RESEARCH TOOLS


Afternoon Hearing on Thursday, December 15, 2011

Derek Webb gave a statement at this hearing

Hearing Transcript

(2.00 pm) MS PATRY HOSKINS Good afternoon, sir. The only witness this afternoon is Mr Derek Webb. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Certainly. MR DEREK WEBB (sworn) Questions by MS PATRY HOSKINS MS PATRY HOSKINS Mr Webb, if you would sit down and make yourself comfortable. Do you have a bundle in front of you with a number of tabs?
A. Yes, I have.
Q. First of all, could you state your full name to the Inquiry, please?
A. Yes, Derek Frank Webb.
Q. You've provided us with a witness statement to the Inquiry. For the technician, it's 515506. You've signed it at the end. We can see that. Can you confirm that the contents of it are true to the best of your knowledge and belief?
A. That is correct.
Q. Can I say this before I ask you any questions: your exhibits to your statement contain the names of a large number of people that you placed under surveillance whilst you worked for News of the World. It is really important, Mr Webb, that you don't mention any of their names when you answer my questions. On some occasions, I will refer to a person by name, and then it's fine for you to answer my questions, but for legal reasons, I'd rather you didn't mention any individual by name unless I have.
A. I agree.
Q. Do you understand?
A. Yes.
Q. I'm going to start, please, by asking you about your career and your background. This is set out at paragraph 1 of your statement, which you can open. It should be behind tab 2, in fact. Do you see that? You explain that you worked for many years in the police force, that you were a detective with the Hertfordshire constabulary and you retired after 30 years' service; is that correct?
A. That's correct.
Q. You tell us there that you retired from the police force on 12 November. You don't tell us which year that was?
A. That is 12 November 19 sorry, 2003.
Q. 2003. You tell us that during your years with the police force, you were mainly a detective constable, but for a period of over 15 years you were attached to various squads where you were engaged in the investigation of serious crime, specifically conducting surveillance on major criminals.
A. That is correct.
Q. For this work, you say that you've been trained to a very high level of competency and you'd completed several specialist surveillance courses?
A. That is correct.
Q. Would you say, then, that you were someone who had a specialist knowledge of surveillance techniques?
A. Yes.
Q. This was one of your specialisms?
A. Yes.
Q. Let me ask you this: you worked in the police force for almost all of your professional life. I know you went on to work for News of the World and I'll ask you about that in a moment, but prior to working for the News of the World, had you ever worked as a journalist?
A. No.
Q. Had you ever worked as a freelance journalist?
A. No.
Q. Had you published any stories in newspapers in any capacity?
A. No.
Q. So your only specialism, am I right, was being a police officer?
A. That is correct.
Q. And one who specialised, amongst other things, in surveillance?
A. That is correct.
Q. Okay. You then tell us that you went on to undertake surveillance for News of the World, spanning a period of over eight years, from 17 December 2003 until the newspaper closed in July 2011; yes? With a break in the middle of about 15 or 16 months?
A. That's correct.
Q. Which I'll come back to. Is that all correct?
A. Yes.
Q. The break, you tell us, was between 20 November 2007 and 20 March 2009.
A. That's correct.
Q. You'll have to accept the dates from me unless they're within your personal knowledge. I just want to understand the eras of the News of the World that you were working in. Between 2003 and January 2007, Mr Coulson was editor?
A. Yes.
Q. Did you know that?
A. Yes.
Q. Good. Mr Myler became editor at the end of January 2007 and you were still there because you didn't have your break until November 2007?
A. That is correct.
Q. Then from 2009 to 2011, Mr Myler was the editor?
A. That is correct.
Q. So those are the editors that you worked under, if I can put it that way.
A. Yes.
Q. You tell us also in general terms that during this time, the period spanning eight years, you placed approximately 150 different people under surveillance on instruction from the News of the World; is that correct?
A. That is correct.
Q. Okay. Let me take your time at News of the World chronologically, if I can. Let's start back at 2003 when you first came to be instructed to do work for News of the World. I want to the understand how you came to work for News of the World. You set this out at paragraph 3 of your statement in some detail, and you explain that while you were still employed by Hertfordshire constabulary and working as a detective in the CID department at Watford police station, you were instructed by your supervisor to execute a warrant on an address where a man was allegedly making section 1 firearms. Your brief, you say, contained the fact that the intelligence had originated from Neville Thurlbeck, a reporter for News of the World.
A. That is correct.
Q. Do you remember that?
A. Yes, I do.
Q. And that the story of the arrest was going to appear in the Sunday edition the newspaper. You were additionally told that Mr Thurlbeck had worked undercover on the case. Do you remember that?
A. Yes.
Q. You say following the arrest you met with Thurlbeck on several occasions regarding the preparation of the case papers. What I want you to do is tell me in your own words the conversations you had about what your intentions for the future were.
A. Yes, just had a conversation with Neville Thurlbeck. He'd asked me what I'd been doing in the police force and I told him, and told him that I specialised in undercover as well as surveillance, but mainly surveillance, and I told him when I was going to retire and he actually said, "Well, look me up when you retire. We might have some work for you in relation to the surveillance side."
Q. You don't give us a date for this conversation.
A. No, I don't. This went over probably a period of about six months while I was doing the preparing the case papers and whatever. So it would have been I don't have the exact date for that.
Q. That's fine?
A. It's sometime at the back end of 1999/2000, somewhere around about that particular period, but I can't be certain on the dates.
Q. All right. You told us earlier that you retired on 12 November 2003?
A. 3.
Q. So presumably then you made contact with him when you retired; is that correct?
A. That's correct.
Q. How did you do that?
A. I contacted he left me his card, and I contacted him. He was one of several persons I contacted, not from News of the World but contacts I'd made through setting up my own business, that I was going to set up my own business.
Q. Can you recall what he said to you when you did make contact with him?
A. Yes, I do. He says, "We have got work for you", and he says, "If you bear with us for a week or so, or a few weeks, I'll get a back to you on that with some work for you", which he did.
Q. Did he ask you to enter into a written contract with News of the World at that stage?
A. No.
Q. You explain to us that when you began to work for News of the World, you operated under the company name of Silent Shadow Services?
A. That is correct.
Q. Was that a company that you had set up for the purpose?
A. I set it up only by name. It wasn't set up through Companies House or anything like that at that stage. I was going to, and everything was going to be set up as a proper business, but having had the phone call from Mr Thurlbeck and started work, it developed from there, so it only went under a company name for the sole purpose of the invoice that I sent in to News of the World.
Q. I understand. So that was the name that appeared on your invoices?
A. That's right.
Q. It's the name you traded under?
A. Yes.
Q. For the purposes of the work you were doing?
A. Yes, and for tax purposes as well.
Q. Did you have a private investigator's licence at this time?
A. I did get a private investigator's licence, and it wasn't straight away. I applied for that through a company, and I filled in a number of forms, giving details and everything, police service and whatever, and I got a private investigator's licence.
Q. Was that a requirement of News of the World?
A. No.
Q. Was that something that you yourself
A. That's something I done. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Did it give you any advantage?
A. It was only that if I was doing surveillance and I got stopped by the police, I would have some sort of authority in relation to doing private investigations licence, in case people phoned up on suspicion there was somebody in the street acting suspiciously. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON So it was not so much as giving you authority to at least provide some evidential support for what you told the police officer?
A. Yes, that's it. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes. MS PATRY HOSKINS So you've told us you got a PI licence, you set up this company, you started work for News of the World. No written contract. If you look behind tab 11, please, you will see a document that you have prepared, "Working schedule from December 2003 to December 2004". Do you see that?
A. Yes, I do.
Q. Technician, it's 51548 on the screen. December 2003 to December 2004. As I said before, please don't mention any names. There are names on this. Please don't mention any.
A. No.
Q. We can see your work took off quite quickly. If we look at the range of dates, you start December 2003. Wednesday 17 December to the 19th, you were put on a job in London. You're then called upon again, number 2, 30 December. Then 6 January, 7 January, 11 January, 22 January. I don't want to read through every single date, but it's obvious they got you to work quickly. Would that be a fair assessment?
A. That is correct. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON It probably needs a bit more picking out, doesn't it? What's a shift?
A. A shift is eight hours. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Thank you. MS PATRY HOSKINS Yes. The invoice only states three shifts, so a shift was
A. A shift was 8 hours. A shift and a half was 12 hours, and there was always a grey area in between which I didn't get paid for.
Q. What do you mean by a grey area in between?
A. A lot of times, they asked me to do 8 o'clock to 4, so the shift would finish at 4 and there was something happening and the surveillance was continuing, or the news desk would say, "Can you stay on for another couple of hours", and I'd stay on for 6 o'clock, but I could only book for the eight hours, the one shift, until the shift and a half arrived at 12 hours. And then again so there was another grey area between 13, 14 and 15, until 16 appeared for the two shifts.
Q. I understand. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON So your shifts were rounded down?
A. Yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON All right. I understand that. MS PATRY HOSKINS If we look at the final page of this particular exhibit, you'll see that between the period December 2003 and December 2004, you worked a total of 207 shifts, totalling 1,656 hours worked. Grey area never paid: 99 hours.
A. Correct.
Q. I mention that for the purpose of the judge. You assessed that to be a total of 12 days with no pay at all. Total hours away from home: 101 hours, 30 minutes, for which no additional payment for working away was authorised.
A. That is correct.
Q. And you explain just under the heading to that section: "Between 17 December 2003 and 22 December 2004, I worked 42 weeks as outlined."
A. That is correct.
Q. Would it be fair to say that you felt that you were working for News of the World right from the outset pretty much full-time?
A. Yes, employed by them, yes.
Q. Now, no names, but if we cast our eye over the three pages of that exhibit, we can see the types of jobs that you were put on from the start. Unfortunately those who only have redacted versions won't, but can you agree with me, please, Mr Webb, that it's a combination of LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I have a version where they're greyed out. MS PATRY HOSKINS Mr Webb has a version
A. These are not greyed out. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I think it might be better if he sees I mean, can you read the names?
A. Yes, I can. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON That's fair enough. I don't want you to say the names, as Ms Patry Hoskins has said. MS PATRY HOSKINS Just for your information, there are three different versions: the version he has that is unredacted, the version you have where you can still read the names, and the version which, I'm delighted to say, is on the screen, where there are no names. That was deliberate. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes. MS PATRY HOSKINS We can agree, can't we, it's a combination of politicians, celebrities and sports stars in the main?
A. In the main, yes.
Q. I'll come back to the breakdown of exactly the type of people you were placing under surveillance a bit later, if I can. Now, I want to ask you about how you would be instructed, so how a job would come in, how you would find out about it. You handed to the Inquiry yesterday an email which should look like this. Sir, we just handed it to you now. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes, I've seen it. MS PATRY HOSKINS It's heavily redacted, for obvious reasons, but it appears to be an email to you from someone at the News of the World?
A. That is correct.
Q. Giving you the job: "Hi mate, the story is this: X is having an affair with a woman called Y. She is the wife of X's best mate. They live at [an address] I don't have pictures of her husband. I have pictures of her." Then it gives you a short email from a researcher and says: "All the best and call if needed."
A. That's correct.
Q. Now, am I right in saying that this is an email instruction to you to carry out a job?
A. Yes.
Q. This one is dated 6 May 2011, but can you tell us whether it is representative of the type of instruction that you would get to carry out a job?
A. Yes. The instructions would be I'd normally get a phone call from someone from the news desk.
Q. Yes.
A. Or from journalists that might have been elsewhere but he was connected to the news desk and he'd been asked by the news desk to give me a call. They would instruct me on a job and say, "Could you go to this location and follow X, Y and Z?" They'd give me the address. Not all the time they would follow it up with an email. On occasions, they would follow it up with an email with other details. If there was no other email to forward out, I'd just be getting the details of the address and that would be it. So I'd write the address down and head there.
Q. Okay. So to summarise, over the course of the years, you would receive instructions by phone call, text message, email?
A. Yes.
Q. Any other means?
A. No, they were the main
Q. But in terms of the instructions that you received by email, is this email fairly typical of the type of email that you would receive?
A. Yes, it is.
Q. I want to pick you up on one thing. You said the call or the message would come through from the news desk. Was it always the news desk?
A. It was always the news desk was the hub of everything, and that was where all the information came from, but I would get calls from different journalists. So it wouldn't be from a journalist that might be at the news desk at that particular point, he might be somewhere else in the country, but he might have been asked by the news desk to give me a call. But he would always refer: "We have had a tip", or: "The news desk want you to do this particular job."
Q. So your understanding was the instructions pretty much always came from or through the news desk?
A. Yes.
Q. Can I ask you this: did you ever receive an instruction which contained within it the transcript of a text message or a phone conversation or a voicemail message?
A. No.
Q. So that's 2003. I've taken you through how you were instructed and the types of jobs that you did. We know that you then worked until November 2007 before you had this break. Can I move on to 2007? Remember we discussed the periods when the different editors worked? By the time that Colin Myler was appointed editor at the end of January 2007, you'd been working for News of the World for about three years?
A. That is correct.
Q. What I want to understand is: did you know there had been a change of editor at News of the World?
A. I was aware.
Q. At that time, you were aware?
A. I was aware, yes.
Q. Did you notice, in terms of the work that you were given, any difference after Mr Coulson left and Mr Myler started? In terms of the work you were given or the types of assignments you were given, how regularly you were instructed, anything like that? Was there any appreciable difference between Mr Coulson's reign and Mr Myler's reign?
A. No, no.
Q. Did you suddenly, for example, get fewer types of certain assignments, fewer celebrity assignments, or was the language used by journalists any different when they were instructing you?
A. No, no. The journalists would change. There would be journalists come in and journalists go out and go to other newspapers.
Q. So journalists came and went?
A. That's right.
Q. But no appreciable difference in the type of work you were given?
A. No, it was the same type of work.
Q. Any change in the tips that you were given?
A. No.
Q. You may not know this, but Mr Myler sent a letter to all staff on 7 February 2007 referring to the use of private investigators. Were you aware of that letter?
A. No, I wasn't.
Q. Did any of the staff instructing you ever refer to that letter?
A. No.
Q. Did you receive a copy of the PCC code at this time?
A. No.
Q. We're talking early 2007.
A. No.
Q. Were you ever given a copy of the PCC code?
A. No.
Q. Still on 2007, please, I need to ask you about something Mr Crone said in evidence to this Inquiry. Did you hear or watch Mr Crone's evidence to this Inquiry at all?
A. No, not all. Not all of it.
Q. Okay, I'm going to read out relevant parts. For your note, sir, and for the note of those who were here, it's the 13 December transcript, it's behind tab 20 in your bundle, and it's pages 42 to 43. It might be behind 20 in your bundle, but it doesn't matter because I'm going to read it out. I'm going to start on page 41 of the transcript. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON 41, line MS PATRY HOSKINS Right at the bottom, line 23. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Thank you. MS PATRY HOSKINS Mr Jay is asking Mr Crone some questions and I'm going to read them out to you because you don't have it in front of you and you may not have seen this particular part. Mr Jay is asking Mr Crone about something that he has said already: "After the arrest and conviction of Clive Goodman, a new editor, Colin Myler, came to the News of the World and introduced a number of measures to tighten controls and procedures in order to eliminate illegal or unethical practices." Now, he then refers, on page 42, first to a number of others things and at the top of page 43, Mr Jay continues on in the statement of Mr Crone: "I'm aware that all editorial staff were written to, cash payments were virtually eliminated, a fresh programme and training days were initiated and the use of private detectives was forbidden." Then Mr Jay goes on to ask him about cash payment, which doesn't concern us and I'm going to ignore. At the bottom of page 44, Mr Jay comes back to the issue of private detectives and says this at line 17: "The use of private detectives was forbidden. Was that really the case?" Mr Crone answers: "Well, as I understand, that was the case. I mean, I didn't issue the edict. It came from Mr Myler, I believe, or from the managing editor via originally from Mr Myler. "Question: I think my question was more: were private detectives used after 2007? "Answer: Not to my knowledge, no." So we'll pause there. Can I be absolutely clear: you were clearly operating as a private investigator for News of the World during almost all of 2007, weren't you, until November 2007?
A. Yes.
Q. At no stage were you told, were you: "Stop working"?
A. No.
Q. Did they suspend your services during that period?
A. No.
Q. Or say anything to you that might have caused you to believe that they were worrying about the use of your services?
A. No.
Q. I've already asked you about whether things changed in January or February 2007. Prior to your arrest, which I'm going to come onto in a moment, were you aware of any steps taken by the News of the World to regulate your activity or the activity of other private investigators?
A. I didn't know about any other private investigators.
Q. I'll come back to that, I promise. You then stopped working for the News of the World in November 2007, so what I want to do is ask you about that. I want to ascertain whether your departure from News of the World in November 2007 had anything to do with Mr Crone's belief that Mr Myler may have banned or forbidden the use of private investigators, or indeed anything to do with Mr Myler's clean-up operation at the News of the World. Can I take you back to your witness statement, please, which is behind tab 2.
A. Yes.
Q. Can we look, please, at paragraph 2 of your statement. You indicate there the dates that, for a period of 15 months between 2000 and 2009, the News of the World didn't employ your services. Can you just tell the Inquiry in your own words what happened that led to that departure in November 2007?
A. I was arrested I was arrested with a serving police officer on the strength of a voicemail message, and having been arrested, there was no strength in the voicemail message, but I was subsequently interviewed by the professional standards at Thames Valley, and having gone through a all my paperwork, they charged me with five offences of aiding and abetting misconduct in public office. One of the charges related to an email connected with News of the World.
Q. Right. Okay. What I want to understand is what happened. When News of the World found out about this it doesn't matter how they found out. What happened when they found out about this?
A. They told me I can continue working until and unless charges are brought against me. If charges are brought against me, then they will have to terminate my employment.
Q. And were charges brought against you?
A. Yes, they were.
Q. There are documents, Mr Webb, behind tabs 3 and 4 which are confidential documents. They include a confidentiality agreement between you and News of the World, so I'm not going to ask you about them in any detail and they haven't been disclosed to the core participants for that very reason. But what I want to know is this: what's your understanding of why News of the World terminated the use of your services at this time?
A. I think it's because obviously I was arrested and charged with the offences outlined, that they felt that I couldn't be involved in the News International procedures in relation to that, and so the compromise agreement was basically for me not to disclose any information that I'd done for News of the World.
Q. You'd probably better stop there and not say anything more about the compromise agreement. Right. Did they speak to you about what the position would be if the charges were either dropped or you were acquitted?
A. Yes.
Q. Did they ever discuss that with you?
A. Yes, they did.
Q. What did they say about that?
A. They said if the charges are dropped or I'm acquitted, then to contact the News of the World and they will reemploy me.
Q. To the best of your knowledge and understanding, did the fact that they terminated your services have anything to do with the fact that you were a private investigator or was it solely on the basis that you had been charged with criminal offences?
A. Solely the charges.
Q. You tell us in your witness statement, paragraph 7, that Mr Crone and Mr Kuttner arranged the compromise agreement.
A. That is correct.
Q. It's important: how do you know that?
A. I went into the News of the World building and met up with them, and we sat
Q. When you say "them", do you mean Mr Kuttner and Mr Crone?
A. Yes.
Q. Was Mr Crone present at this meeting?
A. Mr Crone was there as well, and there was another lady there, yes.
Q. Sorry, I spoke over you. Are you absolutely sure that Mr Crone was at the meeting?
A. I'm certain as can be.
Q. What happened then in respect of the criminal charges?
A. They advised me that because I'd been charged, that I wasn't allowed to work for the News of the World, and I am entitled to go and work for any other newspaper.
Q. Pausing there, leaving aside News of the World, what happened in respect of the criminal charges that had been brought against you?
A. Um
Q. Did they proceed?
A. No, they it went to legal I was on bail for 18 months. It went to legal arguments and it was the judge at that particular time it was never proceeded with. It was dropped.
Q. It was dropped, okay. You tell us that you then went back to work for News of the World again?
A. That is correct.
Q. Who made the approach this time, you or them?
A. I phoned up. I phoned up Neville Thurlbeck and told him the result of what had taken place but I wanted some time out until Christmas and that was it, and he told me to contact him early in the new year.
Q. So I presume you did contact him?
A. I contacted him in the early part of the new year, I think it was either first or second week in January of that 2009, and he told me that there's been a little bit of a hiccup, we need you to actually terminate your private investigator's licence and that the bosses require you to get join the NUJ.
Q. Right. So two things. You had to relinquish your licence?
A. In fact, can I just say that I say "relinquish my licence". I'd actually let it drop throughout when I was the previous year when I was actually on bail. So it had actually dropped from the system anyway.
Q. But did Mr Thurlbeck know that?
A. No.
Q. Okay. So am I right in saying he said two things had to happen before you came back: you had to relinquish or no longer have a licence?
A. Three things.
Q. Okay, I'll tell you the two and then you can tell me the third. Secondly, had you to get an NUJ card. And thirdly?
A. Yes. Thirdly, I had to change my email address.
Q. Right. Which was at the time?
A. I'd changed it from Silent Shadow Services to Shadow Watch. So it was Shadow Watch, and I needed to change it they wanted it changed from Shadow Watch.
Q. Right. To what?
A. To Derek Webb Media.
Q. So no reference to shadow?
A. [redacted]
Q. Sorry, I didn't mean for you to have to tell me the exact address.
A. I thought you asked for that.
Q. Sorry. I understand. Three things, then. What I want to know is this: can you tell me what your understanding was of why News of the World were asking you to do these three things? What did Mr Thurlbeck say to you?
A. He told me it's in relation to the Clive Goodman affair, in relation to that matter, that because of the use of private investigators, ie Glenn Mulcaire, that they didn't want to be tied up with private investigators.
Q. Can you remember any of the exact words in the conversation or is it too long ago?
A. It's too long ago, but they were basically the words. It was definitely to do with Clive Goodman that I was told to that that was the reason.
Q. All right. Why did you agree to do these things?
A. For employment.
Q. You've already told us that you had no experience of being a journalist, but yet you were being asked to obtain an NUJ card. First of all, what was the process? How did you obtain an NUJ card?
A. I contacted another journalist who I knew that didn't work for News of the World and that person signed and got a counter-signature and I sent the form off and it was approved and that was it.
Q. You got your NUJ card through the post?
A. That's right, and it referred to me because I'd put it down as a researcher. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Hang on. Did you have to provide any details of qualification to get an NUJ card?
A. Nothing. I just basically went through the details that were on the form that I was a police officer LORD JUSTICE LEVESON What sort of details?
A. It was just basic details about whether I had got any experience in various things, various matters, and I couldn't put any that I'd got any experience, but it was accepted. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Because you hadn't?
A. I hadn't. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes. All right. MS PATRY HOSKINS Right. What I want to understand is whether things changed. After you complied with their wishes, gave up the licence, got the NUJ card and changed the email address, did anything change in terms of the work that you were undertaking, the assignments you were given?
A. No.
Q. And so on? Did you suddenly become a journalist?
A. No.
Q. If someone had asked you at the time what you did, what would you have said?
A. Freelance researcher-cum-journalist.
Q. What were you doing in your own mind, Mr Webb?
A. Surveillance.
Q. Let me ask you these questions: did you ever write any articles for the paper post-2009?
A. No.
Q. Did you have any bylines published?
A. No.
Q. Did anything change at all from the time you'd been a private investigator from 2003 to 2007?
A. Nothing.
Q. Did the News of the World give you a copy of the PCC code then?
A. No.
Q. Did they give you any training on the code?
A. No.
Q. Were you paid in a different way?
A. The same amount.
Q. Were your tips any different?
A. The same when you say the tips, what do you mean?
Q. The tips that you were given which would then lead to an assignment.
A. Yes no, exactly the same.
Q. Did they ever discuss with you the public interest in obtaining the information that you were obtaining?
A. No. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON But I rather gather from what you were saying before that most of the time you were just going there to look and report. You weren't given any information?
A. I was given certain bits of information in relation that A was having an affair with B or to do with drugs or to do with an addiction, so it was very limited sort of information, but given all the details of the people. MS PATRY HOSKINS Did you even ever know exactly which story it was that you were working on?
A. Oh yes, yes.
Q. Mr Myler said this in evidence to the Inquiry. I'll read it back to you: "Getting an NUJ card made Mr Webb more aware of his responsibilities whilst working for the News of the World." Is that right? Did it?
A. It's a very difficult question. It's a very difficult question to actually answer.
Q. Try and answer it, if that's possible.
A. I don't think there was any there was no difference. I didn't feel different.
Q. Perhaps we can agree on the one change that did happen, apart from the change to your email address. You started billing them as Derek Webb, freelance journalist and not as Silent Shadow?
A. That is correct.
Q. So in terms of the paper trail, you weren't identifying yourself as a private investigator?
A. That's right.
Q. Nor referring to yourself as Silent Shadow?
A. Mm.
Q. We can see that, can't we, from tab 5?
A. Yes.
Q. Just for the sake of completeness, right at the back of tab 5, we can see the invoices that you were submitting after this time. 51529 onwards.
A. That is correct.
Q. You're now headed as freelance journalist
A. That is correct.
Q. on your billing. You'll have no knowledge of what I'm about to refer to, but you can take it from me that Mr Kuttner sent an email to, amongst other, Colin Myler and Tom Crone on 29 July 2009 which referred to you as Derek Webb, Silent Shadow. Now, the date is important. 29 July 2009. It doesn't matter why that was, but it's right to say, wasn't it, that by July 2009 that company had stopped trading completely? You didn't refer to yourself as Silent Shadow any more?
A. That company went out of business on the date of my arrest, when the police took possession of everything.
Q. Thank you. I'm going to ask you some general questions now about LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Just before we move from the invoice. They don't identify who you are supposed to be watching; they merely identify where you were?
A. They asked me to do that. In the initial stages in 2003, I did in fact put the name of the person. There is a number of invoices that refer to this. But they asked me to change, and the reason why they asked me to change, to put a name or anything different, is so that the invoice, when it goes through their finance department, wouldn't identify who I was following and it wouldn't be common knowledge. MS PATRY HOSKINS Is that what they told you, Mr Webb?
A. That's what they told me.
Q. Can I ask you some general questions about your employment? Were you aware of any other private investigators employed by News of the World?
A. I wasn't aware of them. I'd heard rumours.
Q. From?
A. From photographers that said that other people are working other private investigators are working.
Q. Can you give us a time period for that?
A. The time period was mainly between 2003 and 2007.
Q. All right. After 2009, were you aware of any private investigators working for the News of the World?
A. No.
Q. Apart from you?
A. No.
Q. You tell us in your statement that a very large number of journalists at News of the World instructed you over the course of your time there?
A. That is correct.
Q. They're all in the statement. I'm not going to read them out, but out of fairness to something Mr Myler said in evidence yesterday, he never personally instructed you, did he?
A. No.
Q. I'm coming on to ask you about payment now. How were you paid by News of the World?
A. I sent my invoice in.
Q. Yes.
A. And then what they would do is they would raise their own invoice, of which there is copies in the file.
Q. Yes.
A. And they would send those invoices out to me. In the initial stages, it was all done by sent through the post, but obviously in the last six months, it's been done electronically. But they would send those out and within a couple of days the money would be in my bank.
Q. If you turn to paragraph 8 of your statement so that's back behind tab 2 you explain this and you say on page 51509, halfway down the page this is the point that Lord Justice Leveson was referring to a moment ago: "In the early days, I would title my invoice with the name of the subject of the surveillance but this changed in order that the identity of the subject was not disclosed to the staff within the accounts department. I cannot remember who gave me this instruction but from that point forward, I identified each invoice simply by location." When you say "in the early days", when did this change?
A. This changed by 2004, within a matter of several jobs.
Q. Were you always paid in this way? Were you ever paid in cash?
A. No, always paid this way.
Q. I want to ask you now a bit more about the scope and the quality of the work that you were instructed to do. You've explained to us that you would get instructions in different ways: by phone, by email, by text message. To what extent would you be given specific information about the people that you were going to place under surveillance? Let me give you an example. To what extent were you told something like: "We think X is having an affair. Could you please go up to Y address and place that person under surveillance with a view to finding out whether that's true"? How often was the tip a specific one with specific pieces of information?
A. Yes, there was always specific information. There was never a fishing expedition.
Q. Right. That's my question. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON That depends how you define "fishing expedition", doesn't it?
A. I presume that is correct, because obviously if I'm given information that A is having an affair with B, that could be classed as a fishing expedition to find out whether that is correct. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Exactly.
A. But it wasn't a fishing expedition that they instructed me and said, "Could you go and have a look at A and see whether anything's happening with A and whether they're having an affair"; it was always that they were having an affair and they would always say a little bit extra, that: "We think they're having an affair with B." LORD JUSTICE LEVESON But the answer to that is, isn't it, to be accurate, you're not fishing. Whether they are, you can't say?
A. That is probably correct. MS PATRY HOSKINS Let me put it another way: did you ever get an instruction that said, "Follow X about for a while, see if you can find anything out"?
A. No.
Q. Were the instructions ever vague
A. No, they weren't
Q. in terms of what you were trying to achieve?
A. No, they were not vague, but obviously you would you might have to chase things by going to A to get to B.
Q. Can you explain that?
A. I'll explain that. That you'd have to follow A, although A wasn't the person that the job is interested in, because they're interested in B and C, but you'd have to follow A to find out where A is going to to meet up with B and then follow on from B. I know that sounds awkward in relation to certain jobs. Not all jobs, but there were some jobs where it was specifically where they asked me to go and follow a mother, where the to hope that she meets up with the son, to then carry on with the son.
Q. I understand. So you were asked to place under surveillance people who might be connected to a famous person, for example?
A. That's right.
Q. So that they would then maybe lead to you that famous person?
A. That's right.
Q. I understand. Some of the periods of surveillance were quite lengthy?
A. Yes.
Q. On some occasions you were there for a very short time, on one occasion, and other times up to two weeks I have seen in some cases.
A. That's correct.
Q. Is that correct?
A. Yes.
Q. Typically, would it be a matter of a few days or a longer period?
A. Well, it varied. It depended upon whether the person was actually on the move or where they were going or whether they were on occasions, people would go on holiday in the UK and they would send me and say, "Keep an eye on them on holiday", so I'd be away for a week, two weeks, or whatever. They would say to me, "Follow A", and I might follow A that starts off in Kent and we don't know where the person's going when I say "we", I mean referring to the news desk but the person would then end up I would end up in Liverpool later that day. So it would transpire is that they wouldn't knock the job on the head when I'm up in Liverpool, although it might be a job that they'd only given a couple of days, but things might develop on that job. But equally, there's jobs you go on where you're sitting there for a week and nothing happens, where in your own mind you're thinking: "This is not going to happen", but you continue because just in case it does.
Q. Mr Thurlbeck said that there were occasions which he found very frustrating where you would be on the job for a couple of days and you wouldn't really have had a chance to find out the information you were being tasked to found out, and then you'd have to be pulled off the job because someone else on the news desk might need your services for something else. Was that accurate?
A. It's very frustrating when you know something is definitely happening. What I mean by that is you know someone's using a phone when I say "using", I'm seeing them, observing them using a phone and they're obviously speaking to someone. They've come out their house and wandered around the side of their house to use a mobile phone, which could be considered suspicious in relation to me, because obviously I'd be thinking there's something more than meets the eye to this. You'd relay that back, that information, but because of the budget restraints on certain jobs certain jobs would get a certain amount of budget and others would get more priority with budgets. So that and there might be a more important job. So you'd be taken off and put on another job, thinking you might go back to that job but a lots of times you didn't go back to that same job.
Q. So he was right to say that there would be occasions where you'd start a job and never get to finish it because you'd be pulled off it and put on something else?
A. Mm.
Q. I want to ask you about the type of the work that you carried out for News of the World. I'm going to do that by reference to the work schedules you've put in. You said right at the outset that you placed about 150 people under surveillance over the eight-year period. Let me ask you this: in terms of how you did it, I'm assuming and I'd like you to correct me if I'm wrong that it was all surveillance from public places. You didn't try to infiltrate people's homes or private places anything?
A. No. They instructed me that from the very outset.
Q. What did they say to you about that?
A. They said that I do not go on private land, any private property, do not go hunting through rubbish bins and do not take pictures of photographs of children or follow children connected to families. So if the child walks up the road, don't follow the child.
Q. And they told you this from the outset?
A. This was from the outset.
Q. From 2003 onwards?
A. Yes, this was from the very outset.
Q. Thank you. We've done here a bit of an analysis of the work schedules. I actually counted 197 people over the schedules that I've seen, but that's because some people appear twice. Again, I don't want any reference to names, but it's clear to me from that analysis that I've done that you mainly followed celebrities, politicians, sportsmen or people with a connection to a celebrity. Would that accord with your recollection?
A. Yes, that's correct.
Q. And in fact, if you counted sportsmen and families of celebrities as celebrities and put them all in the same category, it's overwhelming. That's overwhelmingly the job that you were given to do, following celebrities?
A. Yes.
Q. If you were trying to give me a percentage of the time you spent on celebrities as opposed to anyone else, what percentage figure would you put on it?
A. I would say celebrities but you have to put celebrities with MPs.
Q. Okay.
A. So I would say 85 per cent.
Q. Including MPs?
A. Yes, including MPs. So MPs and celebrities, 85 per cent.
Q. All right. And the other 15 per cent? What were they made up of?
A. Yes, they were made up of drugs offences, addictions, or crime.
Q. All right. So people who were not well-known, but who were connected to those areas?
A. Connected to them areas, and obviously lawyers as well. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I'm not so sure about "obviously". Does that link them with drug dealers? MS PATRY HOSKINS Let me ask you no you about the type of instructions that you were given in relation to those people. I have looked through the names and the sorts of tips you were given. Most of these instructions were tips about sexual relationships, affairs, intimate relationships. That's correct, isn't it?
A. Yes.
Q. Given that you've told us that this was all public surveillance, in the sense that you didn't go into private homes or onto private property, how often was this about uncovering crime, so uncovering drug dealing or corruption or something else?
A. That comes into the other 15 per cent.
Q. That comes into the other 15 per cent. Okay. What about people who were accused or suspected of fraternising with criminals? Did that form any part of the surveillance you undertook?
A. No.
Q. None at all? Okay. Bearing that in mind, I'd like to go back to I'm going to read you parts of Mr Thurlbeck's evidence. Did you watch or
A. No.
Q. listen to Mr Thurlbeck's evidence? Sir, you'll find a transcript of his evidence behind tab 18. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Thank you. MS PATRY HOSKINS For everyone else, it's the transcript from 12 December 2011, and we're starting at page 28, please. You don't have to turn this up. It is in your bundle, but I will read it out. He's asked at the bottom of page 26 about the use of private investigators and he says this, top of page 27: "Can I ask you about Mr Derek Webb? [This is Mr Jay speaking] What was your involvement, if any, with him?" And he says: "He would be employed to observe people, report back to journalists on activities that we might be investigating for the paper. He would compile a report, a journalist would then act on that report and investigate further with him or alone." Pausing there, that's right, isn't it?
A. That's correct.
Q. "The question was what was your involvement with him and the answer was he would be employed? "Answer: Yes. "Question: I think the question was more directed to you. Did you employ him? "Answer: I did, yes." That's right, isn't it?
A. Yes.
Q. Mr Thurlbeck was one of the people who regularly instructed you?
A. Yes.
Q. "Do you remember approximately when you first started engaging him? "Answer: I think it was at the beginning of 2002/2003, something like that. I'm not the quite sure."
Q. Well, we know when it was. "Can you remember approximately how many assignments you gave him?" He says: "Dozens. I can't put a number of it, but several dozen, I would think."
A. I couldn't put a number on it either.
Q. "Can you assist us with the type of assignments in general terms?" He says: "Yes, we would the newspapers for decades had been involved in observing human behaviour and reporting on it. Derek Webb was especially good at observing, and he would observe and he would compile evidence of all sorts of activities, illegal or otherwise, and he would come back to us and we would act upon whatever he was reporting on." So far so good?
A. Yes.
Q. "Were your primary surveillance targets politicians and celebrities? "Answer: I would say they formed a large percentage, yes."
A. Yes.
Q. You have told us it was 85 per cent celebrities and politicians?
A. Yes.
Q. So you'd agree with him there. " In relation to celebrities take them first were the assignments in the main directed to finding out about their private lives?" And he says this: "Only if their private life came into conflict with their public life." I'm not going to ask you to comment on that. It's not a matter for you. "That wasn't the question. Did the assignments in the main relate to their private lives? "Answer: Yes. "Question: In other words "Answer: Their activities. "Question: their intimate relationships? "Answer: Not always. "Question: But usually, is that right? "Answer: I wouldn't say 'usually'. Sometimes it could be their intimate relationships or sometimes it could be drug-taking or sometimes it would be maybe fraternising with undesirables, but it was right across the spectrum." You've told us, I think, that surveillance of people who were accused or suspected of fraternising with undesirables or criminals
A. Unless you're classing A meeting B, if they're having a relationship, that is classing unless they are classing that as undesirables.
Q. You weren't specifically asked to place anyone under surveillance for the sole reason that they were fraternising with someone undesirable such as a criminal; is that right?
A. No, that's right.
Q. Okay.
A. Not that I can remember, anyway.
Q. What about drug taking?
A. Yes, the drug taking, that's that did come into play.
Q. Within the 15 per cent?
A. That's within the 15 per cent.
Q. And within that 15 per cent, how many cases did you investigate or how many people did you place under surveillance for the purpose of that topic?
A. I think there was only two or three.
Q. All right. I think I can pause there with Mr Thurlbeck's evidence. I said that I would come back to placing certain persons under surveillance for longer periods. We've seen I'll turn it up if you would like, but on some occasions you kept certain public figures under surveillance for a period of up to two weeks.
A. That is correct.
Q. Without naming any names, give us an example of what you would be doing for two weeks.
A. I would actually be following them, whether it be on foot or whether it be in a car, and solely watching them day in, day out.
Q. All with the purpose of trying to establish the information that you'd been given?
A. Yes. So on a day, you don't know whether you're going to be on the move the whole of the day or part of a day. If you were following an MP and an MP would go into the House of Commons, then it would be very difficult. He might be there all day before they come out. So it's very, very difficult to analyse exactly how long you'd do the surveillance for because obviously you might be called off at 5 o'clock they'd say, "No, knock it on the head" or carry on, going into the evening when they come out. So it's very, very difficult. It depends if the person is actually on the move or where they're going.
Q. Okay. In respect of one job you were given I think I can say this you kept the wife of a famous footballer under surveillance for a month?
A. Yes.
Q. What did that entail?
A. A lot of hard work.
Q. I'm sure that's right.
A. She went everywhere.
Q. All right. I won't ask you anything more about the specifics of that job. I am coming on to ask you about some specific examples of some of the investigations you were asked to undertake. The first relates to Mr Watson MP. It's very important I'm not going to ask you about what you found out, if anything, about Mr Watson, but I do want to understand: were you given specific instructions to place Mr Watson under surveillance?
A. Yes, I was.
Q. Were you given a specific instruction as to what you were to find out about Mr Watson?
A. Yes.
Q. So was it a fishing expedition in any sense?
A. No.
Q. Were you told who he was or what his role was in public life?
A. Yes, I was. I was aware.
Q. Were you aware that he sat on a Select Committee?
A. No, not at that particular time when I carried out the surveillance.
Q. All right, I'm going to park it there. I'm going to turn on now, please, to the surveillance of Ms Harris and a gentleman called Mr Mark Lewis, if I can. You deal with this in your witness statement, so if we turn back to that. You were asked about this at paragraph 11, 51510. You explain at the third paragraph, under the heading 11, that were asked on two separate occasions to follow two solicitors. Do you see that?
A. That is correct.
Q. Can I ask you
A. Can I actually say on the first occasion I was asked to follow one solicitor to see whether he'd meet up with the other solicitor.
Q. Let's start right at the at the beginning. Who instructed you on this particular job? Can you remember?
A. I can't remember. It came from the news desk. I was on a job in Surrey and I was asked the person who gave me the job in Surrey said, "You have been knocked on the head on that. Can you make your way to Manchester? The news desk want you to do another job in Manchester." So I made my way to Manchester
Q. At that stage, did you know anything being why you were going to Manchester?
A. No, I didn't know anything about the job and I remember I vaguely remember texting the journalist that was dealing with the Surrey job and said to him because I was not far off of Manchester and it was getting late in the day, and I said, "I've not had any instructions", and then I understand I can't be 100 per cent on this, whether it came through from somebody from the news desk or whether it came through on a text. I've got the vaguest feeling that it came through a start-off on a text: "Can you go to this address?"
Q. Right.
A. So I headed for that address.
Q. At that stage, that's all you knew, an address?
A. Yes, and then when I arrived at that address, I was instructed I had a phone call from the news desk saying, "We want you to place this solicitor under observations, but can you start tomorrow?" So because it was late in the day on that first day.
Q. Can you recall the names of anyone that you spoke to on that day on the news desk?
A. I can't remember because the trouble is a lot of the people from the news desk I don't know in person, so it's names. So I can't put a name to a face. Some of them I can do, but others I can't. It's only over a period of time. I cannot remember precisely who gave me that information at that particular time, that first initial details.
Q. Okay. So you were told to place the person, the man who lived at that address, under surveillance; is that correct?
A. A person, yes.
Q. Were you given a reason why? What were you trying to find out?
A. Yes, that he was having an affair with another person.
Q. Okay. I don't want you to say anything else. I don't know if you were told anything else, but I don't want you to say anything else, please. Now, you said that you were called off that night. Did you undertake that surveillance the next day?
A. I carried on that night for actually a little while and watched, just to get the feeling of where I could sit, where the locations are for the following day.
Q. And then what happened the next day?
A. The following day I from my memory and I know that no male appeared from that address, and I can't remember whether it was what time of the day, but I contacted the news desk and said, "There's no male here at the address." And somebody from the news desk said, "Can you describe the woman?" and I said, "She's got dark hair." So they said, "Can you follow her to see can you follow her and take a picture of her?" So I followed her and took a picture of her.
Q. All right. At that stage, had you been given the name of the man that you were supposed to be finding?
A. I'd been given a name of a man, yes.
Q. Let's not mention it. Was it Mark Lewis?
A. No.
Q. Right. How did you obtain photographic evidence of the woman that you had described to the news desk?
A. I followed her into a garden centre and then I had my video bag and I had it on. So I was zooming in here, there and everywhere.
Q. How long did you survey her for? How long did this period of surveillance take place?
A. I can't honestly say.
Q. Okay.
A. I followed her all day, obviously, but I can't honestly say how long the video took. The video was just a picture.
Q. What did you do with the footage that you had obtained?
A. I was told that it would be collected from my hotel that night.
Q. So did you prepare it for collection?
A. I put it in an envelope and
Q. With a note?
A. I've only seen the note very recently.
Q. Sir, it should have been I think everybody has been given a copy. Do you have a copy in front of you?
A. Yes, I have. I only saw this on 5 November via someone else.
Q. First of all, let's start with the basics. Is this your handwriting?
A. Yes, it is.
Q. Is this a note that you prepared?
A. Yes.
Q. If you cast your eye over it, it's addressed to Ian. Who would that be?
A. That would be Ian Edmondson.
Q. I'm going to read it for the benefit of those who don't have it in front of them: "The video is a bit up and down in the beginning. Then there is close up shots of her. She kept moving around, as you can see. You may think it's finished at one stage but let it run. Its total is about five to six minutes. Any questions need answering, call me. Phone on all time except a few hours during wedding on Tuesday, 12 to 4-ish. I am back on first flight Monday, week 12 April if you need me to go back up there. Cheers, Derek." Is that note self-explanatory?
A. That is.
Q. Is there anything that's you want to say about it?
A. No.
Q. Was this the note that you sent down with video footage
A. That's is it.
Q. to Mr Edmondson? Was it collected from your hotel as planned?
A. Yes, it was.
Q. Did you stay in Manchester that evening?
A. Yes, I did.
Q. Did you speak with either Mr Edmondson or someone else from the news desk the next day?
A. I was told by someone from the news desk to stand down, it's not the woman.
Q. You were told to stand down, that it was not the right woman?
A. That it was not the woman in question.
Q. Did you prepare any note or report as a result of that short period of investigation?
A. I believe not. I would have known I didn't have a laptop up there and I wouldn't have prepared a note unless I prepared a note inside with this saying that the name and address of the garden centre, but I can't remember 100 per cent. But that would have only been that.
Q. Were you ever instructed to go back up to Manchester and carry on this particular assignment?
A. Yes.
Q. When was that?
A. I was contacted on the 10th and I know it was the 10th
Q. The 10th of
A. 10 April. I know it was the 10th because I printed out copies of two photographs and I was told to go up there on the 12th and I would have had a phone call from the news desk on the 10th because they're printed out on 10 April.
Q. What were these photographs that you printed out?
A. The photographs were two photographs. It was one of the original male that I was told to follow.
Q. Pause there. Not Mark Lewis?
A. Not Mark Lewis.
Q. And the other person?
A. The other person do you want me to name this person?
Q. Yes.
A. Charlotte Charlotte Lewis. No, sorry yes.
Q. And what were you asked to do on the 10th?
A. I was asked to follow these solicitors around to see where they'd meet up, and I wasn't given instructions on how I wanted to do it. They basically said, "We will leave it to you to go on whichever solicitor's office you want to go on."
Q. Were you given details then of their particular solicitors offices that they worked at?
A. Yes, I was, and reason why because I was given that on the Saturday. That's the reason why I printed out, knowing full well there would be numerous people going in and out of the solicitors' offices. That's why I printed them out on the 10th, where I never printed them out on the 1st because I'm going to a specific address.
Q. So when did the job commence? When did you start the surveillance again?
A. On the 12th I started.
Q. How many days did that particular job last?
A. It lasted till the Friday, from the Monday to the Friday.
Q. Did you ever catch sight of either Ms Harris or the other gentleman?
A. No.
Q. Did you obtain any video footage of either of them?
A. No.
Q. Why did you stop the job on the Friday?
A. I was informed by the news desk that they'd found out that they were in London.
Q. Were you ever asked to place them under surveillance again?
A. No.
Q. Did you produce any report or log of that particular week of surveillance?
A. No.
Q. Did you ever deal, in connection with this surveillance, with a gentleman called Julian Pike?
A. No.
Q. I'm going to ask you now, finally, please, about the time when the News of the World closed, obviously, in July 2011. Presumably you then stopped receiving instructions when it closed?
A. Yes.
Q. Can I ask you this? Why did you decide to speak out publicly about the work that you had undertaken for them?
A. It's during the three months after the closure, I was in communication with News of the World, News International, because I was aware that other freelance people up and down the country had received loyalty payments for the three months and everyone I spoke to had had these payments, except me. So I contacted the News International team and informed them and they said to me I hadn't worked enough days for them. So I thought, well, this is strange that they were distancing themselves from me, so I compiled the schedule solely for that, not for this. This schedule was compiled solely to show them how many days I'd worked and obviously the grey areas and everything like this. Sent them in, and they advised me to take the schedules to the police, which I thought was very strange, because what I was trying to do was get loyalty payments from them, rather than going to the police. I was then told the next thing is that I was then had communication with a particular journalist, who told me that there was going to be certain things published in the paper, that I had done the surveillance and the surveillance logs and various other things in relation to the solicitors which we'd mentioned, knowing full well I hadn't. I was going to be connected to that and linked in that way. I was then this was on I believe it was 4 November. It was before the 5th. On 5 November, I was then informed by Newsnight and they showed me the document which we referred to, which is my note to Ian Edmondson.
Q. Yes?
A. Together with some other documentation that put me into a job which was all to do with surveillance of the two solicitors in question. I was then aware of all of this information, coupled with what News International were saying. So they were distancing themselves from me and I thought: "I'm being linked in here to something I'm not involved in", and I was not involved in it in any shape or form. So I had an option to either speak up or to let the media take its toll in relation to accusing me of all sorts of things that I hadn't done. So that is the reason why I spoke out, and this was solely that reason. This was not to do with loyalty payments, as what was published in every paper.
Q. I was going to say: some might say that you hold a grudge against News of the World
A. I've git no grudge.
Q. because of the fact they didn't give you any loyalty payment. Would that be right?
A. I've got no grudge against them. I was just trying to get loyalty payments, which everyone else had, to keep me tied over for three months for work until I found other work.
Q. I understand. Perhaps I can ask you it this way: has anyone at News International ever identified to you any part of your statement or anything that you said that might simply be untruthful or incorrect?
A. No, they haven't. MS PATRY HOSKINS Sir, those are my questions for Mr Webb. Thank you very much indeed. Thank you, Mr Webb. There may be some more questions. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON No. Oh, yes? MR SHERBORNE Sir, I have two questions, if I may. I've mentioned them to Ms Patry Hoskins and she said she wasn't intending to deal with those matters, for reasons which LORD JUSTICE LEVESON On what topic? MR SHERBORNE One relates to one of the core participants and the other relates to the surveillance of the two lawyers. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON All right. MR SHERBORNE I'm grateful. Questions by MR SHERBORNE MR SHERBORNE Mr Webb, you say, perfectly fairly, in your witness statement that the schedule of targets that you were asked to carry out surveillance on by the News of the World that you've reconstructed is incomplete. Is that right?
A. The schedule has got a few gaps in.
Q. Yes. I think we all understand why, but I just wanted to check that it's not a complete list of all the people you were asked to carry out surveillance on?
A. If I can say that the dates are precisely the dates. There's no other dates to be added in there.
Q. I understand.
A. It's only a gap of where I can't remember the name of the person or I haven't got the invoice, because certain other ones my diaries are still held by the Thames Valley police in relation to 2006 and I've never had them returned, so there's gaps where I can't identify them with the invoices. MR SHERBORNE I understand. Obviously I don't have the list of names, in the sense I don't have the unredacted list, but can I ask you this and I just want a "yes" or "no" at this stage: were you ever asked by the News of the World to carry out surveillance on my client, the core participant Sienna Miller, or Jude Law between 2003 and 2005?
A. On one occasion.
Q. You were.
A. I think it was one day.
Q. I'm not going to ask you anything more. I just wanted to
A. But I was pulled off immediately.
Q. Thank you, Mr Webb.
A. It's very important to emphasise that, because there was a reason why I was pulled off immediately.
Q. I'm not going to ask you that reason, for reasons which I'm sure are obvious. That's all I wanted to ask you, Mr Webb. Thank you. Then finally this, Mr Webb. You said you were asked not to follow children. We now know from the police that I understand at the time that you weren't meaning to, but we now know that you did film Mr Lewis's 14-year-old daughter. Mr Lewis is at the back of the court here. Is there anything you would like to say to him as a result?
A. All I can say is that it's most important because in his statement to the Leveson Inquiry, he actually said that the police had spoke to him on the 4th and that they showed him a video. They showed him a video and they said there's documentation that relates to me in relation to that. I have never been shown a copy of this video, so I'm assuming that we're talking if we're talking about the same video. MR SHERBORNE As I understand it, we're talking about the video that you referred to in this document.
A. But I've not seen that video to confirm that we are talking about the same person.
Q. So you're saying, Mr Webb, that as far as you're aware, you don't know whether the person you filmed was Mr Lewis's 14-year-old daughter or not?
A. Exactly. MR SHERBORNE Thank you, Mr Webb. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Thank you very much indeed, Mr Webb. MS PATRY HOSKINS Sir, Mr Webb was our only witness this afternoon. I don't know if there's any other matter that needs to be dealt with. MR SHERBORNE Sir, yes. If we've completed today's evidence, there are a few matters I need to raise. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes. I would like we'll let Mr Webb go. MR SHERBORNE Certainly, sir. (Pause) LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I'm not saying it's not appropriate, but I would like somebody to think about whether it is appropriate that question are used for the purpose of what might be thought to be fishing. MR SHERBORNE It wasn't intending to be a fishing expedition, and, sir, the answer proved that indeed it wasn't a fishing expedition. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I'll think about that. Okay, yes. What can I do for you? Discussion MR SHERBORNE There are three matters I want to raise, sir. Two relate to Mr Grant. The first one follows on from a letter last week that was sent to the Inquiry on his behalf relating to Operation Motorman. Sir, as you will recall, Mr Grant gave evidence LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I don't think I've seen this letter. MR SHERBORNE Can I hand up a copy then? Sorry, I'd understood that you'd seen it, sir. I have a marked copy, but I don't think there's anything in the markings. (Handed) LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Let me read it. Please sit down. (Pause) I haven't seen this letter. MR SHERBORNE Sir, I'm sorry. I had understood that you had. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I'm not MR SHERBORNE Can I deal with the two parts of it separately? LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Well, until I've thought about it, I don't think I wanted you to deal with either of them. (Pause) Before I'm going to listen to you, Mr Sherborne, I'm going to rise for a few minutes. Thank you. (3.23 pm) (A short break) (3.28 pm) LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Mr Sherborne, there are two matters in this letter. The first relates to documentation arising out of Operation Motorman, which in the main is not in the possession of the Inquiry, the underlying documents. But what I'd like to know is why it is appropriate for this Inquiry to be used as a vehicle to obtain this information, given that what I'm looking is not the micro but the macro position. In other words and I am deliberately dealing with it generally I'd like to know why I will be assisted by further material in relation to that aspect of the case. There is no doubt that inferentially, it seems to me, subject to hearing argument to the contrary, the evidence from Mr Thomas and Mr Owens as to the likely breaches of Section 55 is extremely strong. Once that is established, what more do I need for the purposes of my Inquiry? I'm not talking about anything else, which of course is very different. MR SHERBORNE Sir, can I begin by answering that in this way? LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes. MR SHERBORNE Because I detect from what you're saying that there is a concern that this material, if provided, will be used for another purpose. Can I say immediately it is not intended to be used for any other purpose. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I don't mind whether it is or it isn't, actually. I raise the point. What I am concerned about is why it is of value to me. MR SHERBORNE I understand that, sir. Can I put it this way? My instructions are that Mr Grant would like to see the underlying material, because as you recall, he gave evidence on 21 November about his belief as to the material that he was shown by officers dealing with Operation Motorman. That evidence was challenged by Mr Jay at the request, as I recall, of one of the core participants. We understand why it was challenged in that way, but it was challenged. As we know, since Mr Owens' produced the spreadsheets that were prepared for that investigation, it appears that various details about Mr Grant and his personal information were in fact obtained by Mr Whittamore at the request of various newspapers, and Mr Grant would like, therefore, to see the underlying material because if necessary, he may want to provide a supplemental witness statement dealing with that point. It really is that simple, in my submission. Sir, I understand you may say from LORD JUSTICE LEVESON But to what effect? MR SHERBORNE Well, to the effect that his evidence is complete in relation to Operation Motorman. You may say that there is no remains to is in terms of the macro picture, and I understand that, but a number of witnesses have given their evidence about the micropictures. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I understand that. MR SHERBORNE And it's the series of micropictures which make up the macro. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I understand that, in cases where we've been actually able to look at them and they generally have been very, very much more recent in time. Of course, one of the things I have to address is whether the whole Information Commissioner exercise altered the custom, practices and ethics of the press to any or any meaningful extent, and therefore looking at some of the post-2006 stories is particularly significant. Going to the 2003 stories is perhaps not as valuable. I'm not trying to shut out legitimate and appropriate enquiry, but I am concerned that about where it's going. The Yellow Book we do have. MR SHERBORNE Sir, yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON And given that the Yellow Book was intended be summarised in the schedules, I see no reason why you shouldn't see the Yellow Book, but I'm not sure we have the underlying material that is within the other paragraphs of your request and I'm just not sure how far it would take me. I recognise and indeed, Mr Jay was very careful to make it clear as soon as we saw Mr Grant's name in the Motorman documentation, that having challenged him and wondered whether he was referring to Mulcaire rather than Whittamore, he immediately, through the witness, made it clear that Mr Grant was absolutely right, and therefore to that extent Mr Grant's evidence stands, not merely uncontradicted but positively supported. I am just not sure how much further it's necessary to go. But by all means, look at the Yellow Book, if it helps. I won't stop you providing me with anything but I'm not sure whether it's going to be necessary to go into that. MR SHERBORNE Sir, indeed it may not and of course it's only Mr Grant who will realise the significance of the underlying material. I certainly won't and Mr Crossley won't. That's why we've asked for it. I'm certainly not asking for anything that the Inquiry doesn't have. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Right. MR SHERBORNE So I would take you up on that. Can I make this points? It's one that I have made before and it may be a hare that I set running, but of course one has to remember that all of this information was obtained, yes, in 2003, but we have no idea whether, after 2003, this material, these private details about people, were kept by newspapers or whether they were deleted once it was realised that they'd been obtained in circumstances which might well have constituted a criminal offence. We simply don't know if the telephone numbers and other pieces of information which may have been obtained in breach of the Data Protection Act were stored and continued to be stored on the databases of various newspapers. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I take that point. That's an entirely fair point. MR SHERBORNE Can I turn then to the second point in my letter? LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes. MR SHERBORNE It's one obviously that I've mentioned before several times and it relates to the plummy-voiced executive story, for which Associated Newspapers very publicly accused Mr Grant of making mendacious smears. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON There are two points here, aren't there? The language in the subsequent report we have discussed but the underlying point, as I understand and I don't see that there's any more on that. The underlying point is whether Associated Newspapers intends to produce evidence to back up their assertion in the newspaper as to how they came about the material for the story, particularly given that you have submitted evidence which I have not forgotten about and which will undeniably be deployed at some stage to rebut that allegation from Jemima Khan. So I'm aware of that and I'm equally aware that I think I invited Mr Caplan to move it up the agenda. MR SHERBORNE Sir, yes. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Let me find out. Let me find out. What's the policy, Mr Caplan? MR CAPLAN Sir, it is all in preparation. It would help if in fact I was spoken to directly. I had no knowledge this was going to be raised this afternoon, but if this is the way they propose to ask, indirectly through you, sir, that's fine. The fact of the matter is that it is in preparation. I'm afraid we are giving evidence, as I understand it, just before the middle of January. Such evidence as we serve will be served in very good time. I have two key people, I'm afraid, who are away on leave at the moment and I can't advance the evidence at this point in time. All I can say is that it is being developed, it is under consideration and it will come as soon as possible. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON All right. MR CAPLAN But I can't take it further than that. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON One thing is important, Mr Caplan. It's clearly becoming more important MR CAPLAN Yes, I understand. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON as an allegation, because it's relevant to the overall question that I have to think about. MR CAPLAN I understand. MR SHERBORNE Sir, yes. I needn't remind you, sir, the allegation was made the day Mr Grant gave evidence. Mr Caplan said two weeks ago this evidence was in preparation LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Mr Sherborne, I understand, and I equally understand your concern and the legitimate concern of your client. I also understand that the response was very quick and the evidence is taking rather longer. I'm just going to wait and see. You have made your point. I've made my point. We shall see what we shall see, but I assure you that this particular topic is very much alive in my mind, not merely for the protection of Mr Grant's reputation, about which I have no doubt he feels very strongly, but also because of where else it might take me. MR SHERBORNE Sir, I'm grateful. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON You are, of course, as are all the core participants, able to bring before me anything you want, but I do hope that relationships at the bar are sufficiently good that actually some of these matters might just be capable of explanation. You'll always be able to make the point, Mr Sherborne, but you don't need to make it every fortnight. I understand the point. I understand the point and I have no doubt that in due course, whenever we get what we get, you will make the consequential point as forcefully as you are able, but there it is. MR SHERBORNE I'll resist the temptation to say anything more on that matter, sir. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I think that, with great respect, is exceedingly wise. MR SHERBORNE The third point relates to Mr Thurlbeck. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes? MR SHERBORNE Sir, it's a matter of real concern. You'll recall that when he appeared before you, Mr Thurlbeck made it clear that he did not want to be asked any questions about his involvement or knowledge about phone hacking within the News of the World. The Inquiry accepted that position and of course we understand why. Instead, he was asked a number of questions by Mr Jay and yourself in response to which he was clearly seeking to demonstrate the credibility not just of himself but of the newspaper and its journalists. However, fresh from giving evidence before this Inquiry, Mr Thurlbeck gave an interview to Radio 4. I don't know whether you've seen this, sir. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I wouldn't have seen it but I might have heard it, although I haven't. MR SHERBORNE Sorry, there is a transcript and there was an article which referred to it as well in which he proceeded to deal with the issue of hacking and he volunteered not only his views on the practice and knowledge about it within the newspaper, but he also expressly protested his innocence in relation in particular to the Gordon Taylor story and the infamous "for Neville" email. It is right to point out that yesterday's interview was not the first time Mr Thurlbeck had protested his innocence publicly. He had, for example, done so in an interview in the Press Gazette and also in his letter to the Select Committee, but that was before he appeared before you, sir, in this Inquiry. So we say to come here and refuse to answer any questions at all on this topic, but instead to go straight to the studios of the BBC and to give an interview, a transcript of which I have here and I can hand up, sir LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I would be very grateful if I could see that. MR SHERBORNE Sir, it's particularly, as you'll appreciate, a matter of concern for my clients. I'm sure for this Inquiry too. (Handed) Sir, the particular section that you may want to focus on is on page 2 of the transcript. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Thank you. MR SHERBORNE It starts just below the first punch hole. If I can leave you to read that, sir, and then over to the top of page 3. (Pause) LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Yes. MR SHERBORNE Sir, I don't need to point out that whilst Mr Thurlbeck gives a very partial account in this interview of himself as an innocent scapegoat, if he had given evidence to this Inquiry, he could have been tested about such matters, and in particular I have a document in my hand which I would like to have asked him a few questions about. Sir, I do invite you to consider what is the most appropriate way to deal with this, if I can put it this way, unfortunate situation, or at the very at least to reflect it in your conclusions about the practices and culture of the press. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON The inference from this document is that Mr Thurlbeck had information or documentation which was relevant to the issue of knowledge. You will, of course, appreciate that any investigation into the circumstances of phone hacking at the News of the World can pick up any evidence that's made available, including this volunteered material. The difference in my position is that given that Mr Thurlbeck attends the Inquiry under compulsion, not only does he have specifically the constitutional right not to incriminate himself but also the very fact of the compulsion and asking him questions might cause prejudice of which Mr Garnham speaks and which I think you have previously recognised is the very last thing you would want. MR SHERBORNE Sir, indeed. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON The problem is this: I could invite Mr Thurlbeck to provide the material, or whatever material he has, but I'm not minded to provide a platform for what would be clearly a one-sided view which could not then be the subject of cross-examination for fear of causing the very prejudice that I am required to avoid and want to avoid. MR SHERBORNE Of course. It is, sir, as I say, a very unfortunate situation which has been created. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON It was always MR SHERBORNE It was always thus. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON thus. I am very conscious that Mr Thurlbeck was perfectly prepared roundly to criticise one judicial decision, namely Mr Justice Eady's decision, but not prepared even to speak about the facts of another incident on the basis that he had been acquitted of breach of the code by the PCC. That fact is not unnoticed. MR SHERBORNE Sir. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON I will, if you will be prepared to allow me, keep this. MR SHERBORNE Of course. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON And I will decide whether it should be allowed to be formally put into the record of the Inquiry. MR SHERBORNE I'm grateful. Sir, just in the context, as you say, with respect rightly and I use the words "with respect" in the true sense this was a very one-sided account that Mr Thurlbeck gives. Can I hand up what I might call the other side of the picture? I'm not going to refer to it openly, but you'll appreciate the significance of it when I provide it to you, sir. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Please. I'll see whether it's appropriate to put that into the public domain. MR SHERBORNE I doubt it is. I doubt it is. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Well, I can MR SHERBORNE It is material that the Inquiry should have, in fact should have had, but may not have received, given the volume of material that has been quite rightly asked for but may not have been provided. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Spotted? MR SHERBORNE Indeed. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Show it to Mr Jay, could you? MR SHERBORNE Mr Jay has seen it before, as have the police. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON What about Mr Rhodri Davies? MR SHERBORNE It's his client's document. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Even more so. MR SHERBORNE I'm happy to show it to him for that reason, if nothing else. (Handed) I didn't come armed with enough copies. MR DAVIES I'm not going to make any objection to that being passed to the Inquiry. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Thank you. MR DAVIES It may be it already has. I don't know. MR SHERBORNE Sir, I've handed my only copy to Mr Garnham. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Let Mr Garnham see it. I'll wait in my place. MR SHERBORNE It's worth waiting for. MR GARNHAM I have seen it before. MR SHERBORNE Looks like everyone has seen it, sir, apart from you. Can I then make good that? LORD JUSTICE LEVESON You say Mr Jay's seen it. Let him confirm that. You don't need to be the usher. We have somebody who will do that for me. MR SHERBORNE Sir, there are a number of abbreviations on it which I hope are self-explanatory, but if not, I can provide them to you on a piece of paper. In fact, I can do that now. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Well, I can assure you I have not seen this document. MR SHERBORNE Can I hand up a code, cyphers for the abbreviations. (Handed) I'll be very careful as to what I say, but you'll appreciate, sir, that in the context of what Mr Thurlbeck talked about in the interview, and in particular a certain document, you'll see why I say that completes the picture. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Thank you. You probably want this copy back? MR SHERBORNE I can provide you with another copy, sir. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Well, you might as well, yes. Thank you very much indeed. MR SHERBORNE Thank you, sir. LORD JUSTICE LEVESON Right, we'll consider what we'll do with that. Thank you. Mr Jay? You've made sure that we have had a full day, Mr Sherborne. I'm very grateful. Thank you very much. Monday next week. (3.55 pm)

Witnesses

Gave a statement at the hearing on Thursday, December 15, 2011 (PM) ; and submitted 2 pieces of evidence

Themes

Understand all the key topics and the context behind the Inquiry's findings

Journalism & society
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Regulation
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Politics
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Future of journalism
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Background & history
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Subsequent developments
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Ethics & abuses
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