Myler: "Whatever acts that indivuals took part in, the full
force of the law should take care of them"
Ex-News of the World editor Colin Myler says the full force of the law
should be used against anyone who acted in an illegal way at the paper.
He told the Leveson Inquiry into media ethics he did not recognise an
account of hacking phones and expenses fraud.
Mr Myler added that extracts from the diary of the mother of missing
girl Madeleine McCann were published in the mistaken belief the NoW had
Meanwhile, a former NoW lawyer denied a "culture of cover-up" had
Last month, Paul McMullan, the paper's ex-deputy features editor told
the hearing phone hacking was in the public interest, claimed
celebrities often "loved" being chased by journalists, and argued that
"privacy is for paedos".
Mr Myler said he did not recognise much of the evidence Mr McMullan
talked about, adding: "The criminality that took place, if it did take
place, at the News of the World, is one thing, and whatever acts that
individuals took part in, the full force of the law should take care of
them. I'm sure it will."
Mr Myler returned from five years working in the US to become editor of
the News of the World in January 2007, following Andy Coulson's
resignation after Clive Goodman and Glen Mulcaire were jailed over phone
He said that in his absence, a combination of legal rulings and changed
British privacy laws lead to changes in the way newspapers worked, and
he spoke of an "explosion" of "fire-chasing lawyers, contacting the
celebrity saying, 'Do you realise that the photograph that's been
published here is in the breach of your privacy, and maybe we should do
something about it."
Mr Myler said that when he took charge of the paper, he had written to
all staff explaining how they must have the "clearest justification" for
intrusion into personal privacy.
The matter of privacy came to the fore in relation to the story of how
the NoW published the diary of Kate McCann, the mother of the missing
Madeline McCann, without her knowledge, and ended up publishing an
apology and making a donation to the family's fund to find their
Mr Myler said Ian Edmondson, the NoW head of news, told him he had
cleared the story with the McCanns' spokesman, Clarence Mitchell.
"Ian Edmondson had assured me on more than one occasion that Clarence
was aware of what we were intending to do and had said, 'good'.
"And indeed I stressed very clearly by using the phrase that I did not
want Kate to come out of church on Sunday morning and find out that the
diaries were there without her knowledge."
But inquiry chairman Lord Justice Leveson said a transcript of a phone
call between Mr Edmondson and Mr Mitchell about the story the paper was
planning was "most clearly ambiguous".
"It was not a culture of cover-up, it was a culture of
avoiding reputation damage through bad publicity”
Former NoW legal manager
Mr Mitchell has issued a response to the NoW claims, saying that at no
time had Mr Edmondson told him they had and were planning to publish the
He also said he had witnesses to his end of the conversation and had
given the inquiry lawyers his emails as a statement, and had been told
it was "likely" he would be called to speak to the inquiry.
Mr Myler was also quizzed about a story the paper ran about the private
life of international motorsport chief Max Mosley, which led to a
significant legal ruling on the matter of privacy.
In 2008 Mr Mosley took the NoW to court over the story, and won a legal
action which Mr Myler said "humiliated" the paper and "was a landmark in
how tabloid newspapers have to approach those kinds of stories".
Despite this, he put the story forward for a scoop of the year award,
but he rejected the suggestion that he was in fact gloating about the
|Mr Crone said the settlement was to avoid
Earlier in the day, former NoW legal manager Tom Crone told the inquiry
an out-of-court payment to football union boss Gordon Taylor over phone
hacking was about avoiding "reputational damage".
Asked who was the "guardian of ethics" at NoW publisher News
International, he said compliance was not within his job.
Mr Crone was asked by counsel to the inquiry Robert Jay QC if the 2008
Taylor case had to be settled "to avoid the parading of these matters at
a public trial". He replied "yes".
"It was not a culture of cover-up, it was a culture of avoiding
reputation damage through bad publicity," he said.
But later, another former NI lawyer Jon Chapman told the inquiry he
believed compliance was part of the remit.
"I've heard Mr Crone's testimony. I would have thought compliance would
have been picked up by lawyers on the editorial side. Clearly Mr Crone
doesn't agree with that," he said.