John Yates resisted reopening the police inquiry into phone hacking
despite new allegations that it was rife at the News of the World, the
Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, told the Leveson Inquiry
Mr Starmer said he experienced a "degree of pushback" from Mr Yates,
then an Assistant Commissioner in the Metropolitan Police, in July 2009
after the emergence of the "For Neville" email, which indicated more
NOTW staff than just royal editor Clive Goodman and private detective
Glenn Mulcaire had been involved in illegally accessing voicemails.
Goodman and Mulcaire were jailed in January 2007 for eavesdropping on
the voicemails of eight individuals, but the Metropolitan Police failed
to charge anyone else despite Mulcaire's notes containing thousands of
names, often with phone numbers and PIN codes.
Explaining why the Crown Prosecution Service had been slow to recognise
the inadequacy of the original prosecution, Mr Starmer said that it had
been forced to respond quickly to the emergence of the "For Neville"
email and that key staff such as the case lawyer, Carmen Dowd, had left.
He also indicated he had been frustrated by the attitude of Mr Yates,
who, for more than a year and a half from 2009, maintained few people
had actually been hacked and that there was no need for a new inquiry.
Recalling a meeting with Mr Yates in July 2009, Mr Starmer said: "There
was a degree of pushback against my suggestion that there should be a
reinvestigation or further examination of the 'For Neville' email. Mr
Yates said it was not new, it had been seen before, and thus I took from
that that he didn't consider at that stage there was any point
investigating the 'For Neville' email."
Mr Starmer said he did not have the power to force Scotland Yard to
begin a new investigation. But he explained that his concern grew after
The New York Times published an investigation in September 2010, which
suggested hacking had been rife at the NOTW's headquarters in Wapping,
By January 2011, he was determined to launch an independent inquiry into
the evidence handed to the CPS by police in 2006 – and told Mr Yates
(who resigned last July over his handling of the hacking affair). Mr
Starmer recalled: "To be fair to Mr Yates, he did not seek to block that
approach and in the end agreed with it, but then I have to say I would
not be dissuaded from my course of action."
In earlier evidence to the inquiry, David Perry QC, the CPS lawyer who
handled the original prosecution, said police had assured him in 2006
that there was evidence only against Goodman and Mulcaire. Mr Perry said
that at a case conference with Scotland Yard detectives on 21 August
2006 he raised the question of whether other journalists were involved.
He told the inquiry: "I think I was conscious in my own mind that the
question had to be whether it was journalists to the extent of the
editor. We were informed there was no such evidence. I cannot recall
which officer gave that reply."
In a note on 14 July 2009 setting out the advice he was given by
detectives in 2006, Mr Perry wrote: "We did enquire of the police at a
conference whether there was any evidence the editor of the News of the
World was involved in the Goodman-Mulcaire offences. We were told there
was not (and we never saw any such evidence). We also inquired whether
there was any evidence connecting Mulcaire to other News of the World
journalists. Again we were told there was not (and we never saw any such
Lessons from Leveson: Two sessions in, what have we learnt?
The Leveson Inquiry is charged with examining the "culture, practice and
ethics" of the press, to find out how prevalent are the "dark arts" of
news gathering such as phone hacking, and how the newspaper industry
should be regulated. Module one, which began in November, looked mainly
at the relationship between the press and the public. Module two, which
began in February, examined the relationship between the press and the
police. Module three, focusing on the press and politics, will begin on
23 April. Rupert and James Murdoch, together with David Cameron and many
other leading politicians, will give evidence.
Bob and Sally Dowler, 21 November 2011
The parents of Milly Dowler told of the moment when they could again
hear their daughter's voice on her phone asking for messages. At the
time, it was still believed (though it is no longer) that the News of
the World had deleted messages from her inbox, causing this 'false hope'
Hugh Grant, 21 November 2011
The actor suggested that phone hacking went beyond News International
papers, accusing The Mail on Sunday of accessing his voicemails in 2007
prior to writing falsely that he was having an affair. The newspaper
accused Grant of "mendacious smears".
Anne Diamond, 28 November 2011
According to the former TV-am broadcaster, Mr Murdoch's newspapers waged
a vendetta against her after she criticised him at a social function in
the 1980s. The Sun ran an article titled "Anne Diamond killed my
father", offered her nanny £30,000 for a story, and, against her wishes,
printed pictures of her son's funeral.
Paul McMullan, 29 November 2011
The former News of the World features executive gaily recounted chasing
after celebrities, watching drugs dealers and posing as a rent boy. He
expressed little sympathy for those in the public eye complaining about
press coverage. Memorably, Mr McMullan said: "Privacy is for paedos."
Charlotte Church, 28 November 2011
The singer claimed that she had been persuaded to sing free of charge at
Rupert Murdoch's wedding to Wendi Deng in 1999 in exchange for good
publicity from his newspapers. News International denied this deal was
Piers Morgan, 20 December 2011
Giving evidence by video link, the former editor of the News of the
World and Daily Mirror was forgetful and defiant. Mr Morgan could not
remember much about the internal workings of his papers, but believed
that there had been no phone hacking.
Richard Desmond, 12 January 2012
The Express Group owner defended his papers' libelling of Kate and Gerry
McCann, whose daughter Madeleine went missing in 2007. "If [we did] 102
articles on them, and 38 bad ones... you could say there were 68 or 70
Sue Akers, 27 February 2012
The head of Operation Elveden said her investigation had uncovered
evidence that The Sun had been running a "network of corrupt officials",
and suggested there had been a "culture of illegal payments" to public
John Yates, 1 March 2012
What emerged from the former Assistant Commissioner's appearance was his
close relationship with the deputy editor of the NOTW, Neil Wallis.
Bob Quick, 7 March 2012
The Met's former Assistant Commissioner suggested that John Yates had
resisted handing over his phone records to an inquiry into media leaks.