Morning Hearing on 28 November 2011

Ian Hurst , Christopher Jefferies and Jane Winter gave statements at this hearing

Hearing Transcript

(10.00 am) Housekeeping LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Good morning. Before we start, I am sure that most, if not all of you have seen the events of the weekend, and in particular, the disclosure, prematurely, of a statement from a witness who is due to give evidence on Wednesday of this week on a website. I am obviously concerned about the security of the information that is available and to maintain the integrity of the Inquiry as we move forward. As a result, I am intending to enquire, to such extent as I can, into the circumstances in which this statement came to be made available for publication. There are two features to that. First, retrospectively, and making absolutely no allegation of any sort, I would be grateful if core participants who have access to statements for the vital purpose of preparing questions would re-examine their own arrangements to ensure that the statements are kept confidential, confirm that they are in order and prevent obviously not only deliberate leaking but accidental leaking. I repeat, I am not alleging against anyone that they have done so in this case but I'm obviously concerned for the future. The second step I intend to take, subject to any representations that might be made to the contrary, is to make an order under Section 19 of the Inquiries Act restricting the publication or disclosure, whether in whole or in part, outside the confidentiality circle which comprises me, my assessors, the Inquiry team, the core participants and their legal representatives, of any statement prior to the maker of the statement giving oral evidence to the Inquiry. So that I explain the meaning of that, it is this: any person who acts in breach of an order made under Section 19, which binds everybody, is potentially liable for breach of the order and can be referred to the High Court for appropriate action. In that way, for the future, howsoever the document has come into the possession of the person who puts it into the public domain, that person will potentially be liable. Does anybody have any representations to make about my making an order in those broad terms? Silence, in these circumstances, I think, connotes assent. MR CAPLAN Can I just say one thing. It might follow on from what you have said. Because of this leak, I don't know whether there would be any intention by the Inquiry to publish Mr Campbell's statement earlier than usual. If that was to happen, I would wish to make representations that it should not. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Mr Caplan, you better had. I'll tell you why: because I am absolutely not prepared to allow the gentleman who has this statement on his website at the moment the oxygen of additional publicity so that all can see it there but nowhere else. MR CAPLAN Yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON So my view last night was that it should be published today, two days in advance. I mean, this has afforded people 72 hours' notice, which is, in the great scheme of things, not itself the gravest but it has consequences that concern me, so that I recognise the position. Now, if you don't think that's appropriate, then of course you must make submissions. MR CAPLAN Thank you. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON And I haven't done it as yet. MR CAPLAN Thank you. Can I just say this? I do not know if it still is on his website. I'm sure it would be extremely unwise if it still was. MR SHERBORNE Sir, can I just tell you that it is on his website still. MR CAPLAN The three reasons that we would advance against taking that step really are these. Firstly, the fact is that although the leak itself has been widely published, the fact of the leak, the contents of Mr Campbell's statement, it appears, have not been widely disseminated. Secondly, the contents of Mr Campbell's statement, when we get to it, clearly make a number of points against a number of different organisations and possibly individuals, and if it is widely published now, those organisations and individuals will not be able to respond obviously within the Inquiry until he gives his evidence, and that is highly undesirable. Thirdly, the principle of confidentiality, which you have quite rightly insisted upon and done all you can to maintain, we suggest should be maintained and a leak should not compromise that principle by, in effect, recognising the inevitable and having advance disclosure of the evidence which witnesses will not give for another 48 hours. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes. I'd be very interested if you have a submission to make about the mechanism whereby I can require the statement presently on this website to be removed. MR CAPLAN Yes. Well, it is confidential information, of course. It should be confidential. But I'd need to, if I may, just ponder that. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes. It wasn't how I intended to spend Sunday evening either. MR CAPLAN No. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Well, I won't publish it until you've had a chance to think about that. MR CAPLAN Thank you very much. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON But I am concerned to deprive the particular website of that oxygen, for reasons which I am sure you will readily understand. MR CAPLAN I do understand. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I ought to say that I intend to issue a notice under section 21 of the 2005 Act addressed to Mr Paul Staines, requiring him to provide information as to the circumstances in which he came by this statement, and I intend to require him to give evidence to the Inquiry during the course of this week. Right, Mr Jay. Observations upon Mr Caplan's point, which I understand and I recognise? MR JAY The first point is that the version of Mr Campbell's statement which is on the website you referred to is not the same as the version which the core participants have. The reason for that has been explained to me but I'd wish, before making it public, to give further consideration to it, and I can take that matter forward formally at 2 o'clock. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Thank you very much. If that is right, then although I still ask everybody to review their arrangements, I'm very pleased to hear it. MR JAY Yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON In one sense. Where it leads is something else. MR JAY The second point: as to whether Mr Campbell's statement should be published now, it's not in a form where it could be published now, because one very small change needs to be made to it. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes. I'm very conscious that I understand that Mr Campbell actually, in the light of some evidence that was disclosed to him, himself asked the statement to be changed in a particular and so therefore it's not the final version. It was only the final version I ever was expecting that we should disclose. MR JAY Yes, and that change I would wish to check personally before it were disseminated. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I understand that. MR JAY The third point is that, musing aloud, the question you put to Mr Caplan, what can we do about it now in terms of further or continued publication by Mr Staines on his website or blog it may be possible to make an order under Section 19 which prevents any further publication. Before I elevate that into a submission rather than just a musing, may we give thought to that over the course of the morning? LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes. Of course, I then have to ensure that he has notice of it, and presumably the opportunity to argue to the contrary. MR JAY Yes. He can always pick it up at 2 o'clock and tell us what he thinks. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON That's entirely right. I don't want to dignify this with more time MR JAY No. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON than is absolutely necessary. All right. MR JAY Those are my submissions and thoughts at the moment. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON All right, thank you. MR JAY Subject to your view, may I move to the first witness of the day? LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Before you do, does anybody else have anything to say on that exchange? Right. I make an order under Section 19. It will be published on the website as soon as possible, but is effective immediately, and I will read out what I'm presently minded to say: "No witness statement provided to the Inquiry, whether voluntarily or under compulsion, nor any exhibit to such statement, nor any other document provided to the Inquiry shall be published or disclosed, whether in whole or in part, outside the confidentiality circle comprising of the chairman, his assessors, the Inquiry team, the core participants and their legal representatives, prior to the maker of the statement giving oral evidence to the Inquiry or the statement being read into evidence or summarised into evidence by a member of the Inquiry team as the case may be, without the express permission of the chairman. "2. This order is made under Section 19(2)(b) of the Inquiries Act 2005 and binds all persons, including witnesses and core participants to the Inquiry and their legal representatives and companies, whether acting personally or through their agents, servants, directors, officers or in any other way. "3. Any person, including any company, affected by this order may apply for it to be varied pursuant to section 20 of the Inquiries Act 2005. "4. In the case of any public authority, restrictions specified in this order take effect subject to section 20, subsection 6 of the Inquiries Act 2005." Thank you very much. Right, let's get on with the business of the day. MR JAY Sir, may I call now Mr Christopher Jefferies. MR CHRISTOPHER JEFFERIES (sworn) Questions from MR JAY MR JAY Your full name please, Mr Jefferies?
A. Christopher Jonathan Edward Jefferies. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Mr Jefferies, thank you very much indeed for coming and for making the effort to prepare a statement for me. It must be singularly unpleasant to have to revisit the events through which you lived and then to have to recount them in public for all to hear, thereby giving further oxygen to the unpleasantness that you have suffered. I'm very grateful to you for having done so. I'm sure you appreciate the importance that I attach to trying to get to the issues that I have to resolve, but I do recognise the imposition of a breach of your privacy that it involves. Thank you.
A. Thank you. MR JAY Mr Jefferies, you provided the Inquiry with a witness statement. It's dated 4 November of this year. You've signed it. There's also a statement of truth. Subject to one minor correction, which has been drawn to your attention, is that your evidence, Mr Jefferies?
A. It is, yes.
Q. The minor correction relates to paragraph 44, please, where you deal with the fines for contempt of court imposed by the Divisional Court presided over by the Lord Chief Justice in relation to two newspapers, the Sun and the Daily Mirror. We believe that the fines are the wrong way around. The Sun was fined ?18,000 and the Daily Mirror ?50,000.
A. Yes. That is indeed the case and I apologise for that slip.
Q. Mr Jefferies, you are a retired school master. For 34 years, you taught English in particular, English literature at Clifton College in Bristol. You retired in 2001. Could you just tell us, please, a little bit about your career as an English teacher?
A. Yes. I initially spent a term teaching at Clifton College in the early part of 1967, as a result of which I was asked to join the staff full-time. While I was there, I first of all was responsible for setting up a new department which dealt with a quarter of the teaching time of all pupils in the sixth form in an attempt to broaden the A level curriculum. I was, for most of my time there, deputy head of English, with one or two spells when I was head of English. I was also responsible for the commercial running of the college theatre.
Q. What is your proudest achievement, would you say, in relation to your career?
A. I suppose I'd sake two things. One would be setting up the department which I have just mentioned, and the other is having the opportunity to fire pupils with the same sort of enthusiasm for English literature that I have myself.
Q. Are you in contact with any of your former pupils
A. Oh yes, quite a number, several of whom are now personal friends.
Q. Thank you. You tell us in paragraph 4 of your statement that you own three flats within one building in Bristol. You live in one of them and rent the remaining two flats to tenants.
A. Yes.
Q. We, of course, know about the horrific murder of Joanna Yeates which led to the conviction for murder of Vincent Tabak in July this year. Joanna Yeates disappeared, so we have our bearings, on 17 December of last year; is that right?
A. Yes.
Q. Equally, so we have our bearings in terms of the chronology, you were arrested by the police on 30 December?
A. I was.
Q. And not released on police bail until 1 January; is that right?
A. That's correct, yes.
Q. Before your arrest, did you provide any statements to the police?
A. Yes, I provided two statements, one at the same time that everybody else in the locality was being asked to give detailed statements, and the second short statement because it occurred to me there was something material which hadn't occurred to me at the time I was giving that original statement, which I thought it important for the police to be aware of.
Q. You explain in your statement the circumstances of your arrest. It was 7.00 in the morning of 30 December. Those circumstances must have been extremely disquieting at the time. You were taken into custody and then questioned. Is that, broadly speaking, right?
A. That's right, yes.
Q. Of course, there's litigation surrounding those circumstances and for that reason it's not appropriate for this Inquiry to go into that particular aspect of the case.
A. Yes.
Q. But can I ask you about the press coverage. Before you were arrested, was there any press interest in you, Mr Jefferies?
A. Yes, there was. I think it was the day immediately before I was arrested, I was greeted by a large number of reporters and photographers as I was leaving the house one day, who seemed particularly interested to question me about the details of the second subsidiary statement that I had given to the police.
Q. Is the Inquiry to draw the inference from that last answer that the press in some way knew the contents of your second statement?
A. The press had certainly, I think, acquired a somewhat garbled version of what that second statement contained, yes.
Q. At that time, do you believe or know whether the press were making contact with your neighbours or former pupils?
A. Oh yes. They were certainly, I think, talking to some of the neighbours. I do not think that at that time they were trying to contact any former pupils or indeed, as far as I'm aware, any relatives.
Q. Thank you. The first article which you draw to the Inquiry's attention is dated 30 December. We'll come to that in a moment. You tell us in your statement that the Attorney General issued a public statement warning newspapers of the impact of the Contempt of Court Act 1981. Are you able to recall when that was, Mr Jefferies?
A. I believe it was during the time that I was in custody. I wasn't aware of it at the time, as indeed I was entirely unaware of the nature of any of the reporting while I was in custody.
Q. For obvious reasons, you weren't reading those articles until you, as it were, were released on police bail, which was on new year's day 2011. Can you tell us, please, the circumstances in which you were made aware of some of the reporting?
A. Well, when I was released from custody, both the solicitor who had represented me and friends with whom I was staying outlined in very general terms the sort of press coverage that there had been. They did suggest that it would probably be good for my psychological health if I didn't, at least for the time being, read any of that coverage since a great deal of it was so defamatory. So it was I started to read some of the coverage in detail only after I was asked to do so as a result of the commencement of the libel action.
Q. At that stage, did you have a solicitor who was advising you in relation to these matters?
A. Indeed, yes.
Q. In terms of you going out, did you refrain from doing so in the light of
A. Oh, yes. Very much to my surprise, I have to say, because the media interest was so enormous, I was very strongly advised, both by friends and lawyers, not to go out, and in any case, if it had been apparent where I was staying, those friends would have been besieged by reporters and photographers, and since some of those friends had young children, that was the very last thing that anybody wanted to happen. So in effect, for a period after I was released, I was effectively under house arrest and went from friends to friends rather as if I were a recusant priest at the time of the Reformation, I suppose, going from safe-house to safe-house.
Q. Thank you, Mr Jefferies. When did that process stop? We know that you ceased to be a suspect in early March.
A. That's right.
Q. When was it possible for you to lead more or less a normal life? Are you able to help me?
A. I suppose when I returned to living in my flat, which was at the very beginning of April of this year.
Q. You say in paragraph 20 of your statement I'm going to read this out, Mr Jefferies: "I can see now that, following my arrest, the national media shamelessly vilified me. The UK press set about what can only be described as a witch-hunt. It was clear that the tabloid press had decided that I was guilty of Ms Yeates' murder and seemed determined to persuade the public of my guilt. They embarked on a frenzied campaign to blacken my character by publishing a series of very serious allegations about me, which were completely untrue, allegations which were a mixture of smear, innuendo and complete fiction." So that, in summary, is your position, but we need probably indeed certainly to elaborate on that, Mr Jefferies. First of all, you say in paragraph 21 that you were told by others that extraordinary efforts were made by the media to contact anyone who may have had knowledge about you, including friends from school days you hadn't seen for some considerable time. Do you know who those individuals were?
A. I certainly know who some of them were because they have subsequently been in contact with me. The efforts which some members of the press went to to contact some of these people was quite extraordinary, and indeed worthy of a professional detective, I'd have thought.
Q. That which was attributed to your former pupils in the press articles, was it true or untrue, as a general statement or proposition?
A. Well, a number of those who were contacted by the press very properly refused to make any statements. I'm certainly aware that very many of the comments which are contained in the articles which were published are not attributed. Only a handful of them are attributed and I certainly haven't been in contact with any of those whose names have been attached to supposed quotations.
Q. As a matter of generality, before we look at some of the detail and I understand you're content that the Inquiry does look at some of the detail a number of themes emerge from the material to which you make reference. One of the themes was that you were supposedly associated with a convicted paedophile.
A. Indeed, yes.
Q. Could you tell us a bit about that, please, Mr Jefferies?
A. Yes. This was somebody who was not actually on the staff of the establishment where I was teaching but the preparatory school for that establishment. He had, at one time, lived in one of the flats in the building where I live. He had sold that flat to somebody else, who in turn had sold it to yet another person, and it was that person from whom I eventually bought the flat. So there was a very, very considerable time gap between his selling the flat and my buying it. I think I was supposed to be a friend of his. I very, very rarely came across him, and indeed only came across him on a comparatively small number of professional occasions.
Q. You demonstrated there the entirely tenuous indeed, fatuous, if I may say so association. Another theme which you touch on, it's fair to say, in paragraph 22 of your statement, is the portrayal of you as a sexually perverted voyeur. A number of suggestions were made which I think you believed to be mutually contradictory in relation to that. Could you help us a bit with that, Mr Jefferies?
A. Yes. I mean, it was certainly suggested that there may well have been some sort of sexual motivation for the murder of Joanna Yeates, and at the time obviously I was suspected of that murder. On the other hand, it was suggested in some of the articles that I was gay, so that created a bit of a problem as far as that particular line was concerned. I think it was then suggested in another article that the answer might be that I was bisexual, so the press were trying to have it every possible way.
Q. A feature of the press reporting there was copious use of photographs, namely of you, on the front pages of quite a few publications. The answer to this question is obvious, but what was the impact of that?
A. The impact of these photographs was that I was instantly recognisable. I suppose it would be fair to say that I had a distinctive appearance and it was as a result of the entire world, apparently, knowing what I looked like that it was suggested to me that really I ought to change my appearance so that I wouldn't be immediately recognised and potentially harassed by the media.
Q. What you describe as the worst offending articles you list in paragraph 25 of your statement.
A. Mm-hm.
Q. I'd just like to identify these, first of all to make it clear or to ask you whether these eight were the subject of proceedings in defamation brought by you in due course?
A. Yes, they certainly were.
Q. You tell us in paragraph 26 that ultimately there will be evidence in due course as to when that was you brought legal proceedings for libel against eight newspapers in relation to allegations contained in 40 articles. Now, we don't by any means have all 40.
A. No, this is a comparatively small selection, yes.
Q. That is the defamation. There's an additional feature of this case, namely that the Attorney General brought proceedings for contempt in relation to three articles and these are the articles, if you go back to paragraph 25, which are numbered 4, 6 and 7. So to be clear, paragraph 4, an article in the Daily Mirror on 31 December, headlined: "Jo suspect is peeping tom." That was held in due course in July of this year to be a contempt of court. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Is that right? MR JAY I sincerely hope it is.
A. Yes, there were LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes, sorry, yes. MR JAY Yes, it's paragraph 4 of the Lord Chief Justice's LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes, thank you. MR JAY The summaries that the Lord Chief Justice gives of each of these articles cannot, if I may say on so, be improved on. I'm not going to read them out, but seek to bring out the evidence economically in a different way. The next article which was deemed to be a contempt of court is number 6 in your list on paragraph 25: "Jo suspect scared kids obsessed by death." That's the Sun on new year's day, 1 January 2011. Then item 7: "Was killer waiting in Jo's flat?" Daily Mirror, 1 January 2011. Those are the three comments.
A. Mm-hm.
Q. You draw attention to the headlines on some of the other articles and we have them available. If I just read out some of the headlines, making it clear that these are only I don't diminish it in that way the subject of successful libel action, not contempt of court. Item 1: "The strange Mr Jefferies." The Sun, 31 December. Item 2: "Murder police quiz 'nutty professor' with a blue rinse. Was Jo's body hidden next to her flat?" Daily Mail, 31 December 2010. Item 3: "The strange Mr Jefferies, creepy." Daily Record, 31 December. Then item 8 I'm going to come to separately, because a separate point arises there. You have provided in paragraph 28 extracts from or maybe the bullet points which could be derived from the articles to which you refer.
A. Mm-hm.
Q. We have the articles themselves. It's probably not necessary to go through much of this, Mr Jefferies, but you'd probably like me to alight on a few highlights. Tell me, please, if there are any additional highlights.
A. Yes.
Q. The first article in paragraph 28 is the first page of the exhibit CJ1. I'm not going to ask for it to be put on the screen. The headline is: "The strange Mr Jefferies." Then there's a photograph of you which seems to be possibly of some antiquity, if I may say so.
A. Considerable antiquity, I think.
Q. Apparently well, we can see from the next page: "weird", "strange talk, strange walk". You were described as "posh, loved culture and poetry". You probably do still love culture and poetry. "Lewd", "made sexual remarks" and "creepy". Then you are described you were branded "a creepy oddball" by ex-pupils. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON If you love culture and poetry, does that make you posh? MR JAY No. Two separate propositions. I wasn't trying to make them LORD JUSTICE LEVESON No, all right. MR JAY You're described there as "very flamboyant", and then in the next sentence: "We were convinced he was gay." I'm not going to ask you to comment on that. But in that article, it also says: "He was fascinated by making lewd sexual remarks. It was really disturbing."
A. Extraordinary comment to make. I would imagine that had that been true, I would have instantly been dismissed.
Q. Yes. The Daily Mirror article of 31 December, which is page 10 of this bundle. This was one of the articles the subject of contempt proceedings, the emblazoned headline: "Jo suspect is peeping Tom." Possibly a more recent photograph, but then there's the old photograph at the top right-hand side.
A. Mm-hm.
Q. It appears to be linking you in some way to an old murder and to paedophile crimes.
A. The paedophile reference we referred to a few moments ago. I believe at one point the police were considering reopening an unsolved murder case of some 30 plus years earlier and considering whether there was any common DNA evidence between the two.
Q. Yes. Another article in the Daily Mail this one is page 4, 31 December: "Was Jo's body hidden next to her flat?" In that article, it's said that you had an obsession Christina Rosetti
A. If I have anything that could remotely be described as an obsession, it would be my dislike of Christina Rosetti, at least Christina Rosetti's verse. Certainly I never taught it and wouldn't dream of encouraging other people to read it.
Q. Mr Jefferies, clearly I have never read it, as my ignorance of her name is demonstrated. If I move to page 19 another one of the articles which was the subject of contempt proceedings in the Sun on 1 January 2011. I think this one is one you're particularly concerned about. The headline is: "What do you think I am a pervert?"
A. Yes. This is the most extraordinary article. The episode that is described is one of which I have absolutely no knowledge. Certainly I was never involved in any such episode, any such event. Now, whether, to put the most charitable construction on it, the person who's described as the victim in this article, having seen me on television or in the media or whatever, genuinely believed that I was the same person who had harassed her I have absolutely no idea, or whether somebody was paid to say this or whether she voluntarily came forward wanting some sort of attention there's obviously no end to the speculation, but it is 100 per cent fabrication as far as I'm concerned.
Q. Yes. The article is also objectionable in other respects because it refers to some sort of nickname which apparently was applied to you, probably entirely
A. Of which I have no knowledge.
Q. Yes. On the next page we're still in the Sun article. In our internal numbering, it's page 20. What is attributed to one of your students is that you apparently had an academic obsession with death and you were particularly fascinated by Victorian murder novel is that "The Moonstone"?
A. On one or two occasions, I did teach the Wilkie Collins novel "The Moonstone" and it is a Victorian novel, but it's not a murder novel. It's quite well-known as being the first significant detective novel in English.
Q. Thank you, and then in the same bracket, as it were, what's described as "disturbing Holocaust documentary 'Night and Fog'", which, of course
A. Which is an extremely important and extremely moving and in no way exploitative film. It's a documentary that Alain Resnais was asked to make by the Allied governments following the liberation of the concentration camps. It's probably one of the most important films made in the 20th century and a film which as many people as possible should be encouraged to see. It's perhaps worth noting that a number of years ago, when France experienced the desecration of a number of Jewish cemeteries, the French television channels entirely broke from their what they were televising and showed this particular film.
Q. The final article which attracted contempt proceedings I merely refer to it but it does deserve to be bracketed with the other articles is at page 21, Daily Mirror, new year's day: "Was killer waiting in Jo's flat?" The suggestion being that it was or may have been you because you were nearby and equally, the suggestion is, well, you had the wherewithal.
A. Because I was the landlord, I had therefore keys to the flat. I must have been or quite possibly I was waiting there for her when she returned, yes.
Q. The final article I'd like to refer to it is right to say that the material you draw to our attention is all equally important, but the same sort of defamatory and scandalous themes come out of each of them, with varying degrees of intensity, I suppose. We know that Mr Greg Reardon gave a public statement. This is paragraph 29 of your witness statement on new year's day. This was read out by Mr Sherborne when he opened the case but it's important to see how one publication one organ of the press, I should say how they reported on this statement. What the statement said is: "Jo's life was cut short tragically but the finger-pointing and character assassination by social and news media of as yet an innocent men has been shameful. It has made me lose a lot of faith in the morality of the British press and those who spend their time fixed to the Internet in this modern age." Then he asks for a more sensitive and impartial view. Go to page 25 of the exhibits bundle, CJ1. The way that that's reported in the Sunday Mirror is on the left-hand side. I've read it twice now, but I see no reference in that report to the important point Mr Reardon was making, "the finger-pointing and character assassination by social and news media of as yet an innocent man has been shameful".
A. Indeed.
Q. They reported other things, but not that important statement.
A. That particular aspect of the statement was very largely ignored for, I suppose, obvious reasons.
Q. You refer in paragraph 30 to this inaccurate reporting. So that we're clear about it, the exhibit bundle contains the Sunday Mirror. It doesn't contain the other two publications you refer to, so I haven't been, as it were, able to satisfy myself. I'm not doubting for one moment you're wrong, but the reporting LORD JUSTICE LEVESON You're not doubting that he's right. MR JAY I just haven't read it LORD JUSTICE LEVESON No, you said you're not doubting he's wrong. You're actually saying he's right. MR JAY Yes.
A. I think the only reason that those particular newspapers are not in the bundle is that copies weren't readily available at the time that the photocopying was being compiled.
Q. Yes, thank you. You've already told us, Mr Jefferies, about what happened in relation to your experiences after you were released, what must have been an extremely difficult time. You describe it in your own words as surreal, at least in part. On 4 March, I probably said earlier, the police lifted your bail conditions and you were no longer a suspect, but
A. But certainly the couple of months immediately preceding that, while I was still under suspicion, without doubt, were the most difficult period I think I have spent, living this hole-in-corner existence and with my life, in effect, being in abeyance.
Q. What happened then is that contempt proceedings were started by the Attorney General, and we know that judgment was handed down at the end of July of this year, but at about the same time, you commenced libel actions against eight separate publications.
A. Mm-hm.
Q. I think the exact chronology is that letters before claim were sent on 28 April of in year. Does that sound about right?
A. That sounds about right, yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Is there anywhere listed the titles against which proceedings were commenced? MR JAY They include the eight listed in paragraph 25, but we don't have a list of all of them, Mr Jefferies; is that right? LORD JUSTICE LEVESON All I ask is that at some stage I just want to know the names of the titles. I'm not asking
A. There were eight titles eight newspapers, therefore which were the subject of legal proceedings, and those eight are indeed listed in the witness statement. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Are they? MR JAY We have some separate evidence which covers this, which you've provided to us and I can provide the eight now. They're the Sun, the Daily Express, the Daily Mirror, the Daily Mail, the Scotsman, the Daily Record, the Star and the Sunday Mirror.
A. That's right.
Q. Unfortunately, that's nine. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Thank you. MR JAY So that we understand the sequence of events, did the newspapers contest the libel claims, Mr Jefferies?
A. No, they didn't.
Q. How quickly did they admit the libel claim? Can you give us a sense of the chronology?
A. I suppose I don't need to remind those in this room that legal proceedings are never speedy, or rarely speedy, but I suppose we're talking about a period of three months or so between the original letters being sent out and an agreement as to settlement being arrived at.
Q. We know there was a statement in open court on 29 July of this year.
A. Mm-hm.
Q. The newspapers admitted liability, gave the standard apologies on these occasions
A. Mm-hm.
Q. and agreed to pay you substantial damages.
A. Yes.
Q. So in that three-month period, following, presumably, quite early admissions of liability we needn't go into the details there were discussions between your legal advisers and the eight newspapers as to the amount of damages?
A. That is true, yes.
Q. I'm not going to give evidence, but I think in the experience we have of defamation, that is pretty fast, Mr Jefferies, but whether that observation
A. Yes, obviously I have no other experience of bringing defamation proceedings.
Q. No, I'm sure you haven't. I be sincerely hope you have no future experience of it either. Thank you. You tell us in your witness statement that there was one interview you gave and that was to the Financial Times, Mr Brian Cathcart.
A. Indeed, Professor Brian Cathcart.
Q. Pardon me, you're absolutely right. His article is in our bundle CJ1 at page 27.
A. Yes.
Q. It was published in the Financial Times on 8 October 2011. This followed an interview with you; is that right, Mr Jefferies?
A. That's right, yes. I think that Professor Cathcart does a particularly good job in distilling the essence of the allegations that were made in the various newspapers. If I could just take the opportunity to draw people's attention to one particular part of that article, which is page 31 of the bundle
Q. Thank you?
A. and page 5 of the article itself, in which he says: "This hostile evidence was founded almost entirely on unnamed witnesses, with some of the most contentious quotations reproduced in several papers. The careful reader who relied only on quotes from people who were identified by name would probably have seen a very different picture." He then lists one or two of those and goes on to say: "They described in various papers, although usually towards the end of articles, a man who was a dedicated teacher, a responsible landlord and an active member of his community. Several expressed amazement at his arrest or downright disbelief at the idea of his killing anyone. Put these together with some readily available facts and it would have been possible to flip the picture entirely." And it continues to the end of the paragraph. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON But ending: but editors did not give prominence to that interpretation."
A. Indeed, yes. MR JAY Another flight of understatement. There was absolutely no reference to that interpretation.
A. No, it's LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Some of the facts were in fact reported, weren't they?
A. Oh yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Some of the positive facts were reported?
A. Yes, that's entirely true. But it is, I think, incontestable that the whole slanting of the reporting was intended to be as sensational, as exploitative, as titillating and to appeal in every possible way to people's voyeuristic instincts. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON It's worse than that, because besides doing that, it was creating a picture of you which was extremely damaging and potentially abusive to any proceedings.
A. Oh, indeed, yes. Yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Besides being entirely false.
A. Mm. MR JAY Is that to date the only interview you've given, Mr Jefferies?
A. No. I did give an interview for ITN News. One of the reasons that I gave that was that the interviewer happened to be somebody whom at one stage I taught.
Q. Thank you. In terms of the legal process, the contempt proceedings have been determined. There's ongoing litigation against the police. May I deal with the issue of the Press Complaints Commission?
A. Oh yes.
Q. You tell us in paragraph 47 that one of your relatives was so concerned about the press hounding that she contacted the PCC. Were you involved ultimately in correspondence with the PCC?
A. Yes, I was, because on 2 August this year, the director of the Press Complaints Commission wrote to my solicitor indicating that the PCC would now wish to examine I'm quoting from the letter how the problems within the newspapers arose and what could be done in future in order to prevent recurrence. I offered to write a reply to the Press Complaints Commission, which I duly did on 10 August, and that letter is part of the bundle.
Q. Maybe you should read it out in full, Mr Jefferies. We have a transcript which is at the very end of our tab 1 bundle we have caused to be prepared for you. It's addressed to the director of the PCC.
A. Yes.
Q. Could you read it all out, beginning with the second paragraph: "It may well be that
A. Yes: "It may well be that had I chosen to make representations to the PCC concerning my treatment by the press over the new year period, they would have found in my favour. However, such redress as you are able to provide would have been wholly inadequate as a remedy for the wrongs committed. You have no powers to fine newspapers, nor to order them to make financial compensation to their victims, and it is, to my mind, entirely improper that those against whom complaints are being made in this case, newspaper editors should be in the position of assessing the validity of those complaints. It is no wonder that the PCC is held in such low esteem. Indeed, I would suggest that the shocking and reckless irresponsibility displayed by sections of the media is in part attributable to the failure of the current regulatory system and the weakness of the voluntary code of practice. I was startled to hear the editor of the Scotsman, one of the papers sued by me for libel and himself a member of the PCC, describe his paper's coverage of my arrest as a mistake. Plainly that was the case, but the word does not begin to describe the journalistic failures which allowed the dissemination of allegations, suggestions and innuendos that were entirely untrue. Unless a regulatory body is in possession of powers so severe that they act as a genuine deterrent, there seems little prospect of any real reform in press standards. The sacred cow of press freedom has been allowed to excuse licence, irresponsibility and, in the coverage of my case, flagrant lawlessness. As things stand, it seems that newspapers, in the search for sensation and increased sales, will take almost any risks, knowing that the penalties available are unlikely seriously to hurt them. That has nothing whatever to do with public service journalism. If the PCC wishes to show itself at all concerned to uphold the standards of responsible journalism, it will publish a strongly worded statement welcoming the Attorney General's prosecution of the Sun and the Daily Mirror for contempt of court and condemning the libellous and scurrilous reporting that accompanied the arrest of an innocent man." It may be worth adding that I didn't actually receive an acknowledgment.
Q. Thank you, Mr Jefferies. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Do you know whether anything was in fact published by the PCC?
A. I am not aware of anything published by the PCC. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Thank you. MR JAY I don't believe there was, but we will check.
A. Right.
Q. We've heard, in relation to some evidence we heard last week, that there were front-page apologies in the case of the McCanns, of course. Were there apologies in any of the eight or nine newspapers
A. There were indeed apologies printed, although not front page apologies. My memory is that they were printed on page 2, towards the top of the page.
Q. Did you receive any communication from the editors of any of those papers or
A. No communication whatsoever, no. Perhaps there is just one other thing I could say at this stage. Obviously we are we have been concerned so far with tabloid titles, but there was some concern about the coverage of my arrest in at least one of the broadsheet titles. I don't intend to refer to that specifically, but I am aware that quite a large number of people wrote to that particular newspaper to complain about its coverage of my arrest because they got in touch with me and in some cases sent me copies of their letters. None of those letters were published in that broadsheet and there was no response to those letters, even when one of their own columnists brought the attention of those letters to one of the editors.
Q. Deal with the impact on you, particularly in the context of the libel and the overall context. Because by the time the libel actions were settled indeed, before then it was conclusively established that you were not guilty of the murder of Joanna Yeates because someone else was. At that stage the someone else, who of course has now been convicted, the possibilities were only murder or manslaughter, but his involvement was definitively established.
A. Yes.
Q. We also know that you received substantial libel damages. Do you feel
A. If I could just interrupt you for one moment, it wasn't just a question of it being conclusively established that I had been in no way implicated in the murder of Joanna Yeates. It was also accepted, for example, that I had never behaved improperly towards any pupil at any stage in my career, which obviously had been part of the defamatory allegations.
Q. Indeed. Do you feel that the existing system which enables you to bring proceedings for libel, that system has effectively cleared your reputation or reinstated your reputation?
A. Certainly so far as those specific original allegations are concerned, but when coverage is so widespread, as it was in my case, and the smears were so extensive then I suppose it's true to say that there will always be people who don't know me, people who don't know anybody that I know, who will retain the impression that I am some sort of very weird character indeed, who is probably best avoided, even if they were not guilty of those specific criminal activities.
Q. In terms of the funding of the libel actions, we're naturally aware that these proceedings are capable of being extremely expensive.
A. That's right.
Q. You obtained the services of solicitors on a conditional fee agreement?
A. Indeed, yes, without which it would really not have been possible to bring the actions.
Q. In terms of the longer term this is paragraph 57, Mr Jefferies you say this: "I will never fully recover from the events of last year. The incalculable effect of what was written about me by these highly influential tabloid newspapers is something from which it would be difficult ever to escape. The purpose of my agreeing to give this statement is that I hope it may prevent the same fate befalling someone else."
A. Yes.
Q. Does that remain the position?
A. Indeed it does, and I very much hope that as a result of the present Inquiry, it will be possible to put in place arrangements whereby it will be very difficult indeed for newspapers to behave in the future in the way in which they behaved in my case.
Q. I've been asked to put this question to you by another core participant. Do you follow me, Mr Jefferies?
A. Mm.
Q. It's this: do you recall if anyone on your behalf offered to sell your exclusive story to any newspaper?
A. I certainly have an agent who is in contact with all those media organisations who are interested in what happened to me. As you will appreciate, there are a very large number of contacts which were made following my release from custody and it certainly would not have been possible for me to deal myself with all those approaches, and I have left it entirely up to him to deal with those approaches as he feels fit, or indeed to approach any organisations, should he so see it as being fit on my behalf.
Q. In terms of the timing, might that have been as early as February of this year?
A. Certainly he was acting on my behalf in February of this year, yes. MR JAY Mr Jefferies, I have no further questions for you, save to reserve and thank you for the way in which you've given your evidence. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Thank you very much. I would be grateful if you would supply me with a copy of the broadsheet newspaper article to which you've referred. I'm not asking you to go into further detail, but I'd just like to see it. I repeat my thanks to you for the reasons that I gave as you started your evidence.
A. Thank you very much indeed. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Right. That's a convenient moment to have five minutes and some of the things that we've spoken about this morning prior to Mr Jefferies' evidence could be thought about. Thank you. Five minutes. (11.12 am) (A short break) (11.25 am) LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I apologise for not keeping to my own timetable. I'm concerned to put into place the relevant orders and requirements and to find out what effect they have before further considering Mr Caplan's point. MR JAY Thank you. The next witness, sir, is Mr Ian Hurst, please. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Right. It may be that when we've finished this witness and the next witness, we'll have a break so that we can resolve all these other matters. MR IAN HURST (affirmed) Questions from MR JAY MR JAY Thank you, Mr Hurst. I'll invite you to sit down, please, and make yourself comfortable as you can. First of all, may I invite you to give us your full name?
A. My name is Ian James Hurst.
Q. There is available to you, Mr Hurst, a redacted version of your witness statement, which was signed by you on 9 November of this year. May I ask you, please, to bring that to hand?
A. Yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Mr Hurst, thank you very much indeed for putting the work into preparing this statement, and of course we'll go through what you have to say, but I feel it's appropriate just to start your evidence, as we deal with events in Northern Ireland, to make the point that there is a whole range of issues over and above the issues which are clearly within my terms of reference but connected to what happened in Northern Ireland over many years which add a layer of complexity, which I think is probably
A. That's being very polite, sir. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON an Inquiry all of its own.
A. Yes, sir. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON So you won't consider it disrespectful if I take the view that there are some areas that I just don't think I have the time to investigate.
A. I have no interest in going into those areas now, sir. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Thank you. MR JAY Mr Hurst, your redacted witness statement with your signature at the end of it and the statements of truth
A. Yes.
Q. Is that your formal evidence?
A. It, sir, yes.
Q. Please give us a bit of background. You tell us that you're a former member of British military intelligence and you served in that capacity in covert units in Northern Ireland between 1980 and 1991; is that correct?
A. That's true, sir, yes.
Q. In a nutshell, what was your role, without going into any detail, of course?
A. I think it's probably wise just to make it clear so that we don't stray into any areas of the existence of the gagging order, which you're well aware of, so if I can rely upon the statement, sir. I think that's been imaginatively constructed to give you a flavour, basically in a round up: to recruit, develop and exploit human agents unit(?) within the paramilitary organisations, specifically Republican paramilitaries.
Q. Thank you. In going through the history in your words, you describe it as a gagging order in formal terms, you are subject to an injunction brought out by the Crown against you in 1999 that fetters what you can say generally and indeed in particular to this Inquiry in relation to any of the detail?
A. Yes.
Q. So we'll keep off that, but what is relevant is that in 2004, I think you went off to live in rural France. Is that so?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Have you maintained links with the intelligence community informally?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. We know that there was a programme which came out on Panorama in March of 2011 and which I saw yesterday for the first time. I'm grateful for you providing me with the DVD of it.
A. Yes, sir.
Q. But in terms of the chronology, you were approached, I believe, by the producer of that programme, Mr Stephen Scott, in December of last year; is that correct?
A. That's correct, sir, yes, the Thursday before Christmas.
Q. Thank you. The documentary, in essence, was about allegations of phone and computer hacking that was engulfing the News of the World at that time; is that correct?
A. Indeed it was, sir, yes.
Q. Did you provide a short interview for the purposes of that Panorama programme? Or at least, to be more precise, what we see on the programme is an edited version of any interview you provided; is that correct?
A. Yes. There was a sketch which was done in my office, but then we also covertly recorded the one of the hackers involved. From memory, that coverage lasts about two and a half hours, and I think Panorama shows approximately one minute.
Q. Yes, and so to provide us with the background to the precise evidence you can give about computer hacking you start dealing with this, Mr Hurst, in paragraph 106 your statement you were told by Panorama that it had information that showed that one of you say "our computers"; that's your computers had been hacked by News of the World or someone engaged on the paper's behalf in 2006; is that right?
A. Yes. The reason I make the point said one, we had a number of computers, one being the family computer that my daughters and my wife would use, and I had a laptop which was separate, and unfortunately the laptop went its merry way not that long ago, but before the programme, and we didn't have access to the hard drive. And clearly we were looking, in the sense just to give you some context as to why I had the hard drive, in November of 2007, the Ministry of Defence resurrected committal proceedings against me and I thought it was a wise move to remove material which I probably didn't want them to be able to access. So therefore I removed the hard drive to my machine and deposited it with a friend. And when Panorama came knocking, clearly that computer was of evidential value and it was my wife, actually, who remembered that I'd removed it for safe storage. So that became the focus.
Q. During the course of the Panorama interview of you and I've seen it for myself you were provided with a sheaf of printed-off emails, I believe, which you were told had been obtained from your computer. Now
A. Well
Q. did you confirm that to the Panorama interviewer during the course of that interview?
A. In fairness, sir, the fax that I was shown on screen, which was the first time I'd seen is it, from memory I think was a three-page fax. I know later, from my own identifications I've identified it's a seven-page fax. That fax actually had not only material from my computer there was one specific extract from an email which I was familiar with and recognised but it also had other material which hadn't directly been connected to my machine. So it was a composite. It was a precis of information which they had collected and had forwarded to Dublin.
Q. Yes, but amongst that information I'm just focusing on one aspect of it was there transcripts of emails which had been sent by or to you?
A. Yes, there was extracts. They'd actually cut and pasted emails out, so they were the original.
Q. You tell us in your statement that the extracts of those emails had been sent by fax to the Dublin office of News of the World on 5 July 2006; is that correct?
A. That's correct, sir, yes.
Q. Naturally enough this is so obvious it goes without saying you must have been very surprised by that information?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. You say in paragraph 11, in terms of the technology, that at least for an expert it's not that difficult to hack into emails. You use a worm called the Trojan. Is that right?
A. That's correct, sir, yes.
Q. We've heard reference to that. The way the Trojan is usually administered, if that is the right verb
A. That's right, yes.
Q. is that it's sent by email from X.
A. Yes.
Q. Usually the email has to be from a source you recognise, otherwise you won't open it as a matter of common sense.
A. Indeed.
Q. You open the email and the effect of opening the email is to trigger a process whereby the Trojan starts burying into your hard drive, put very, very simply. Is that it?
A. Well, yes. In reality, sir, the type of Trojan which is deployed by newspapers or private detectives isn't that sophisticated and you have to open an attachment. The ones which would be used by governmental agencies would be
Q. Well
A. for instance, would be on a microdot, on a full stop, so you wouldn't need to open the attachment, but the reason that is relevant, sir, is because in my case I had to either me or one of the family members would have had to have opened an attachment. But that's been helpful for forensic examination because clearly there's an audit trail to that actual action.
Q. Thank you. Can we be precise then as to how this might have happened in your case? You take up the narrative in paragraph 12 of your witness statement, Mr Hurst. What you were told by the BBC, through their reporter, who is Mr Vivian White, was that they had ascertained that someone at the News of the World had engaged a private investigator to target you. Is that correct?
A. That's correct, sir, yes.
Q. We're not naming that someone at the News of the World or the private investigator for these purposes. That private investigator had then employed a private detective specialising in applying and controlling computer viruses to do the hacking job, and this individual, who is the specialist hacker, as it were, was someone who was known to you, having served with you in the intelligence community in Northern Ireland for over three years; is that correct?
A. That's correct, sir.
Q. That individual, the specialist hacker, we're going to call X for these purposes. Fair enough. During the making of the documentary, you asked if you could confront Mr X about what you'd learnt to allow him, as it were, to record his position; is that right?
A. Well, not true, sir. Let me just explain to you why. I was aware that there was probably gaps in knowledge at the BBC, and the reality is we needed to confront him and it was my suggestion that we confront him. It wouldn't be normal for the BBC to allow a member of the public to go and confront, possibly in a hostile environment, these type of characters but clearly I was intent on doing that and they sought and were given permission to do that. So I was aware there was a gap in knowledge and I needed to extract that information to be able to put together the jigsaw puzzle.
Q. What happened is I think you telephoned Mr X, you sought to arrange a meeting with him and it culminated in a meeting at a local hotel; is that correct?
A. That's correct, sir, yes.
Q. As you say in your statement, X said he was not surprised that you had made contact as someone else had told him two or three days earlier that Panorama were sniffing about.
A. Yes.
Q. The meeting with Mr X at this local hotel was secretly filmed by you; is that correct?
A. That's correct, sir, yeah.
Q. And some of that film was shown on the Panorama programme; is that correct?
A. Yes. When he I won't name the person, but when he names the person within the media who directed him to carry out that act.
Q. Then you say that when the meeting had finished, X agreed to let Mr Scott he's the producer of Panorama "be present for the summary of the points we had talked about". Is that right?
A. Yeah, I did that, sir, because I'm well-versed that mechanical means could fail, so the covert recording may fail, so it made sense to if he was agreeable, to bring in the producer and we did a complete review of the information which he voluntarily passed to me.
Q. I want to be clear, please, Mr Hurst, what your evidence is as to what Mr X told you and therefore which you have recorded. This is paragraph 14 of your witness statement.
A. Okay.
Q. Can you tell us, please, in your own words what Mr X told you? Maybe you don't want to the depart from paragraph 14. If so, just read it out.
A. No, I can quickly precis it for you.
Q. Thank you.
A. We had a meeting and bear in mind I had known Mr X for a number of years and we had a drink, and in a relaxed atmosphere, he made it clear that these events took place a long time ago and there had been a lot much water under the bridge. He there was nothing personal in it, it was purely professional instruction, which I accepted and remain to this day accepting that position, and he outlined the majority of people involved in the conspiracy. I say "the majority". He was keen to leave out one or two for his own personal reasons, and I was happy for that to continue. And he more or less charted the events from the middle of June 2006 he states for a three-month period, and all documents he could access via the back door Trojan: our emails, the hard drive, social media, the whole range of I mean, he didn't say this, but the Trojan that we've identified would have allowed the cam, your web cam, so he could have actually seen me or my kids at the desk.
Q. Yes, but we don't know yet from your evidence precisely as to how this Trojan got into your machine. Could you tell us about that?
A. Well, we know that because he has admitted he placed it. We know that because forensically there is a Trojan on the hard drive, and we know or I should say I have seen the evidence of the material which was recovered from my hard drive.
Q. Did he tell you that he'd sent an email to you from a bogus address that you'd opened, clearly you must have opened the attachment, and it's by that means that the Trojan entered your hard drive?
A. Yes.
Q. Can we be clear as to the secret address, because what he said to you in the interview and I have the transcript of it here and I've checked it itself against the DVD, which, as I said, I viewed yesterday morning you asked him: "How did you get it off my computer? Just I'm [and then some words bleeped out] curious here. "Question: Easy. Then Mr X said it wasn't that hard, and he laughed. Is that right so far?
A. That's very true, sir, yes.
Q. And then you said: "No, okay." Then Mr X said: "I sent you an email that you opened and that's it, it's in."
A. It's in.
Q. Then your question was: "From [and then words bleeped out] or from somebody else?" And he said: "No, I think I sent it from, erm, a bogus email address." Is that right?
A. That's what he says, yeah.
Q. Then you said: "Do I have to open it in an " And then he said: "It's off now, it's gone. It shouldn't even be on. It shouldn't remain on the hard drive." What he then says is that it's programmed to be on the hard drive for three months.
A. Yes.
Q. And then, as if were, in "Mission: Impossible" terms, it self-destructs. Is that the sort of
A. It does, but forensically there's always fragmentation.
Q. What he's saying to you then is that correct is it was he who sent it to you from a bogus email address? Would you agree with that?
A. I agree that's what he said. I don't necessarily agree that's what happened.
Q. Because in your witness statement at paragraph 14, you suggest something different, that it may have come from a trusted media contact?
A. Yes.
Q. From a well-known newspaper?
A. Yes.
Q. Is that right?
A. I do, sir, yeah.
Q. To be clear about that, your witness statement is your own deduction or inference? It may be obtained from some various of evidence
A. No, it's evidence-based, sir. It's evidence-based upon the forensic examination, the direct confrontation with the again, we won't name him, but there is, subsequent to this statement, further confrontation by me with the an individual who I'll give you an example, sir. Before we'd even had the machine examined, on 30 July I received a phone call from a former Times Newspaper senior person who stated that he'd received a phone call that morning and that they, the Times, the Sunday Times, wanted him to ring me
Q. To be fair, Mr Hurst, this isn't in your witness statement?
A. It isn't, sir, because it's happened this week but I'm giving you some context as to
Q. There's a bit of a problem about this. Can I just point it out to you? I'm not seeking to stop what you're saying, but if it isn't in your witness statement, the Inquiry hasn't received notice and
A. Absolutely, sir. I'm just trying to give you a bit of context but if you don't want to take it, we can do it in part 2. I can give you the phone records and you can listen to it yourself.
Q. Can we just divide this up into two parts and see if we can agree to this extent?
A. Okay.
Q. That in terms of what Mr X told you, rather than what you may have learnt subsequently, what he was telling you was it was he who'd sent you the bogus email?
A. Indeed, sir.
Q. But in terms of what you may have learnt subsequently, can we agree to this extent: that you have a different interpretation?
A. Well, it's not an interpretation, sir. People tell you porky pies and you're trying to work out deduce the wood from the trees, and you do that by evidence, not from conjecture.
Q. Yes. Unless someone says otherwise, that's as far as I want to go into that issue. You've made your position very clear, if I may say so, and maybe it has to be investigated further in part 2.
A. I think it will be, sir.
Q. In some months, if not some considerable time in the future. Can I go to paragraph 15, please, Mr Hurst.
A. Just before we move off on Mr X no, okay, okay. Let's go to 15. We can do it at the end.
Q. Mr X also told you he'd attended a meeting in Leeds in mid-2006 with someone, another News of the World journalist: "Apparently X's, instructions were to obtain information and documents about activities connected to [your] ongoing investigations relating to matters in Northern Ireland. X confirmed to you that he had supplied the information obtained from my computer to others involved in the conspiracy." Is that part of the tape you have of Mr X?
A. We've got 14 hours' supplementary taping in addition to Panorama, but on Panorama he details this. As I say, that's contained that's an extract basically taken from the filming and also with the separate recordings that we had obtained independently.
Q. So the unusual feature of your case is that the targeting of you is likely to have been not for the purpose of investigating issues relating to your personal privacy, if I can describe it in those terms
A. Absolutely.
Q. but perhaps in a very different and, in one sense, sinister way, matters bearing upon your work in the intelligence community in Northern Ireland and any aftermath which flowed from that. Is that a fair analysis of it?
A. I don't think that's a fair analysis, sir. I think they were looking to obtain a commercial advantage as well.
Q. Yes.
A. By necessity, but equally that information that they were looking to obtain, because I was living in a foreign jurisdiction, was more than useful to others which some of these people have close associations to, which again will be a part 2 matter and not necessarily for part 1.
Q. Thank you. You say in paragraph 16 that you also think they were trying to obtain information on an IRA informer or informant; is that correct?
A. He has told me that. That's what's contained in Panorama.
Q. Thank you. In paragraph 17, you give a general opinion, which you're, of course, quite entitled to give, but more specifically in paragraph 18: "Police have admitted to me that documents and hardware seized in 2007 during the arrest of [someone whose name has been redacted] showed that the security of my computer had been compromised and information had been obtained from it." The position was reinforced by the arrest of X during 2009 when further information was obtained from his seized computers. You weren't told by the police of hacking of your computer until October of this year; is that correct?
A. That's correct, sir, yeah.
Q. Which police force are we talking about here?
A. Metropolitan Police.
Q. Thank you.
A. Can I put it into slightly more understandable symmetry?
Q. Of course.
A. The police were aware in February 2007, when documents were recovered from a hard drive involved in a separate investigation. At that stage, they were aware that not only my documents but that the phone records of the person that I refer to in the statement that his phone records had been obtained and that News of the World had paid ?850 for that. At that stage, when they because me and the subject of that phone record are intimately linked, for one reason or another, they the police were aware in 2007, directly, unambiguously, that I and my family's security had been compromised and they took a decision not to inform us. That information was then leaked a matter of weeks later to a journalist, who will be giving evidence to this Inquiry shortly, and it was then produced in a book which was published in 2008, but unfortunately I didn't see sight of that book and wasn't aware of it. And then in April of 2009, when Mr X was arrested, again documents which clearly show that mine and specifically that my wife's information had been accessed my wife's a nurse, and they had obtained her CV, her PIN number and other associated documents concerned with our telephone, our address, and that information had then been passed on to a further specialist person, who I'm well aware of and well acquainted with his techniques, who then obtains the exact people that you are dialling, so the phone records. So there's copious amounts of knowledge that the police had. But more worryingly, my investigations identified the Serious Organised Crime Agency had possession of documents and computers which were relevant to me. I then made contact with the Serious Organised Crime Agency and engineered a meeting, a confrontation, which is video-recorded, two hours, and I put a series of questions to them, which is quite heated in points. I then write to the director general of the Serious Organised Crime Agency, inviting him to I detailed my children this is for key word purposes, so there's no excuse, me, and a whole range of subjects and then requested him to inform us of any documentation that he holds, and he politely refused, citing a public interest. And then we exchanged further communication, which I'm more than happy to provide under discovery to his Honour, and he then relented subsequently, which was very good of him, and passed it to the MPS. So I don't my major bone of contention here today is focused upon those who have knowingly contrived and have conspired to place me and my family in a position of danger. MR JAY It sounds as if, Mr Hurst, that apart from you being of considerable assistance to the Inquiry now, will continue to be of assistance to the Inquiry in part 2, when that takes place, but I think for present purposes, that's all I have to ask of you, Mr Hurst. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Hmm. Yes. Thank you very much.
A. Thank you, sir. Can I take this opportunity because we're dealing with culture and the way that they have operated, can I read out a very short sentence which encapsulates, from the hackers' point of view, exactly the mindset? LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Where is this sentence from?
A. It's from the Panorama programme. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON All right. MR JAY That's fair enough.
A. I actually have the recording, sir, but I wouldn't be so bold as to play it without your permission. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON You can read it.
A. This, I think, sums it up: "Then again, when all this was happening, Andy Coulson was the editor and he is fucking big pals with a lot of powerful people, including top police officers." That is exactly what you're dealing with here, ladies and gents: corruption. Just to reiterate on that, sir, when that sentence was made to me, I then investigated further, as I made clear in my statement, and I would ask, sir, with respect, that you make it clear to the MPS that they provide with you all intelligence of police corruption, including at the very highest level, because it is there, sir. I've seen it. It's out there in journalistic circles today and it's incumbent upon the MPS to provide to you all material which is relevant to the culture and practice, which has resulted in this debacle. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I would certainly be very keen to see any evidence that goes to the culture of the relationship between the press and the police, because that is the module to which I am going to turn when I have concluded this particular phase of the Inquiry.
A. The reason I make that point, sir I understand it's for part two, and as I make clear LORD JUSTICE LEVESON No, it's not quite part two; it's module two. It's the next bit.
A. Okay. The documentation that I've seen and others have seen, including Parliamentarians, clearly shows the corruptness which was allowed to continue and the culture was encouraged, which would not have allowed phone hacking or computer hacking to have taken place over such a sustained period if it didn't have the cover and the protection of very senior police officers. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Let's unpick that a bit, Mr Hurst. If you have any documentation
A. Absolutely, sir. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON that impacts upon that issue, then I'd be very grateful if you would send it in to the Inquiry.
A. I think it's incumbent upon the MPS first to make a full disclosure to you, sir. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON It may be it is, it may be it isn't, but if I know what I'm looking before because you've provided me with it then I can
A. I'm sure if you speak to Mr Davies, who's coming to tomorrow, he'll confirm the existence of it. But it is a matter, sir it is a serious matter. There's a lot of material out there which the MPS hopefully have already disclosed to you, but I understand from your tone now that you haven't seen it. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON No, no, don't draw any inferences from my reaction to your observations. That would be quite wrong.
A. Okay, sir. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON All I do say is that if you have any documentation that you think will assist the Inquiry in relation to any of the modules that I'm now currently considering that's press and the public, which I'm now doing, press and the police and press and politicians if you pass it through to the Inquiry, then it will be given appropriate attention.
A. I do say in the final paragraph that we will be making a detailed submission for part 2, so, you know. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes, ma'am.
A. All this will happen in due course, I'm certain, sir, but I'd like to just stress, sir, it is really it's not for the member of the public to do the work of the MPS here. The MPS have let society down. They should be making a full disclosure to you. I've written to them, asking them to make those documents available to you. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes, Mr Hurst, that's as may be, but what I don't want to do
A. I understand. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON is to dance around the topic. I need to know what I need to know. If you can help point me in the direction of what questions I should ask, pointed questions
A. Absolutely. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON then provide it, and the fact that you've done it as a member of the public as opposed to the police having volunteered doesn't matter to me. I just need to know. What I don't know is what I don't know. Do you see the point?
A. I take your point, sir. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Right. But this isn't part 2 of the terms of reference.
A. No, I understand. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Which, of course, is some time off.
A. I understand, sir. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Right. Thank you very much. MR JAY The next witness is Ms Jane Winter, please. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Thank you. MS JANE SARAH JOY WINTER (affirmed) Questions from MR JAY MR JAY Make yourself comfortable, please.
A. Thank you.
Q. Your full name, please?
A. Jane Sarah Joy Winter.
Q. Thank you. You provided a witness statement to the Inquiry on 11 November. It's quite short.
A. Yes.
Q. You've signed it and you say at the end that you believe the facts contained in this statement are true. So that's your primary evidence. You've also provided a supplemental statement but we've agreed, I think, that we will cover that in part 2, if we may, and therefore can we proceed with your first statement. You're a director of British Irish Rights Watch, and you give your professional address. Could you tell us about that organisation?
A. Yes. It was set up in 1990. We're a registered charity and we monitor the human rights dimension of the conflict and the peace process in Northern Ireland.
Q. Do you adopt a political position? What are the aims and objects of your organisation?
A. We're absolutely not political. We work with people on all sides of the community. Our own criteria is whether their human rights have been affected by the conflict or not, and we'll assist people from all walks of life who have sadly been affected by the conflict. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Ms Winter, thank you very much for making this statement and coming today. I'm sure you heard me say to Mr Hurst that the conflict in Northern Ireland is an extra dimension to this problem that I am considering, which is an extra dimension among many other dimensions, and I'm sure you will understand why that aspect of it could be an Inquiry of its own I'm not suggesting there should be one, but it could be and therefore to keep within my terms of reference, I have to be rather careful about how far I go. I hope you understand that that's not a discourtesy to you and it's not a demonstration of lack of interest. I hope it could be considered a demonstration of focus on what I really have to pay attention to.
A. Thank you. MR JAY Ms Winter, you've seen Mr Hurst's witness statement. It goes without saying that you've heard his evidence this morning, but in terms of where you fit in, this is made clear from paragraph 2 of your witness statement, that he told you in July 2011 that email communications and documents which you had sent to him, of course amongst other people, had been illegally accessed; is that right?
A. That's right.
Q. Before he told you that, were you aware that this sort of thing had been going on?
A. I was aware that his computer had been hacked, but I didn't know that correspondence from me was involved until that stage.
Q. Thank you. Have you been interviewed by the Metropolitan Police in relation to these matters?
A. Yes.
Q. Have you seen evidence which confirms what Mr Hurst told you, namely that emails and associated communications that you sent him were unlawfully accessed?
A. What the police showed me was attachments to emails that I had sent to Ian Hurst. They didn't show me the actual emails. It looked as if whoever did the hacking had extracted the attachments and that's what they were interested in, not my covering note, as it were, in the email.
Q. We're not going to go into what the attachments contained or anything more about them, save to make the general observation that they might well have been highly confidential, if not sensitive; is that right?
A. They were both very confidential and sensitive, yes.
Q. Thank you. So what your evidence demonstrates and this perhaps is fairly obvious is that if you hack into one person's computer, you will see a panoply of information of a confidential nature which may be derived from third parties such as yourself?
A. Indeed. I should perhaps say that I'm not in a position to know whether my own computer had been hacked because I no longer have that computer in my possession and when I replaced it, the hard drive was wiped and the computer was given away to a charity that gives computers to poorer people, so it's no longer available. That's the only other possible explanation I can think of as to why Mr X had possession of these documents.
Q. You make a number of bullet points in paragraph 3. I think we've really covered the first bullet point. The second bullet point is the ongoing ripple effects of this, Ms Winter. The first is at the top of the page, that persons/organisations sending material to you that you passed on to Mr Hurst have had their documents accessed. So it's not just you, but people further down the line, as it were?
A. That's right. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Once you're into somebody's computer, then you can see everything that that person has sent or received, including communications that have been sent to that person which might themselves have been forwarded from any number of different sources. It becomes, if not a mushroom, at least an ever-expanding circle?
A. That's right, sir. MR JAY Thank you. In your own words: "This ripple effect is particularly chilling for an organisation such as BIRW, which handles extremely sensitive and confidential documents and information. Unauthorised access to that material has the potential to compromise both official investigations and the safety of individuals, including myself."
A. That's right.
Q. Indeed. In the final bullet point: "It is not clear what the purpose of taking my documents and communications was in this case. The material does not readily appear to be newsworthy and it is not clear that it was obtained for the purposes of publication. Even though the evidence in Ian Hurst's statement (paragraph 15) appears to indicate that the hacking was conducted at the request of a journalist working for News International, it is not apparent that my documents were taken solely for publication as news stories. Therefore, the possibility of the hacking having another purpose rather than simply gathering news stories must be contemplated and investigated." That's a very reasonable inference, I think.
A. In fact, the material that came into Mr X's possession had appeared in the newspapers as long as three years earlier, so it clearly wasn't about simply trying to find a story to put in the paper.
Q. Without going into your supplementary statement, at least at this stage, is there anything else you would like to add to assist the Inquiry with, Ms Winter?
A. I'd simply like to say that from the point of view of my organisation, we really rely on trust and confidentiality, and we do deal with people from all sides of a very difficult situation in Northern Ireland, and when I first heard that these documents had been compromised, my first thought was: if all of the people that we help hear about this, they will lose confidence in us, through no fault of our own, through nothing that we have done, and that's a very chilling thought for our organisation. We can only hope that the trust that we've built up over the years will convince people who work with us that we can still be trusted, but it is a real issue for us that this could dent our reputation for confidentiality. MR JAY Thank you. That's very clear. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I understand, thank you. Thank you very much indeed. Thank you. Right. We have two witnesses left. I am very keen to resolve what I should be doing about the statement and promulgating the order that I made, and I think, subject to how long it's thought the two witnesses will take and their convenience, it may be appropriate to do that now. Help me, Mr Jay. MR JAY Our belief is that according full and appropriate time to the last two witnesses, were we to start at 2 o'clock, we would conclude both of them by 4.30, and therefore the important administrative matters to which you refer, which I need to take some oversight of, if I could do that over an extended lunchbreak, we can start at 2 o'clock and there will be no difficulty receiving all this evidence. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON All right. How about restarting at 1.45? That gives us just a little bit of leeway in the afternoon, if we should need it. MR JAY Certainly. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Mr Sherborne, do you disagree with that which Mr Jay has said? MR JAY Sir, not at all. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Very good. MR SHERBORNE Just so I'm clear, does Mr Jay have an idea as to how long we may take at the beginning of the afternoon session, which is going to start at 1.45, to deal with what I might call the administrative issues? LORD JUSTICE LEVESON No, I might have dealt with them already and I will only come and ask your assistance if I feel it necessary. I have to deal with Mr Caplan's point, but that may or may not collapse; we'll see. If it's necessary, I would deal with them after I've dealt with the witnesses. If the witnesses are here and ready to go, I'm not going to keep them waiting. MR SHERBORNE Sir, I'm grateful, I understand. I can tell them that we'll start at 1.45 with their evidence. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I think that's right, subject to two or three minutes if I want to expatiate about something or other. MR SHERBORNE I'm sure, sir. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Could I say in relation to another matter that the ruling that I intended to give in relation to the protocol is available and is either now or very shortly will be on the website together with a finalised protocol. Thank you. (12.12 pm)


Gave a statement at the hearing on 28 November 2011 (AM) ; and submitted 1 pieces of evidence
Gave statements at the hearings on 28 November 2011 (AM) and 28 February 2012 (PM) ; and submitted 4 pieces of evidence
Gave a statement at the hearing on 28 November 2011 (AM) ; and submitted 2 pieces of evidence


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