.I see. I've just been passed a note and it may be right in the light of the contents of the note that I ask you, sir, to rise for five minutes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON You can have a break.
A. Thank you. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Thank you. (3.20 pm) (A short break) (3.27 pm) MR BARR Sir, thank you for that short adjournment. Ms Diamond, thank you for bearing with us. I'm looking at paragraph 29 of your statement, where you describe perhaps the most shocking episode of this catalogue of press intrusions. We're now in 1991 at the time of the tragic death of your baby son, Sebastian. You tell us that within an hour of you finding out that Sebastian had died, the media were on your doorstep. Could you perhaps describe to us the scene?
A. Well, that is absolutely true. I think within an hour of my finding Sebastian I think my husband had very quickly rung the police, as you would, and however it happened, we were besieged with reporters and photographers outside the door. I actually don't know whether they came before the policeman did or whether the policeman came first, but our front door very quickly was surrounded with hundreds of newspapers newspaper photographers and reporters, literally just sitting there waiting for something to happen, I suppose, constantly ringing the doorbell, and there was one instance where a female reporter tried to rush the door. She rang the door. I wasn't answering the door, as you can I understand, at the time, but friends of the family were with us by then. She rang the doorbell and she had a big bouquet of flowers to give us and when the door had to be taken off the chain in order to accept the flowers, she rushed in and two grown men had to push her back out of the door. That was the extent to which on the day they knew we had just found our child dead, that was the extent to which they were forcing themselves upon us. My agent at the time came around to help us deal with them, and he found a reporter climbing over the back fence as well to try and get at us through our back garden. And in fact, I got a I rang my local church as well that morning to ask for a priest to come and he never materialised and which was terrible for us at the time because we needed him, and I got a letter from him a couple of days later saying that he felt deeply ashamed, but when he'd got our call, he'd come around to our house and was so put off by the army of press photographers and reporters outside that he had decided to go away again. He just couldn't brave them.
Q.You go on to describe what happened outside the funeral parlour, and you've kindly provided the Inquiry with a copy of a photograph that was published in Today newspaper. Perhaps we could have that on the screen, please. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON You don't mind this going
A. I don't mind. I think I would like you to see it because I think there are certain circumstances it's definitely not that. There are certain circumstances in which sometimes a photograph speaks louder than words. That photograph was taken of us a couple of days later when my husband and I were walking to the funeral parlour to see our son for the first time since his death and since he'd been taken away and of course, a cot death child has to have a post-mortem. We were at our possibly most private moment and we were long-lensed at that point.
Q.You tell us over the page at paragraph 31 that you wrote to every Fleet Street editor personally begging them to stay away from the small private family funeral?
A. We had already been through several days of what you've just seen, being followed and being intruded upon even at this desperate, desperate time, and very strong in our memory was a story that had happened just a few months, I think, maybe a year before, of when Eric Clapton had lost his child and I remember that child's funeral becoming a press circus, to the extent that we had been told that photographers were sort of leaping over gravestones and trampling other flowers in the cemetery in order to try and get as close as they possibly could to photograph Eric Clapton's child's funeral, and we so desperately didn't want that to happen to us that we thought: "Right, we will sit down and we will write personally to every editor of every national newspaper, begging them to stay away from our child's funeral." And every one of them did, except that on the day of our little boy's funeral and this was held at a very remote country church that my parents knew about. It was my parents' sort of family church, but it was well away from London and nobody should have known about it at all. We hadn't told anyone, just a very few closest friends and family came to what was a little boy's funeral. Nobody had even known him except us. There was a photographer on the public highway. He was standing on the road. It was interesting, I think, that he probably made a great point of standing on the road, with a very, very long lens, the sort of lens they only used to use on Princess Diana at the time, and we were aware that he was taking photographs. If you see the front page that followed, again, I think in this instance it speaks much more strongly than anything I come ever say to this Inquiry, that here we were, a young couple at our child's funeral and they took this photograph.
Q.Perhaps I can stop you there and ask that the second photograph that you've kindly provided is displayed. Is that the photograph?
A. That's the photograph. And if you pull out, you'll be able to see that it took out the entire front page. Now, we had written to every editor begging them to stay away, and this was the front page of the Sun.
Q.Thank you. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Keep going. Just so that we can see the top of it.
A. That was a long lens photograph of I mean, I don't even need to say that that's the most private moment you could possibly go through.
A.the bottom it almost purports to be an interview with me it says "Anne's plea". MR BARR Can we have the bottom, please.
A.though I'd given some sort of agreement to that photograph being used and I'd actually given them a plea. I hadn't, of course.
Q.The photograph can be taken LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Just let me read t please, because the copy on this is very poor. Can you focus it again and move it to the second column?
A. Would you like me to read it out? LORD JUSTICE LEVESON (Shakes head)
A. Perhaps I don't need to. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I don't think you need to read it out.
A. But I felt that the Sun newspaper was seeking to justify the use of the picture with those words. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Had you said anything to anybody
A. No, nothing at all. LORD LEVESON about donations to fund research?
A. In fact, my now ex-husband reminded me this morning when I spoke to him that we were aware that there was a photographer at the funeral on the public highway. Within a few hours of the funeral, the editor of the Sun rang my husband and said, "We have a picture. It's an incredibly strong picture. We would like to use it." And my husband said, "No, we've asked all of you to stay away. No." And the editor said, "Well, we're going to use it anyway. We'll use it with or without your permission." MR BARR You go on to tell us in your statement that several days later, you were approached by the then deputy editor of the Sun, who wanted to meet with you to discuss how the Sun could help you to raise more funds into cot death research. Could you tell us a little bit about the gist of the conversation you had?
A. He wanted he rang to say that they had had an incredible reaction from that front page. They had been inundated with millions of people wanting to raise funds into cot death, wanting to do something about cot death. It had motivated the nation. That was what he said. "And so we, as the Sun newspaper, feel that we really need to do something. We want to do a fundraising campaign. We want to do an awareness campaign. We want you to help us do that." And our first reaction was: no way. Then he said, "Well, we're going to do it anyway, whether or not you join with us in doing it, and frankly, it will look very bad for you if you don't, because we are going to do something about cot death and it will look as though you are not wanting to do anything."
Q.How did that make you feel?
A. Emotionally blackmailed by the people who I felt had just trampled all over our dignity, all over our child's grave.
Q.What did you decide to do?
A. We talked about it long and hard and I mean, that's the trouble. I am a print journalist by training. I know the power of the press and I know that it can be such a force for good as well as some of the negative bad things we've seen about the press, and I knew that to get if we I mean, I was I'd just lost my child. I was very angry that I'd just lost my child and we didn't seem to know why. I wanted to do something about cot death, and over the ensuing days and weeks, it seemed to me that maybe, with the power of a very high circulation popular newspaper we could, and so in the end, and very reluctantly because I would never have chosen that it be in the Sun I did agree to join forces with the Sun to mostly do a money-raising campaign to see if we could raise a lot of funds to pour into cot death research, and we did.
Q.So once you had agreed to co-operate with the Sun, what was the reaction of other newspapers? Did they contact you about that?
A. Immediately after that front page had appeared and as I said, the bottom line sort of almost giving the impression that I'd given some sort of a tacit endorsement for that front page, the other newspapers ran spoiler stories, as it were, saying, "Anne Diamond did do a deal. They asked us all to stay away from the funeral, but they clearly did a deal with the Sun." That's what I was accused of by the other newspapers. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON It's possibly not surprising in the light of what emerges in the press.
A. Absolutely. Absolutely. MR BARR Were those other papers confined to titles owned by News International or was it a wider press that was making that comment?
A. It was a wider press.
Q.Thank you. If I move on now from that particularly difficult time to paragraph 39 of your witness statement where you deal with a literally grubby information-gathering technique. You tell us that on many occasions your family, friends and yourself would find someone rooting your rubbish bins?
A. Yes, that was a regular occurrence, and it wasn't just our rubbish bins. I learned from very early days to invest in an industrial-sized shredder, which I still do, and I shred everything before I throw it away, but your family and friends don't do that and they would regularly come home from work and find people rooting through their rubbish bins. Couldn't prove always they were journalists some of them were well-known journalists, actually, or who have later become well known. You couldn't always prove it was a reporter but nevertheless it was someone deliberately rooting through your rubbish.
Q.I'm moving to paragraph 41 and we're returning to the "open season" point. You say there that if you take part in an innocuous photoshoot for Hello magazine or any other, say for a Christmas family photo, then your private life is open season. I think you're there stating what you believe to be one attitude to privacy. It's right, isn't it, that in your case, in your capacity as a journalist, you have written about your private life?
A. Yes.
Q.And certainly certain aspects of your private life?
A. I must say, I would never have done so in the early days. I tended to do that more and more over the years as a means of redressing the balance. Very often, you would feel that there have been several negative stories about you, or a continuous succession of negative stories about you, some perpetuating myths and untruths, and somewhere along the line you would think, as Charlotte said: "Enough is enough. What I'll do is an interview that will kill all of those stories and will actually put matters right." And so yes, from time to time, I have done that.
Q.Because of your particular experience and because you are someone who has written about your private life, I'd like to explore this in a little bit more detail, just to perhaps tease out where the balance might lie in your opinion. I take it from what you've said that you don't think that just because you say something about one aspect of your private life that it should be open season for the press?
A. No, I don't.
Q.Do you think that if you write about a particular aspect of your private life, then it is legitimate for other reporters to write about that aspect of your private life?
A. I think not necessarily. I do agree that the balance is a difficult one to achieve. We all live very different lives. I mean, the McCanns, for instance, have found themselves the subject of a great deal of press intrusion. You could argue: well, as soon as they gave their first interview, they are therefore open season. That's not the case. You could say the first time the Dowler parents gave a police press conference, they were putting themselves in the public gaze, therefore the rest of their private life is open season. That's not the case. And so to a certain extent we all live very different lives. People have called me a celebrity. I'm not; I'm a broadcast journalist. All of my work has been done on news and current affairs programmes on television, but by being on television, you could say I've put my private life out there. Not all of it, no. I think the balance is a very difficult one to always argue and to a great deal to as great extent, it comes down to the decency and the ethics of the proprietor and the editor of the newspaper concerned. But not so in broadcast journalism. These same dilemmas are held every day in broadcast newsrooms up and down the land, but in broadcasting, in TV and radio, you have a code of conduct. The BBC has always had a code of conduct and a producers code by which they operate, and you know that if you go out of line at the BBC or even in independent television and radio we've always had the IB
A.the ITC and now Ofcom you know that if you breach those guidelines, they will come down you on like a ton of bricks and very fast, too. These things are they hold an immediate inquiry, and it is immediate. People are very often suspended from their job until the end of that inquiry. People are very often fired as a result of findings of those inquiries, or fined, and things happen very, very quickly. But there is still excellent journalism in broadcasting, in TV and radio. Look at Panorama or 24 Hours or This Week. There's still some excellent investigative journalism going in, but they operate within a code of conduct that was agreed, you know, 35/40-odd years ago and has always been there in broadcast journalism, but not so in the press. It comes down, as I said, time and again, to the ethics and the values and the judgment call made by either the proprietor or the editor or both, and I think that over the last 30-odd years, I'm not terribly sure that some of those editors and proprietors have had the right values.
A.I understanding your evidence correctly that your experience of the tough regulatory regime which applies to broadcasters has not in fact, in your experience, stifled freedom of expression?
A. Absolutely. The newspapers always argue that it is a totally black or white situation, that if they have to answer to a regulatory body, that will put an end to investigative journalism, and it isn't that black and white an argument at all. Broadcast journalists have to abide by codes of conduct, and they are still able to do their job, and a very good job too, most of the time, and if they cross the line, they are censored. It has to be possible to get that sort of balance going in the press as well.
Q.On a related point and I'm looking at paragraph 42 of your witness statement you raise what I might describe as a symbiosis issue, the argument which is sometimes ventilated that a famous person is famous because of, for example, the newspapers and therefore is somehow a legitimate subject of intrusive journalism.
A. Again, the press worry that or they always allege there is this symbiotic relationship, that I need them as much as they need me, but they always forget to mention that the only reason they put Charlotte Church's picture on the front page or my picture on the front page is because they want to sell more newspapers. All you are to a newspaper is fodder to sell newspapers. They're in the business to sell newspapers and to make a profit. That's fine, but the argument that you need us, therefore you must be beholden to us and must allow us to intrude upon every part of your life falls down when you point out, for instance, that when I was on breakfast television, we regularly went out to an audience of 14 million. Now, that was many times more than the circulation of the Sun. So I was a household name, if you like, because of the job I did on television, not because the Sun chose to make me a household name.
Q.I think that eloquently makes a point, if I may say so, that in your personal case you were not made by newspaper reporting. Your fame arose from your work as a very successful
A. Obviously, certain things are symbiotic in that, as Hugh Grant said earlier and Sienna Miller and Charlotte Church said, you are often in my case, if I'm contracted to present a television programme, I am also contractually obliged to do a certain amount of publicity about it.
Q.I wanted to move to a more general question. From your at perspective as a professional journalist, if you do have someone whose fame has arisen from, say, newspaper reporting, does that
A. No, because they're still a human being. They are still a human being, and no matter what they do for a living, I think every human being deserves some time in their life to be private. And that's why I say I can understand that it's arguable, and that many news editors up and down the land will want to argue: "Well, she put her family life out there, therefore she can't really complain if we take a picture of her children on holiday or something", but that's when it comes down to the taste and decency of that particular editor. It comes down to his values and I think that's wrong. I think it should come down to an agreed set of values.
Q.Thank you. Just picking up, again, on this ethical question, you yourself as a journalist have written articles about other people. I think over the summer you wrote about the weight, and I think more particularly the weight loss, of a famous and well-loved actress in this country. You presumably gave some thought to the ethics of reporting on that woman's weight?
A. I did indeed. I was rung up as I said, I still work a lot in print journalism too. I write a lot of articles, and I was rung up by the Daily Mail in this situation and they said, "Everybody's talking about Dawn French's weight loss. Would you write about it?" My first reaction was: "Hm, I don't think so, because " I don't know. But then I thought: well, actually Dawn French is a national treasure and we have all noticed that she's looking so brilliant at the moment and women up and down the land are really interested by that sort of thing, and having been there myself, and I knew I could write from a personal perspective I have and had my own battle with weight I agreed to do an article as long as it could be totally supportive and very affectionate, and I did write and I did give a great thought about the ethics of writing that, because it's not as if Dawn French had agreed to do an interview with me. I was simply writing what they wanted to be in the style of an open letter, from one woman to another, saying, "Hey, you look fantastic, you look wonderful." I didn't mention anything that wasn't already in the public domain or things that Dawn has indeed said herself in the public domain, just congratulating her on looking so good. A little bit of a touch of warning to her that women in the public eye, their weight is noticed. Their weight is always the subject of public debate and that she needs to be wary of that, but that's it. It was an affectionate letter from somebody who is a great admirer of her and that's how it appeared. I didn't particularly like the headline, but the words that I had written were supportive and yes, I had thought a great deal about what I wrote before I wrote it and I stand by it. It was affectionate and supportive.
Q.Would you write a critical article about the female actress' weight?
A. No.
Q.I've diverted you from the chronological LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Just before we leave that, there's another interesting issue, because you've made the point that you've made with great force about your own privacy. How do you reach that judgment when considering somebody else's privacy? I don't know what Dawn French thinks or would think, but that's a balance that you've made. Is that something that you checked through the editorial line to see whether they're happy with that or is that a decision that you make and it's just down to you?
A. I had already checked with them because they discussed LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Of course, they had asked you to do it.
A. Yes, they had asked me to write the article and they'd discussed what they thought they would quite like me to say and I said what I was prepared to say, which fell a little short. I wouldn't want to go into any more detail about that because that really would be exposing what Dawn French might think or say. But I think the answer is that it does come down to when you're writing for the press, it does come down to your judgment call, rather than a set of guidelines and I was happy with what I wrote because I was very careful not to write about anything that wasn't already in the public domain or things that actually Dawn hadn't already said about her own life and weight herself. And she'd indeed written a line in her autobiography which I referred to. So I was happy in my own mind that I was not saying anything that hadn't already been said before, either by her or was publicly acknowledged as fact. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON But just testing that and I'm just testing it to see where it goes. This is my word, not anybody else's, and I'm not making a judgment yet. The terrible story about your own tragedy with your son was all in the public domain.
A. Yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON But a different story, or a repetition of the story by a different journal might not have seemed any less an invasion of privacy just because it was already in the public domain.
A. Well, I think this is interesting. This illustrates my point that in the press it comes down to the judgment call made by the writer, then particularly the editor and maybe the proprietor as well; it comes down to their values. But not the collective values of a body that's been called together to actually think this through properly; it comes down to their personal values. My personal value when I wrote that article was that I wasn't doing anything hurtful and that I was being entirely supportive and affectionate in what I wrote, and I was very careful to make sure that the Daily Mail didn't change it in any way that I didn't approve of. And when you are writing for the press, that is what it comes down to: the editor's personal values. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON What I was actually testing was whether the mere fact that it was in the public domain necessarily makes a difference, and I used your example simply because
A. No, because then it comes down to taste and ethics and decency. I mean, my child's funeral happened in a public church and we did walk out and we could be seen but from the road, and the photographer was very careful to stay on the road, so there was nothing illegal had happened there, but I think within the realms of taste and decency, there were huge questions to be asked. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes. MR BARR Thank you, sir. I was going to pick up again from paragraph 45 of your witness statement, where you give an account of what happened to your sister. She was the subject, wasn't she, of a newspaper article, you say it was either in the Sun or the News of the World, when she dismissed one of her employees.
A.I understanding correctly that you're saying that this is not a matter which would have been any interest to the press but for the fact she was the sister of a famous woman?
A. Absolutely, of no public interest whatsoever, but still massively hurtful. Again, it's as Charlotte Church said, it's there are arguments about balance when you are the person in the public eye yourself, but your family, they don't deserve to be under the same scrutiny at all.
Q.I'd like to move to another issue now. You've explained in graphic terms the difficulties you had with the media predominantly in the late 1980s and into the early 1990s. One of the core participants has drawn to my attention an article from 9 July 2011 where there is reference to a quotation from you: "With the Sun's massive help, we raised over ?100,000 with a campaign to save a tiddler for a toddler, a tiddler being that annoying little 5p coin, and decided to make our own TV ad." That's a reference, of course, to the campaign to raise funds to research and prevent cot death. Is your relationship now in 2011 with the Sun and the Murdoch press different to your relationship with it in the late 1980s and early 1990s?
A. That's a very complex question to answer.
A.I've said before, the Sun talked us into doing a campaign with them to raise money particularly so that we could put funds into cot death research, and when we did agree to do that, we did a fantastic job, I think. I think this was a brilliant example of tabloid popular journalism at its very best. The Sun was a very large circulation tabloid newspaper at the time, and we were able to use it as a force for good. We did a series of articles with them all about cot death, about the research that was going on up and down the land, and we were able to raise such a wealth of public opinion, and they literally backed it up with their money, that we raised ?100,000 within just a few weeks and that was immediately put into cot death research. That was an example of top tabloid journalism at its very best. It's what they were very, very good at and what I remember the News of the World being particularly good at in its heyday, were doing some popular campaigns that could really make a difference. When I was a young journalist training on the Bridgwater Mercury in the late 1970s, I remember being motivated into journalism by things like the Sunday Times Insight team and their reportage on the thalidomide campaign they did, and I remember thinking that you could make a difference if you went into journalism, and that's an example of journalism at its very best, and I was able to do that again in fact, because it's the 20th anniversary of my little boy's death this year, I went back and revisited that campaign, if you like, with the Sun, and we did another couple of articles about it this year, being able to highlight some of the new problems that are facing cot death researchers. I was able to do that in the Daily Mail as well, and that's what I'm saying, is that the tabloid and the popular press the popular press is nothing to be ashamed of in this country; it can be a terrific force for good, and the problem I think that befuddles people and bewilders me and lots of other journalists is we've allowed values of some, just a handful, to besmirch the reputations of all of us.
Q.Does that explain why it is that, despite what you've explained in your witness statement, you're still content to write for the Sun.
A. Yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Effectively, do I understand it this way: you hate what happened and how it happened, but having grasped the nettle and agreed to do something about it, you then became a campaigner in the cause to do something about it?
A. But there are very there are two sides to the popular press. I think if I had a secret boyfriend right now, which by the way I don't, but I think if I did now and I was just off to see him for a cup of coffee after this, I have no doubt that they would pursue me with the same underhand tactics that they have in the past. I think that those two practices, the good journalism and the bad journalism, sadly go hand in hand at the moment. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON But do I accurately describe your approach: that you didn't like what happened and the way it happened, but having decided to get involved, this was a campaign which you felt obviously very strongly about
A. And I still feel very proud of and I feel LORD JUSTICE LEVESON and so you committed to doing it?
A. Yes, absolutely. MR BARR This is my final question, and you may have heard it being put to other witnesses. It's an optional question; you don't have to answer it if you don't wish to do so. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes, well, it's rather less optional for you because you live in the world and you've seen both print journalism and television journalism and you've had you've written it, you've experienced it, you have suffered at the hands of it, so it's still semi-optional, but I'd be very interested for your answer to the question Mr Barr is just about to ask you. MR BARR I'll try not to define "semi-optional". If there's anything you'd like to say to Lord Justice Leveson to help him to make constructive recommendations for the future regulation of the press, now is your chance.
A. I think I'd most like to say that it doesn't have to be like this. It's so sad that a handful of bad journalists have besmirched the profession in this way. We need a free press, and I understand why some proprietors are very worried about any form of regulation, but what I would say is that in the broadcast media we already have regulation. It may not be that it's it should be entirely copied and imposed upon the press, but we do have a form of regulation that still allows good journalism, good, investigative journalism, to thrive. I just wish that we could achieve the same in the press, because I know a lot of very fine journalists who do a good job and we've been hearing so much in the last few weeks of very bad journalists who have done an appalling job, and I would just hope that you can find a way that the that doesn't frighten the newspaper proprietors to the extent where they feel that they're going to be completely hamstrung, but that will still allow good journalism to thrive but put an end to this. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Well, do you believe from your experience there are going to be two questions here. First of all, do you believe from your experience that self-regulation, as we presently have it, can or should continue in its present form?
A. On its own, it has failed. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON It's very difficult to see the number of last-chance saloons that we've had on this at various times, why another go might make a difference.
A. 20 years ago I remember the same debate. It was about 25, 20 years ago when we stopped having a Press Council and it became the Press Complaints Commission and the presses were desperate then that they didn't want a form of official regulation and they said, "Let us self-regulate", and it has not worked. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON You see, I'm not necessarily well, no, I can say, I don't think this is a binary question as between statutory regulation, which suggests government interference, and self-regulation. I think there's an enormous range between those two possibilities, but there it is, that's the first question. My second question is: have you ever felt constrained by the way in which broadcast journalism is regulated? I know the reason for that, because of course it's all to do with broadband bandwidth and the ability to say you're not going to do it, and there is no question, as I say periodically when articles in the press start to get concerned about it, there is no question of my saying there should be licensing or anything like that, but so I understand why the difference exists, but have you ever felt constrained by what is broadcast the way in which broadcasting journalism is
A. No, never. It's always the subject of very heated debate in newsrooms between producers and directors and journalists up and down the land. Heated debate, sometimes a little frustration. I've been party myself to instances where, making a documentary, we felt we wanted to uncover certain things that could only be got by a secret camera, and under broadcast regulations you have to apply to Ofcom. In those days, it was I think this was the BBC actually. You have to apply for so you have to justify the story and show why you need a secret cameras, and under those circumstances, you will very often be allowed to secretly film something. And then the use of the footage is subject to debate as well, but at least that is carefully controlled no, that is its wrong word. It is carefully considered before it is broadcast, and I've never known it to constrain I don't know broadcast journalists who are angry at the constraints put upon them. They get on with it. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Here's another question. The code in itself, the language of the code, is that about right? Not tough enough, too tough?
A. It has relaxed significantly over the years, so I think you could probably argue that it does evolve. I remember in the early days in ITV, the IBA was very, very strict and we would often moan about how strict it felt but a lot of those rules have been relaxed over the years. So I think that code of conduct has evolved over the years. So there's nothing to stop a natural evolution and things being conditionally considered and debated and discussed, but nevertheless, the people who work within them know that they have to do that. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON All right. Now if we go to print journalism and the Editors' Code. Do you have a view about that?
A. I don't I have never seen any real evidence of it being used. I don't know. I've never been an editor, so I don't really know. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON But you know what it says?
A. Yes, I do, and I still come back to what I originally said, which is: I've never seen any real exercising of that code. What I've seen is the exercising of an editor's personal judgment, or maybe a proprietor's personal judgment, I don't know. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes, you've said that a number of times. You've brought in the proprietor
A. Well, one of the reasons I'm here today I don't think I would have dared stick my head up above the parapet again had it not been for the Channel 4 documentary where they interviewed Rupert Murdoch's former butler and it seemed to suggest that I was targeted, and I felt that was something you did need to know about because I've certainly heard this from my many friends and colleagues, both well-known and not well-known, that targeting does go on and that that was a view of a proprietor who instructs editors. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON You've never had that experience personally? Or have you?
A. Of? Of being targeted? LORD JUSTICE LEVESON No, no, I understand what you say about that. Of being told what to do because of some concern that somebody in the top echelons of the organisation wants to some agenda that had they have, in your capacity as a journalist.
A. No. I've never been instructed that way myself. I'm certainly aware that it goes on. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON All right. Thank you very much. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
A. I don't think so. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Thank you very much for your time.
A. Thank you. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I am grateful to you for being prepared to share what, as I have said, are not easy personal moments. Thank you.
A. Thank you. MR BARR Sir, that was our last witness for today. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Right. Well, where are we with the other matters that we're considering? MR JAY We checked about ten minutes ago but LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Let's just see. (Pause) MR JAY Yes, the witness statement is still on the website of Guido Fawkes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Do you know whether we've had an acknowledgment for the receipt of the notice? MR JAY The answer is we don't but it has been sent. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON All right. So I do have to decide what I'm going to do. My concern about the document that's presently on this website is that it's not the document that Mr Campbell has finally attested to. I'm not talking about coming to the witness box he hasn't done that but the document was changed after the draft that is on that website. MR JAY It most certainly was, yes. The one on the website is quite an early draft, on my understanding. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Right. MR JAY Mr Campbell would ideally, I think, like to make one or two very minor changes to the statement that has been provided to the core participants. One of those changes I have caused to be effected. There is one other change which is minor, which has not yet been achieved, but I was only notified of it at lunchtime. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON So that's even still now? MR JAY Yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes, all right. Let's see what Mr Caplan has to say. It's a difficult balance, Mr Caplan, isn't it? One doesn't want to condone any breach of the orders that I've made, but equally one doesn't want to provide the oxygen of publicity to what is a failure accurately to reflect what the witness has to say. MR CAPLAN Yes. But, sir, you have made a restriction order under Section 19. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I have. MR CAPLAN We would agree with Mr Jay that that is perfectly within your power. If it is not complied with LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I'm very pleased about that, that you do agree. MR CAPLAN If it's not complied with, then you can clearly report the matter to the High Court. Our concern is that if you authorise publication now of Mr Campbell's statement, then it will simply, in effect, be a green light to others to publish it at an earlier opportunity and we'd much rather that didn't happen. There are reasons for keeping this information confidential until witnesses come to give evidence, and the obvious reason or the most obvious reason is that it enables a contemporaneous response within the Inquiry to allegations that are made by a witness against organisations LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I understand all that and I entirely agree with you. The question is whether where it presently is doesn't provide that non-contemporaneous exposure that I deprecate, but which I don't seem to be able to avoid. MR CAPLAN It doesn't seem that others are behaving so irresponsibly and breaching the restriction under Section 19 at the moment. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON All right. Thank you. Mr Jay, do you have a view on this? Because I'm minded to change my mind, which happens rather more frequently than people think of judges. MR JAY I have neither a submission nor a view. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Oh, thank you. Does anybody else have anything to say on this topic? Right. Well, yesterday evening I was minded to take the view that to deprive this particular website of publicity required me to put the accurate statement online immediately. Given the later suggestion that I can make an order under Section 19, which I have now made, so as to have the effect of requiring the witness statement to be removed from the website it is presently on, it seems to me that the better course is not to publish the statement on my website until the usual time, which will be, I anticipate, some time on Wednesday. I would be grateful if the solicitor to the Inquiry would ascertain whether the notice and the order have been communicated to Mr Staines. He is required to provide information by Wednesday afternoon and is presently summoned to attend on Thursday afternoon. I will, of course, pay the very closest attention to how he responds, both to my notice and to my order. Anything else? MR JAY Just the programme for Wednesday. The programme for tomorrow is clear. It looks like being quite a busy day. Wednesday, Mr Campbell in the morning, Mr Owens later in the afternoon. There is an hour-long slot, and in our submission, it would be better, or best, if that slot were filled with Mr Lewis concluding his evidence. I understand that course does not altogether find favour with Collyer-Bristow and Mr Sherborne. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Let's hear what Mr Sherborne has to say about it. MR SHERBORNE Mr Sherborne hasn't been party to these discussions. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Oh, well, there you are. Mr Sherborne, you'd better take some instructions. MR SHERBORNE I'd love to take some instructions. Can I do that now? LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes. MR SHERBORNE I'm very grateful. (Pause) Yes, perhaps it's not Mr Sherborne who needs to take instructions. I need to take instructions from Mr Lewis about this.
A.I say, I knew nothing about this until Mr Jay LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I'm very sorry about that, Mr Sherborne. MR SHERBORNE No, that's fine. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON The position is that I am very keen that Mr Lewis finish his evidence. I'm unhappy about having this hanging over. If there's an opportunity to do so without any objection from anybody else, I'd be very unhappy not to do it. I know that very recently a further statement has been served by a different witness. I wouldn't, I say immediately, dream of interposing that witness into the evidence of a witness who's already giving evidence. MR SHERBORNE Sir, I'm grateful for that. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I don't think it would be appropriate. MR SHERBORNE No, I understand that. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Right. MR CAPLAN I seem to stand up to raise a contrary view. Can I say we simply don't know what further statement Mr Lewis may be intending to LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I think it was the statement that he you're was it a second statement in respect of which there was objection, given the lateness of the notice? MR CAPLAN Yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Now MR CAPLAN It will be pretty late now, because I don't think we've even seen it. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I'm sure you have. MR JAY The second statement of Mr Lewis has been served. It's the confidential exhibit which Mr Caplan and everyone else will have seen. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Mr Caplan has or hasn't? MR JAY Has not. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I think we can reassure Mr Caplan to this extent, can't we: that it doesn't in any respect affect his clients. MR JAY It doesn't. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Mr Caplan has surrendered on that point. MR JAY You'll remember there are some Article 8 redactions that we are considering but those are capable of being carried out, one would have thought, reasonably quickly. I adhere to the point I made. We're not on Wednesday, which is LORD JUSTICE LEVESON We want to use it. I'm not giving time away. Mr White, this probably affects you and you know exactly what we're talking about. MR WHITE We will consider the position. We've heard what was said. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Thank you very much. That's a reasonable time. Thank you all very much. Tomorrow morning, 10 o'clock. (4.20 pm)


Gave a statement at the hearing on 28 November 2011 (PM) ; and submitted 2 pieces of evidence
Gave a statement at the hearing on 28 November 2011 (PM) ; and submitted 2 pieces of evidence


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