Friday, 22 July 2011

Phone hacking inquiry: Surely Lord Leveson has to resign

The various live blogs of the mainstream media are reporting a previously unpublicised contact between Lord Leveson and the Murdoch family.

See, for example, the Telegraph's account of the matter, News of the World phone hacking scandal: live.

15.23 The Evening Standard reports that Lord Justice Leveson, the judge who will lead the inquiry into the phone-hacking scandal, has links to the Murdoch family:

Opinion Lord Justice Leveson has attended two evening events at the London home of PR boss Matthew Freud - who is married to Rupert Murdoch's daughter Elisabeth - as well as having another dinner with him. The revelations raised questions over why the judge had been chosen to carry out the landmark inquiry into the media, police and politicians.

A spokesman for the judge said he met the boss of Freud Communications "by chance" at a dinner in February last year. Mr Freud then offered to help the Sentencing Council on how to promote public confidence in the criminal justice system.

"To that end, in his capacity as Chairman of the Sentencing Council, and with the knowledge of the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Justice Leveson attended two large evening events at Mr Freud's London home: these were on 29 July 2010 and 25 January 2011," the spokesman added. Prior to his appointment to the inquiry, Lord Justice Leveson told the Government about the links.

Downing Street said Lord Leveson had been appointed on the recommendation of the Lord Chief Justice "in line with the procedure of the Inquiries Act 2005." He was the only proposed candidate. "He has been entirely open about attending these events," a spokesman added. A spokeswoman for Freud Communications declined to comment saying they were private events.

In that context surely Lord Leveson has to resign as the judge involved in the phone hacking inquiry.


Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Phone hacking, Sally Murrer and Sadiq Khan

I'm posting a link to a news story about what may have been phone hacking in the Thames Valley Police area. See Journalist fears she is "smokescreen" in Sadiq Khan bugging scandal.

The Guardian reports that the case was later thrown out by the judge. See Thames Valley police leak case against Sally Murrer thrown out

The case, at least on the surface, seems to constitute quite a different set of circumstances about the relationships involving the press, the police and politicians.

The decision to prosecute appears to have taken place while Sara Thornton was Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police (having been appointed to that post in January 2007).

Maybe Lord Leveson should look at such cases too, if he is to reach a valid and balanced conclusion.

Phone Hacking - Will the Leveson Inquiry be more trustworthy and competent than the Hutton Inquiry?

There are many good reasons for calling into question the integrity and competence of the Hutton Inquiry, not least that it failed both to identify the murder of Dr. David Kelly and the seeming criminal conspiracy to take the United Kingdom to war in Iraq.

I continue to blog on both the preceding failures of the Hutton Inquiry on my Chilcot's Cheating Us blog.

The naive assumption permeating the media is that the upcoming Leveson Inquiry will be characterised by both integrity and competence.

Given the failures of the Hutton Inquiry, such optimistic assumptions about the Leveson Inquiry may prove to be ill-founded.

Giving the glaring failings of the Hutton Inquiry and the powerful interests affected by the various strands of the phone hacking saga, surely it is profoundly naive to expect a fully transparent and honest inquiry from Lord Leveson as being inevitable?