After six months and millions of words, the Leveson Inquiry has shone an
unflattering light on journalism and the connections and corruption that
entwined the Metropolitan Police and News International. The next
module, into newspapers and politicians, begins next month.
First, journalism. Many of the allegations dated as far back as the
1980s, but they were often devastating. From the News of the World's
intrusive photographing of the Dowlers as they retraced their daughter's
last steps, to the Daily Express's smears on Kate and Gerry McCann, to
the chronicling of the mental distress of Charlotte Church's mother
(News of the World again), the inquiry's first weeks were a parade of
invasions of privacy and breaches of normal standards.
After the departure of the stars and the grieving, the journalists, news
editors and editors were called to account. Their evidence suggested
ethics were often lost in the hurly-burly, deadlines and hierarchies of
the news business: the reporters who spun their stories, but then
watched as news editors and headline-writers added top-spin; the editors
who didn't know their reporters were hacking phones, or bribing, or
blackmailing. There was always someone else to blame.
Module two was less glamorous, but shone a light on the cosiness between
Scotland Yard and News International. Some of the small details stood
out: the eight lunches, dinners and drinks sessions between the
now-resigned Assistant Commissioner John Yates and the News of the
World's former deputy editor Neil Wallis in 2009 and 2010; the filing of
a story by Lucy Panton, the News of the World's crime editor, from the
computer of the Yard's now-resigned director of public affairs, Dick
Fedorcio; the loan of the police horse Raisa to Rebekah Brooks, then
editor of The Sun, after a lunch with the Commissioner, Sir Ian Blair.
All circumstantial, all potentially signifying nothing more than mere
But then came the hard evidence of Wapping's power: Sue Akers'
extraordinary testimony about The Sun running a "network of corrupted
officials" across public life.
Why did the Met's original investigation go so badly wrong in 2006?
Clues come in the information about the inquiry "the cops" gave to
Brooks in September 2006 and the evidence of David Perry, QC, yesterday
that Scotland Yard officers, when asked whether any more journalists
were involved in phone hacking, said: "No."