Witness statements, videos and transcript of the McCanns'
evidence to the Leveson Inquiry on 23 November 2011
The Leveson Inquiry
November Witness Statement of Gerry McCann (pdf, 4.13MB)
click here to download file
Wednesday 23 November Witness Statement of Kate McCann
click here to download file
Transcript of afternoon session (pages 1-40), 23 November 2011
Transcript of afternoon session (pages 1-40) Leveson Inquiry
November 23 2011
3 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: Yes, Mr Jay.
4 MR JAY: Mr Rowland,
we're on the issue of impact now and
5 you pick this up at paragraph 22
of your witness
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. In your own words, how would you characterise it?
9 A. Well, it's
an intrusion, firstly. They have no right to
10 do that. It's
appalling that it should happen. I had
11 a large number of really quite
12 contacts that -- where it would be both embarrassing
13 potentially awful for my business if this information
leaked out and it was traced back to me, and I felt that
15 there was also
an element that -- I mean, I've never
16 worked for the News of the World,
at that time I didn't
17 know any News of the World journalists, but if
18 wanted to come and ask me something, then why was it
that they routinely got someone to hack my phone instead
20 of coming to me
21 Q. Press regulation. You've obviously thought about this
carefully and deeply. You give us the benefit of your
23 views in paragraph
23 in your witness statement and
24 following. You've, I think, heard
a lot of the evidence
25 over the last few days. You've been taking
in this Inquiry. What are your
2 recommendations, please?
A. Well, I mean, when I was at the Daily Telegraph, I did
4 a large number
of investigative stories in a slightly
5 odd climate, because if you'll
recall, the Telegraph at
6 the time was owned by Conrad Black, Lord Black,
7 address Cell Block H somewhere in Florida. He was
8 forever, if you recall, buying and selling the newspaper
or shares in the newspaper. He was either privatising
10 it or floating
it and that meant there was a constant
11 regime of due diligence going on
and he was frightened
12 that having unresolved defamation actions on the book
13 would damage the potential valuation of the paper.
So there was a lot of moaning at the Telegraph among
15 the journalists that
what they saw as innocuous pieces
16 that were routinely being put into other
17 being held out of the Telegraph by the in-house
18 defamation lawyers. So it was a quite repressive, they
20 Now I wanted to get more investigative
21 if I possibly could, so I adopted a different approach,
22 which was to go along to the in-house defamation lawyers
and ask one simple question, which is what do I have to
24 do to this story
in order for you to be happy to run it?
25 And they said, well, you know, you
need to check all of
the sources, you need to make sure that you have proper
2 witness statements
when you need it, you need to decide
3 all of the things that Alan Rusbridger
was talking about
4 in the sort of lists of things that people do these
5 days. They were making sure I did.
It occurred to me that the mantra that exists at the
7 moment, the orthodoxy
that more regulation or tighter
8 regulation of the press will inhibit press
9 because journalists will have a lawyer standing at their
10 elbow at the time, actually is completely wrong. Having
a lawyer standing at your elbow improves the quality of
12 what you do because
the lawyer is the only person in the
13 office, the defamation lawyer, who
acts as a proper
14 quality control mechanism.
Everybody in a newspaper room think they know what
16 a good story is.
There's very few regulatory mechanisms
17 there to say, well, is it fair?
Is it accurate? And
18 has it been put to the people properly before
19 it? And because I went through that mechanism, I look
20 back at them now and I think actually they were very
good stories and part of the reason was I had all of
22 this great advice that
was being given to me.
23 So when things did go to
some extent wrong and
24 people complained and I was taken to the Press
25 Complaints Commission on three occasions -- I checked
1 with the PCC actually before this Inquiry
2 I was the very first national newspaper journalist to be
3 exonerated in a PCC inquiry. And the reason I was
exonerated is because I'd had the stories lawyered
5 backwards, forwards,
up and down, and they were as tight
6 as we could possibly make them.
7 I would argue that is an entirely beneficial
9 I'd also say that I think there's
been a disastrous
10 deterioration in the last ten years in a lot of ways
11 because more and more stories are written by freelance
journalists and they do not have the same access to the
13 same legal resources.
14 I'll give you an example. I worked for a
15 time -- well, quite a long time, when they set up the
supplement I was talking about at the Mail on Sunday, so
17 I was a Mail on
Sunday freelance journalist, and I was
18 put in the position of running stories
where I thought
19 corners were being cut and I didn't have access to
20 proper legal advice before they were run, and there was
one particular occasion when -- it was a very high
22 profile -- I won't
refer to the actual details of the
23 story, but it was as very high-profile
couple who were
24 involved in some rather esoteric house purchases and
25 there was a whistle-blower and I was unsure about the
1 whistle-blower and I thought we needed
to go back and do
2 some more checks, but they ran the story anyway.
3 I and Mr Caplan down here, the barrister for the Mail on
Sunday, had to actually dig them out of the hole
5 afterwards, and I would
argue that the freelance
6 journalists should have been talking to the lawyers
7 before it was published, not afterwards.
8 LORD JUSTICE
LEVESON: All right.
9 MR JAY: Thank you very much, Mr Rowland. You've given your
10 evidence very clearly, thank you very much. May I just
check, is there anything you would wish to add?
12 A. Yes, there is one thing.
Q. Yes, okay.
14 A. When you had the seminars, sir, there was talk there
about press practices in the 1970s and how they've
16 improved greatly
because of the regime that's been put
17 into place by the PCC. One
of the examples that was
18 given was the theft of photographs, and I think
19 Mr Dacre, the editor of the Daily Mail, who said that
such a practice was outrageous and that it no longer
21 took place.
22 Well, I would disagree. I think that there are
23 many, many more photographs that are stolen these days,
but they're stolen electronically. It's not in my
or my witness statement, but I had examples of
photographs that have been quite blatantly and
2 shamelessly stolen by national
newspapers, not in the
3 1970s but almost within the last seven months.
4 The example I'm thinking about, I actually have
5 audit trail, because I was involved in it, that I've
pieced together so you can see what was done and when,
7 or rather what wasn't
done and when, and they just
8 sliced off the watermark on the bottom with
9 copyright notice of the photographer, and then refused
to pay him. And that, in Mr Dacre's word, is actually
and it's an abuse that could be stopped by
12 a regime of punitive fines
and that, I hope, is
13 something that the Inquiry will think about putting
I can make that photograph available to you, if you
16 think it might help,
and put it into the record. I'm
17 prepared to do that.
18 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: We'll decide whether we should put it
formally into the material that is read into the record.
20 Thank you very
21 A. Okay.
22 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: Thank you.
23 MR JAY: Thank you. I don't think we need a break. Shall
we move on to the next person?
25 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: We don't need a break after seven
1 minutes, Mr Jay.
2 MR JAY: The next witnesses are Dr And Dr McCann, please.
3 DR GERALD
PATRICK McCANN and DR KATE MARIE McCANN (sworn)
4 MR JAY: Thank you very much. First of
all, I'm going to
5 invite each of you to provide us with your full names,
7 MR McCANN: Gerald Patrick McCann.
8 MRS McCANN: Kate Marie McCann.
9 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: Before we
start, you've probably
10 heard me thank others before you for coming along,
11 voluntarily, to speak of matters which I have no doubt
are intensely personal and extremely sensitive, and I am
13 very, very grateful
to you for doing so.
14 In your case, of course, nobody,
and in particular
15 nobody with children, could fail to appreciate the
16 terrible impact of your daughter's abduction on you and
your family, so words of sympathy for these appalling
18 circumstances are
utterly inadequate, but I am very
19 grateful to you for coming.
MR JAY: I know each of you would like your counsel to ask
21 a few preliminary
questions. Before he does so,
22 formally can I invite you to confirm
the contents of
23 your respective witness statements. You, Dr Gerald
24 McCann, there's a statement dated 30 October, and
there's a statement of truth at the end of it. Is that
2 MR McCANN: It is.
Q. And then Dr Kate McCann, a far more recent statement
4 referring to
your husband's statement and again with
5 a statement of truth dated 22
November; is that right?
6 MRS McCANN: That's right.
7 MR JAY:
Just a few questions from Mr Sherborne and then
8 I will proceed.
by MR SHERBORNE
10 MR SHERBORNE: Thank you. As Mr Jay said, I'm going to just
11 ask you a few preliminary questions.
Everybody is well aware, particularly following the
13 submissions last week,
that you've been forced to take
14 a number of legal complaints or actions
as a result of
15 some of the coverage that you received following the
16 abduction of your daughter. Not just articles that were
published, but also to stop articles being published,
18 often on weekends,
and I know that Mr Jay is going to
19 talk to you about that in due course.
20 Can I just ask you, though, have you ever had to
21 give evidence before?
22 MR McCANN: No.
23 Q. So this is the first and, I hope, the last time. Given
that you've had a lifetime of lawyers, nice ones, of
25 course, can you
just explain to the Inquiry why you've
agreed to give evidence?
2 MR McCANN: I think it's for one simple reason, in that we
3 feel that a system has to be put in place to protect
ordinary people from the damage that the media can cause
5 by their activity,
which falls well below the standards
6 that I would deem acceptable.
7 Q. Of course, we all here understand that your overriding
objective is the continuing search for your daughter.
9 We've seen from
your statements, or we will see, once
10 the statements are publicly made available,
11 terms of reporting, you've experienced what I might call
12 the good, the bad and the particularly ugly side of the
press. One might ask this: is it helpful to have
14 Madeleine permanently
in the public eye?
15 MR McCANN: I've talked about this on several occasions in
16 the past, and I do not feel it's helpful, and
particularly at the time when there were daily stories
18 running throughout
2007 and 2008. It became very
19 apparent to us early on there was an
20 of speculation and misinformation. It led to confusion
21 amongst people. All we need to do is periodically
remind the public who have supported us so much that
23 Madeleine is still
missing, there's an ongoing search
24 and those responsible for taking
her are still at large
25 and have to be brought to justice.
1 MRS McCANN: I was just going to say obviously there
2 period when Madeleine was on the front page of a paper
every day, and I know occasionally people would say to
4 me "That has
to be a good thing, hasn't it? She's in
5 the public eye",
and that isn't the case because when
6 the story is so negative about her,
and we'll come into
7 that, obviously then that is not helpful. As
8 said, I think it's a reminder that's important, that's
10 Q. That's Madeleine. What about
you both being in the
11 public eye? Is that helpful?
MR McCANN: I don't think it is helpful. Obviously we
that as Madeleine's parents, and particularly
14 given what's happened
to us, that if we are delivering
15 the message, then it offers more appeal
and is more
16 likely to get coverage. And of course we have also
17 acknowledged that the media have been very helpful on
occasion particularly when we have launched appeals, and
19 huge amounts of
information have come into the inquiry
20 as a direct result of our appeals,
and we'd like to
21 thank everyone in the public who have come forward.
22 Q. Finally can I ask you this: there are a number of
specific things you'll be asked about and Mr Jay is
24 going to take you
through your statement, but it might
25 help Lord Justice Leveson and the Inquiry
if you could
outline in very general headline terms what your
2 concerns are about the culture,
practices and ethics of
3 the press.
4 MR McCANN:
I think there are four main areas I would be
5 keen to give evidence on that
we have direct experience
6 of. One is obviously libel, which has been
7 publicised, but then also the lasting damage it causes.
8 Secondly, the privacy laws and current, I would say,
gaps in legislation at the minute where companies can
10 use photographs, can
hound you, without your consent,
11 for commercial gain.
I think there has been contempt demonstrated by the
13 media, primarily the
press but to some extent
14 broadcasters as well, both for the judicial process
15 also at times Madeleine's safety. And the fourth thing,
16 which probably is not regulated by law and I hope this
Inquiry will deal with, is about what are acceptable
18 standards and how individual
journalists and corporate
19 entities, editors and subeditors, are held to
20 MR SHERBORNE: I'm very grateful. If you wait there, Mr Jay
has more questions for you.
Questions from MR JAY
23 MR JAY: Dr McCann, I have an eye on those four themes and
if you don't mind, I'll come back to them at the end of
25 your evidence.
Your witness statement is publicly
available and I can see it out of the corner of my eye
2 on a screen, but if
you could have it in front of you in
3 print, you tell us in terms of your
4 a consultant cardiologist.
McCANN: That's correct.
6 Q. And in terms of fixing ourselves back into the dates,
7 the abduction of your daughter, I think was it 3 May
9 A. That's correct.
10 Q. You tell us in your witness
statement that a photograph
11 was made immediately available, provided to
12 broadcast media and to the press, and was, as it were,
displayed everywhere. Is that correct?
14 A. There's two elements to that. The
first element was
15 what we were doing on the night and obviously we had
16 digital cameras and we were trying to get photographs
printed of Madeleine from the holiday.
18 Q. Yes.
19 A. To give
to the police, but secondly, a very good friend
20 of ours who we spoke to
in the early hours of 4 May took
21 upon himself to issue photographs of Madeleine
22 the major media outlets in the UK.
Within a very short space of time, the British press and
24 perhaps the international
press had descended on
25 Praia da Luz; is that correct?
1 A. It is.
2 Q. And you had
to make a decision as to whether to interact
3 with them and, if so, on what
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And what decision did you make and why?
6 A. The first thing to say is it was incredibly daunting.
We had been away all day. It was also apparent to us
8 whilst we were
in the police station of Porto Mario(?)
9 in the Algarve that there was already
10 coverage, particularly on Sky News, which was running in
11 the police station, somewhat bizarrely, and when we were
driving back towards the apartment, it was in the
13 evening and we could literally
see tens, if not hundreds
14 of journalists outside the apartment and satellite
15 et cetera, a large number of cameras.
There were two things going through my head: what
17 are they going to be saying?
And we've seen, I think,
18 over many years our privacy being invaded and
19 stories could be published, but ultimately, possibly
because we've seen the same thing being done in the UK,
21 I thought it
was an opportunity to issue an appeal.
22 I was given no guidance one way or
the other whether to
23 do that. I knew there could be a very heavy downside
24 interacting, but I made the decision at the time with
the information I had that it would probably be in the
1 best interests of the search for our daughter, and
decided to interact.
3 Q. Yes. You say in your statement, paragraph 15, that in
4 the initial stages, your engagement with the press
worked well. Are you able to amplify that just a little
6 bit for us,
7 A. I think for those people who can remember, it was a very
unusual scenario, and we got a distinct impression that
9 there was a genuine
want to help attitude from the
10 journalists there, and I think also many
11 executives who perhaps saw what had happened to us and
there was a huge amount of empathy. So I really did
13 feel early on
there was a desire to help.
14 Q. As you explain, the position changed, but the segue
15 perhaps into that change is some evidence you give in
relation to the Portuguese criminal system. Now each
17 culture, each
nation has a slightly different criminal
18 system, and obviously there can
be no criticism about
19 that, but what you say in Portugal is that there is
20 permitted interaction between the law enforcement
agencies and the press; is that correct?
22 A. That's correct.
Q. Do you have a view as to the possible drawbacks of that,
necessarily being critical, but it's pretty
25 obvious it gives rise to
the possibility of leaks,
2 A. Sure. I think the system is open to abuse is the first
thing, and clearly there was a ferocious appetite and
4 perhaps in the United
Kingdom with the SIO and the press
5 office for the constabulary leading the
6 would have had a very clear agenda on how to work with
7 the media, what information could be disclosed, what
might be helpful, and steering journalists away from
9 certain areas.
10 Obviously there was none of that happening, and
11 there was tremendous pressure on the Portuguese
authorities to interact with the media, and some of you
13 may remember the
very first time that happened, the
14 spokesperson gave a short statement that didn't
15 say anything, was asked a number of questions and
followed every single one of them with, "I can't give
17 you any details
because of judicial secrecy".
18 Q. Yes.
19 A. So there was
a huge appetite, and we quickly realised
20 that there was a tremendous amount
of speculation in the
21 coverage both in the newspapers and also you had 24-hour
22 news channels there constantly, and we found that to be
24 Q. In terms of the conduit type of information, is this
correct, that whatever the strict legal position in
Portugal, information was being leaked by the Portuguese
2 police to the Portuguese
press, that's stage one, and
3 having been leaked to the Portuguese press,
4 press then picked up on that self-same information,
5 that's stage two? Is that an accurate description?
A. I cannot tell you for certain that it was the Portuguese
who were leaking information, but for anyone who
8 followed the headlines in
July, August and September
9 2007, I think it would be a perfectly reasonable
10 assumption to make that elements of the inquiry were
speaking to the Portuguese police -- sorry, Portuguese
12 press. I do
not know whether they were speaking
13 directly to the British media, but what
we clearly saw
14 were snippets of information which as far as I was
15 concerned the British media could not tell whether it
was true or not, which was then reported, often
17 exaggerated and blown up
into many tens, in fact
18 hundreds of front page headlines.
Q. The British press did not have the means of verifying
20 the information,
but your complaint is that the
21 information was distorted and magnified;
do I have it
23 A. I think I'm complaining
on all of the grounds, that they
24 didn't know the source, didn't
know whether it was
25 accurate, it was exaggerated and often downright
1 untruthful and often
I believe, on occasions, made up.
2 Q. We're going to cover the detail of that in a moment,
3 Dr McCann. Throughout the summer of 2007, the interest
of the British press was retained in the story, wasn't
5 it? They
were constantly there in Praia da Luz; is that
A. Yes. It did surprise us. Obviously after the initial
period, and I can understand that what we ended up doing
9 by having an international
campaign was unprecedented,
10 but we did send a very clear signal, as the
11 focused more and more on Kate and myself, that the focus
12 should be on Madeleine and we fully expected, around
mid-June, for the British media to leave. We decided we
14 had to stay
in Portugal to be close to Madeleine, to be
15 close to the investigation,
and certainly didn't feel
16 capable of leaving at that point, so it did
17 that there was so much ongoing interest when there
18 really wasn't very much happening.
19 Q. In terms
of the advice you were getting or not getting,
20 I'm going to put to one
side the issue of the PCC into
21 a later sequence in your evidence, but you
tell us in
22 your witness statement that there were two resources
23 available to you. Paragraph 21, first of all, someone
from Bell Pottinger who gave you assistance. Tell us
25 a little bit
about that please and the value that person
was able to provide to you.
2 A. Yes, so Alex Woolfall who works for Bell Pottinger was
3 brought out really to deal with the media crisis
management specialist on behalf of Mark Warner, and at
5 that point he was
leading the engagement with the media
6 who were present in Praia da Luz, and
he was very
7 helpful. He just gave us some simple tips, which we've
8 tried to stick to, and that was: if you interact, what's
your objective, should be the question you ask yourself.
10 And how is it going
to help? And obviously our
11 objective is to find Madeleine, and that's
12 that we have tried to apply when we interact with the
13 media. Today is one of the exceptions, where it's not
the primary purpose of our engagement.
15 Q. Thank you. And you also mentioned someone
16 Clarence Mitchell, who was seconded to the FCO as part
of the media liaison in Praia da Luz.?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And you
fairly say that person's help was invaluable.
20 Is there anything you
would wish to add in relation to
21 the assistance that person gave you?
22 A. I think at times we've been criticised for having
somebody to deal with the media, but the volume of
24 requests was incredible,
both nationally and
25 internationally, and it was almost -- well, I don't
1 how Clarence
managed it in May and early June 2007, but
2 it was a full-time job just dealing
with those requests
3 and it's been very important. As I said, we
4 prior media experience, but in terms of just shielding
us from the inquiries which were constant.
6 MRS McCANN: Gave us a little bit of protection,
7 MR McCANN: And obviously we were working very hard behind
the scenes, and let us spend some time with our family,
9 as well.
10 Q. In paragraph 24 of your statement, Dr McCann, you deal
with the suggestion, well, here you are dealing with the
12 press and then
in parentheses, on your own terms, that
13 almost allows the press open season
to deal with you on
14 their terms. Maybe I'm slightly over-exaggerating
15 point, but in your own words, please, what is your view
about that suggestion?
17 A. Well, it has been argued on many occasions that by
engaging then it was more or less open season, and
19 I think it's crass
and insensitive to suggest that by
20 engaging with a view to trying to find
21 that the press can write whatever they want about you
22 without punishment.
23 Q. The next section of
your statement deals with accuracy
24 of reporting and you point out that after
a period of
25 time, there was little new news to report.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. It may be at
that point that the agenda started to morph
3 and in paragraph 27 you state
"clearly it didn't take
4 long before innuendo started to creep in".
Are you able
5 to elaborate on that, if you were to wish to?
A. Yeah, I mean I think there were two elements. The
quickly became highly speculative, and often
8 stories -- for example, there
must have been "McCann
9 fury" on the front page of many newspapers
10 summer that would quote an unnamed source or friends,
11 and unless our phones were hacked, which I don't think
they were, then these were made up because they were
13 simply not true.
14 So there was clearly pressure to produce a story.
15 The reporters who were based in Praia da Luz, first
thing they did each day was get the Portuguese press,
17 get it translated,
and decide what they were going to
18 write about, and I don't think any
of it was helpful.
19 Q. The date you give for the shift of the emphasis of the
media reporting is about June 2007, is it, but then you
21 feel the mood may
have been moving or turning a bit in
22 the British press? Or perhaps
a bit later than that?
23 A. Yeah, I mean obviously I think we've realised that if
24 you're in the spotlight for anything, then not
everything that's going to be written about you is
1 either going to be sympathetic or supportive, so we
quickly saw that what we thought may be a good thing to
3 do would be criticised.
Whether it would be our
4 decision to go to Rome or not was criticised in certain
5 quarters. Even at the time for us it was very important
to us. So there was that element, and then there were
7 more sinister
elements were starting to creep into the
Firstly, the first really bad thing was an article
10 that was written in a
Portuguese paper which was
11 entitled, "Pact of silence", and it
was starting to
12 refer that there was some sort of sinister agreement
13 between us and our friends to cover up what had
happened, and I thought that was rather ludicrous,
15 considering that we were
all acting under judicial
16 secrecy and couldn't speak about the details
17 event. But that -- it was probably towards the end of
18 June 2007, and slowly deteriorated through July,
culminating in September 2007.
20 Q. The real spate of offensive and objectionable material,
21 if I can be forgiven for using those epithets, starts in
September 2007 and runs on to January 2008, and we'll be
23 looking at
those in a moment.
24 In paragraph 32, you make the
general point that UK
25 press articles were often based on bits and pieces
1 picked up from Portuguese
articles, transmuted from
2 supposition into fact; is that right?
3 A. Yeah, absolutely. And I think one of the articles that
springs to mind actually was a piece in a Portuguese
5 newspaper where somebody
was talking to the prosecutor
6 and was asking what he thought had happened
7 was a quote saying he didn't know whether Madeleine was
8 alive or dead, and I think the following line was
"probably dead", and that translated into the front page
10 of the
Daily Mirror with a photograph of Madeleine with
11 a headline, "She's
dead", which we saw at 11 o'clock at
12 night, we were trying to go
to bed. Obviously that was
13 one of the most distressing headlines,
it was presented
14 as if it's factual, and it was just taken from that
15 supposition, I don't know, probability. It's
17 Q. One key event in this narrative is you becoming, if
I pronounce it right, arguido, under Portuguese law,
19 which occurred on 7
September 2007, and this is
20 paragraph 34 of your witness statement.
To be clear
21 about it, and you'll correct me if I'm wrong because
22 know more about this than me, arguido does not mean
"suspect", it means "person of interest"; is that
25 A. That's what we were advised was the closest correlation
1 or translation within UK law at the time, and I think
2 is probably important to emphasise that as a witness in
Portugal at that time you were not entitled to any legal
So if the police wanted to ask any
5 question, which your answer may give incriminating
6 evidence, then they must declare you arguido, then you
were entitled to have a lawyer there. And in many ways
8 you could argue
that all parents of a missing child,
9 certainly those who would have been
the last to see
10 them, could have to answer questions like that. So
11 being labelled arguido was not necessarily such a bad
13 However, I will acknowledge that there were
14 elements of the investigation team which clearly were
15 trying to portray that there was strong evidence that
Madeleine was dead and that we were involved.
17 Q. Maybe there are two points here. The
first point is the
18 obvious one that needs to be stated. There isn't
19 equivalent concept of arguido in English law?
A. No. And I think the aspect on that is we've never been
arrested, we've never been charged with anything. We've
23 Q. Do you happen to know whether under Portuguese law they
have a category of suspect?
25 A. I think it is loosely used, but you could have multiple
1 arguidos within any
investigation, and at that time, the
2 title "arguido" stayed with
those involved until the
3 file was closed.
Do you think, rightly or wrongly, the British press
5 somehow interpreted "arguido"
as equivalent to
6 "suspect", which carried with it, therefore, its
8 A. Yes. I mean clearly
the word was used that way almost
Q. At this point we are in the late summer, obviously, or
11 early autumn
of 2007. If I can move you forward to
12 paragraph 39 of your statement.
You're making the point
13 that the story in terms of objective fact is
14 to run dry and reporters now are thrashing around for
15 something new.
16 A. I think it's probably worth
just clarifying that within
17 ten days of being made arguidos, the prosecutor
18 announcement that all lines of inquiry, including the
abduction of Madeleine, were open and no charges were
20 being brought at that
time, but that didn't stop the
21 continued reporting of inaccurate, untruthful
22 incredibly damaging reports.
23 Q. From
the perspective of the newspaper and the sort of
24 economic calculation they
may wish to conduct -- you
25 deal with this in paragraph 39 -- but you have
this story was, at least in the opinion of those
2 running one of the newspapers,
3 circulation figures. Is that right?
A. I think that's clear, and Peter Ellis testified that to
Parliamentary Select Committee.
6 Q. The specific tone of the articles changes in September
7 2007. We're going to look at that particularly in
a moment. In paragraph 40, however, you refer to one
9 piece in the Evening
Standard, which is I think the very
10 day you were declared arguidos, 7 September
11 "Police believe mother killed Maddie."
12 A. Mm.
13 Q. Was that the first time that point was made so baldly
14 and so falsely?
15 A. There's been so many
headlines of similar gravity that
16 I can't tell you honestly whether
that was the first
18 MRS McCANN: I think
that may have been the first time it
19 was in a headline. In August
2007, we were told by
20 a BBC journalist, in fact he stopped us and said,
21 you seen what's getting reported? They're saying
22 there's blood in the apartment, they're saying that you
were involved. Madeleine's been killed and you were
So actually it was stirring up in August
25 2007, but I think the headlines
like that became very
prominent once we were made arguidos.
2 Q. Then you refer to two articles in the Daily Mail which,
3 unless I've missed something, we don't have available
today, but the first one published in September 2007 you
5 summarise in paragraph
41, the subheading:
6 "I pray the Portuguese police
are careering down the
7 wrong track, but from the start a terrible nagging
8 has refused to leave me."
That, for what it's worth, was corrected by another
10 piece as late as
4 May 2009, which you deal with in
11 paragraph 43; is that correct?
12 MR McCANN: It is. I should probably clarify that
paragraph 41 refers to Kate rather than myself, but yes,
14 that's correct.
15 Q. In paragraph 46, you deal with a theme which you're not
the first to address, namely presence of photographers.
17 We know, of course,
that you came home at a certain
18 point, I can't remember precisely when
it was, but once
19 you're home, you then have photographers outside your
20 home. Can you just tell us a little bit about that, and
in particular the impact that had on you?
22 A. I think the first thing probably to say is it
23 when we said we were leaving Portugal, which we'd
already told the police we were going to leave before we
25 were declared arguidos,
and the journey to the airport
was one of the most terrifying experiences, I think,
2 anyone could have, where
cars were coming across,
3 cutting in front, cameras, people hanging out of
4 windows, motorbike riders. It was just dangerous,
6 When we got back to our home in
Rothley, again there
7 were tens of journalists -- we live in a cul de sac,
8 the end of it -- camped outside our house, cameras,
helicopter crews following us. We were hemmed in the
10 house for a couple
of days before the police moved them
11 to the end of our drive.
Q. Then you tell us that photographers were still banging
13 on car windows,
even with one or more children in the
14 car; is that right?
MRS McCANN: And they stayed there until December 2007.
16 That was only
after we had help to get them removed, but
17 they were there every day, and
they'd wait for Gerry to
18 go and they knew I'd have to come out of
the house at
19 some point with the children. It would be the same
20 photograph every day, we'd be in the car, myself and two
children, the photographers would either spring out from
22 behind a hedge
to get a startled look that they could
23 attach "fragile", "furious",
whatever they wanted to put
24 with the headline, but there were several occasions
25 where they would bang on the windows, sometimes with the
1 camera lenses, and Amelie said to me
2 "Mummy, I'm scared."
MR McCANN: I'd like to point out the twins at that time
4 were still
only two and a half years old. Very
Q. You deal with two further matters, perhaps less serious
7 than this,
because what you've told us of course is
8 a plain breach of the code,
that we may come to in due
There was a photograph of you, Dr Gerald McCann, on
11 the golf course, which
obviously is a private place, and
12 then the distortion of photographs of
you, Dr Kate
13 McCann, to present, no doubt, a certain image. Often
14 coupled with the adjectives "frail" or "fragile", which
15 you've told us about.
In terms of the effect on you, you described it, and
17 of course it will be
obvious to us, but looking more
18 broadly, the effect on the continuing investigation,
19 which after all is your primary focus then, as it is
now, are you able to quantify that for us and describe
A. Well, I think from -- reputational aspects aside, the
that was caused to us was the clear message
24 that was going out nationally
throughout Europe and
25 internationally was that there was very strong evidence
1 that our daughter
was dead and that we were somehow
2 implicated in her disappearance, and we
knew that if
3 people believed that, then there couldn't be
a meaningful search, and it was incredible. And any
5 aspects of campaigning
for a search with what happened
6 to us and how it was portrayed in the media
7 were completely hamstrung in our ability to counter
9 MRS McCANN: These were desperate times. You know, we were
having to try and find our daughter ourselves. We
11 needed all the help
we could get, and we were faced
12 with -- I know we'll come on to headlines,
13 in the car"; I don't know how many times I read
14 fluids in the car". And it gets repeated that often,
15 becomes fact. There were no body fluids. We
desperately wanted to shout out "It's not true, it's not
but when it's your voice against the powerful
18 media, it just doesn't
have a weight. We were
19 desperately shouting out internally "Please
20 are you doing? We're trying to find our daughter and
21 you're stopping our chances of finding her".
MR McCANN: The point being, which I alluded to earlier, is
23 that we
were told in no uncertain terms that if we
24 disclosed anything publicly which
we knew to be in the
25 judicial file, ie the results which had been shown
1 us, which we
knew were not what was being reported about
2 DNA, then we were threatened
with a two-year
3 imprisonment for breaking judicial secrecy, so we were
4 being tried by the media and unable to defend ourselves
6 Q. You tell us in your statement a series of steps which
were taken to try and abate this flood. Can I try and
8 summarise it
in this way? First of all, a meeting is
9 organised with the editors
of the major UK tabloid
10 newspapers. That's in September 2007,
when a clear
11 message was put out to them, and you tell us that had a
12 transient effect. It's paragraph 53 of your witness
14 A. Sure. I think there's two elements. Within the first
15 week of being back, we had appointed solicitors,
Kingsley Napley, and Angus McBride, who is one of the
17 solicitors who represented
us at that time, he thought
18 it was very important that he would -- we should
19 modify the content of the press articles, and he went
with Justine McGuinness, who was campaign manager at
21 that point, and met
with all the editors from the major
22 newspapers and emphasised to them that
it was his strong
23 belief that there was no evidence to support what they
24 were reporting. But it seemed to have very little
In fact, I think Kingsley Napley then pressurised
2 Leicestershire police to
write to the broadcasters and
3 editors, and there's a letter from Matt
Baggott, who was
4 Chief Constable at that time, urging restraint and
5 saying there was very inaccurate reporting.
We organised another round of meetings with Angus
7 and Clarence, who then
came back to work for us later on
8 in September 2007, and that was followed
up with another
9 letter from the Chief Constable, I think on 17 October,
10 if my memory --
11 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: 8 October.
12 A. Thank you. Failed.
13 MR JAY: 17 September, 8 October.
14 A. And obviously these things were done because the
coverage was continuing such a bad way.
16 Q. You identify the worst offenders, and we'll
17 at this quite carefully in a moment, amongst the
Express Group newspapers, which included the Daily Star
19 and the Daily Express,
the Sunday Express and the
20 Sunday Star?
22 Q. Did there come a point when warnings were given by your
lawyers in the context of possible claims in defamation,
24 by which I mean
25 A. Yes. Kingsley Napley had written to the Express Group
1 twice, explicitly, telling them that
they were on
2 notice, that we felt that the content of the articles
3 was libellous, and we reserved the right to take action.
Then I think what you see in paragraph 66 is
5 a series of articles produced
in January 2008 over
6 a very short period of time, rehashing largely, but
7 other things come on, and I think it's important to
emphasise we had met with Adam Tudor from Carter Ruck,
9 who is as you know
a libel specialist, and we had talked
10 about legal action, which for us was
always a last
11 resort. We felt we had a more important battle to
12 fight, which was finding our daughter, but we felt that
it was our only course of action open to us at that
14 point that would stop
15 MRS McCANN: And I think it's important to emphasise, again,
some of the headlines that we faced. They were
17 incessant. And
they're not just slight inaccuracies.
18 I mean, "It was her blood
in parents' hire car".
19 Totally untrue.
Q. Let's look at some of these articles, please. What I'm
going to do is invite your attention first of all to
22 GM2, which is a schedule
you have prepared, with
23 directly underneath it articles in the Daily Express,
24 specifically. These run from 27 September 2007 to
22 January 2008. The ones you have specifically
1 identified in paragraph 66 of your witness statement we
can look at, but first of all, we can get the flavour of
3 some of the headlines.
4 9 October 2007: "DNA puts parents in frame.
5 British experts insist their tests are valid".
17 October 2007: "Parents' hire car hid a corpse.
7 It was under
carpet in boot, say police".
8 Then "Priest:
I was deceived".
9 I haven't counted them
up, but there are probably
10 about 25 similar pieces running over a three
11 four-month period.
Let's just look at some of them, if you don't mind.
13 MR McCANN: Sure.
Q. We're in GM2, and the first of them --
15 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: We're not intending
to put these on
16 the website, are we, Mr Jay?
JAY: Well, if there's a problem, we won't. I didn't
understand there to be, but at the moment these are not
19 on any website,
20 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: No. I just don't particularly want
to give greater prominence or currency to articles that
22 have caused enough
distress in their time.
23 MR JAY: Yes.
24 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:
By all means refer to them and that
25 can be part of the evidence, but it
seems to me that's
2 Are you content with that approach?
3 A. Obviously the articles themselves have been pulled, but
they are -- their contents have been widely disseminated
5 through many blogs,
as you're probably well aware, but
6 we have no issue with discussing the
7 MR JAY: Yes. I think the best thing to do, unless someone
says I should adopt a different course, is I'm not going
9 to ask for the
articles to be put on the screen, but I'm
10 just going to refer to the
articles and we can bring out
11 maybe one or two points. If at any point
you tell me
12 no, you don't want me to proceed down a particular
13 road --
14 A. Sure.
-- of course I won't. So I'll do this as quickly and as
as I can, Dr McCann, just to give the flavour.
you look, please, at the internal numbering, it's
18 page 10 of GM2.
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. There's an article:
"It was her blood in parents' hire car, new DNA
22 tests report".
23 The overall flavour or thrust of this article was
24 that there was DNA evidence which linked your daughter
with a hire car. What do you say about that? I'm sure
1 you have a lot to say about it, but in a nutshell --
A. The first thing to say is it's simply untrue.
DNA was not uncovered from the hire car,
4 that's the first thing.
5 Q. Yes.
6 A. The inference from this is, and I think the public who
7 think that DNA is a very strong evidence in cases would
take this to mean, absolutely, that Madeleine was in the
9 hire car that we
hired more than three weeks after she
10 disappeared. It's incredible.
11 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: Interestingly enough, what they're
doing is reporting a newspaper as saying that, so that's
13 how it comes
out. A Portuguese newspaper.
14 A. Well, often you'll find that there would be something
15 down in the article. They weren't published in the
prominence that they were in these papers. And no way
17 of checking
the source, which is a recurring theme.
18 These are all sources, unnamed sources
in the original
20 MR JAY: If we
move, please, to page 15, the headline reads:
McCanns are main suspects, say police."
23 A. Well, the police weren't speaking to the media under
judicial law, and we haven't had any of the police
25 identified who have
given these statements. I would
like to know who they are. Perhaps they could face
2 contempt of court
3 Q. Okay. Page 17, this is another headline you refer to in
5 "Priest 'bans' Madeleine.
He takes down posters as
6 Praia da Luz" and then I think this should
7 inverted commas "wipes her from its memory."
What's the innuendo there? It's pretty obvious.
9 A. It is, and I think the key
thing here is obviously that
10 the Church community in Praia da Luz were incredibly
11 supportive to Kate and I spiritually.
12 MRS McCANN:
And still are.
13 MR McCANN: And at that point they continued to hold
a weekly vigil for Madeleine, so obviously saying that
15 the town and the
Portuguese locals had turned their back
16 on us was a clear innuendo from
this article, which
17 again was not true.
In GM3, if we can quickly navigate our way through that,
19 this is another
schedule of articles; this time,
20 however, we're looking at the Daily
Star and the
21 Daily Star Sunday. There's a similar number of
22 articles, really. No, it's more. Maybe about 50 of
23 them. What is similar is the broad dates, from
27 September 2007 to 22 January 2008.
25 Two of the
articles you specifically referred to in
your evidence, we can just quickly alight on them. Look
2 at page 117,
please, Dr McCann. An article in the
3 Daily Star on 26 November 2007:
4 "Maddie 'sold' by hard-up McCanns."
5 This is the article you do refer to, the selling
6 into white slavery allegation. Probably you don't want
to dignify that with a comment?
8 A. That's nothing short of disgusting.
MRS McCANN: I think this same journalist, if memory serves
also said we stored her body in a freezer.
11 I mean, we just ...
12 Q. The final one, I've read all of these, Dr McCann, last
night. We could look at all of them. These are
15 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: Just to make the comment, there's
absolutely no source for that assertion in that article.
17 MR McCANN: No.
MR JAY: There's a generic reference to a bombshell new
theory, but completely non-attributed.
20 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: Yes. Sorry.
MR JAY: Probably entirely made up.
22 Page 132.
23 "She did die in hol [short for
24 flat; blood traces [in capitals] are Maddie's, car
25 fluids [again in capitals] are from corpse" and then
1 "-- cops: body had been moved."
2 And then there's a reference to a possible grilling
3 by the British police, they have sensational new
evidence. Are you going to dignify this with a comment
5 or not?
6 A. I mean, you can, I hope, understand why we felt we had
to take proceedings from the severity and consistency of
8 the allegations
9 Q. Can we deal now with the proceedings? If you want me to
go further through the schedule, through the articles,
11 please let me know.
I detect you probably don't. We
12 have enough of a flavour; is that
right, Dr McCann?
13 A. Mm.
14 Q. But what happened next, your solicitors
15 involved, letters before action had been sent. To pick
16 up the story at paragraph 68, you say that on 7 February
your solicitors were contacted by the Express, and they
18 proposed some sort
of deal with you. Can you tell us
19 about their proposal?
A. It was pretty much said because we were arguidos, they
agree to our complaint, but they did suggest
22 that we did an interview with
OK magazine, which we
23 found rather breath-taking.
Q. Right. It goes without saying that that offer was not
and matters proceeded. Paragraph 69, the
Express by now had taken expert advice and they now
2 indicated that their
articles were defamatory; is that
5 Q. Could you give us a sense of the timescale here? The
first offer from the Express was 7 February, this was
7 the Hello magazine
offer, but when did the admission of
8 wrongdoing, as it were, come in?
9 A. It did drag out a bit. I can't give you the exact
dates. I do have it on file. But there was an
that they might be prepared to make an
12 apology and also consider damages.
We wanted to make
13 sure that those damages reflected the seriousness of
14 what they had published and it was -- to be honest, the
damages for us were a secondary consideration. It was
16 more about getting
a front page apology to send a clear
17 message that we wouldn't tolerate
18 allegations in other newspapers either.
Q. The statement in open court was read out on 19 March
21 A. Mm.
22 Q. £550,000 was paid to Madeleine's Fund, and there
23 also an apology on the front page, is this right, both
of the Express and of the Star? Or is it just the
1 A. No, both.
JUSTICE LEVESON: Express Newspapers, and given that
3 we've gone
into it, it's probably sensible just to read
"In addition to the allegations referred to above,
6 the Daily Star published
further articles under the
7 headlines which sought to allege that Mr and Mrs
8 had sold their daughter in order to ease their financial
9 burdens. A further article alleged that Mr and
Mrs McCann were involved in swinging or wife swapping.
11 As the defendant
now acknowledges, all of these
12 allegations were and remain entirely untrue.
13 particular, there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest
that Mr and Mrs McCann were responsible for the death of
15 their daughter,
they were involved in any sort of
16 cover-up and there was no basis for Express
17 to allege otherwise.
"Equally, the allegations that Mr and Mrs McCann may
19 have sold Madeleine
or were involved in swinging or wife
20 swapping were entirely baseless.
Naturally the repeated
21 publication of these utterly false and defamatory
22 allegations have caused untold distress to Mr and
Mrs McCann. Indeed, it is difficult to conceive of
24 a more serious
25 That just provides some context.
Transcript of afternoon session (pages 41-83), 23 November 2011
Transcript of afternoon session (pages 41-83) Leveson Inquiry
November 23 2011
1 A. Thank
2 MR JAY: What may be worthy of consideration though is the
possible rapidity of change of stance. On the one hand,
4 they were maintaining
their articles, they get leading
5 counsel's advice, then all of a sudden
they say it's all
6 entirely wrong and maybe it's worth a consideration
7 and why that volte face occurs.
8 LORD JUSTICE
LEVESON: Could you tell me this. They
9 presumably published something
as well. Where was it
12 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: Yes.
13 A. They were on
the front page. We insisted. And we would
14 have gone to court
to get that.
15 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: Do we have that?
16 MR JAY:
I don't think we have the text of the apologies on
17 the front page, do
18 A. Not the full apology.
19 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: All right.
20 MR JAY: We can look at those, if necessary.
You deal with the issue of exemplary damages,
22 punitive damages in paragraph
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. But you decided in the end not to pursue those;
1 A. It is. We were told that we had, after taking counsel's
advice, that we would be very likely to be successful in
3 such a claim, and
my understanding of that was that
4 there would be a very strong argument that
5 Newspapers knew that the allegations, or many of them,
6 were unfounded or certainly couldn't prove any of them,
and despite the steps we had taken from September 2007
8 through to issuing
proceedings made it very clear there
9 was no evidence to back it up, that
we could only assume
10 they were acting for profit.
Q. After these matters -- we're now in March of 2008 -- the
to the question may be fairly obvious, but were
13 there any further objectionable
articles in the British
15 A. There
was certainly a dramatic sea change within Express
16 Group Newspapers and
I think largely the coverage has
17 been much more responsible and balanced.
18 mean that there hasn't been articles published which
19 untruthful. They may not be libellous or defamatory,
20 some of them, and we've had to have certain articles
pulled, but there was a clear change. With hindsight,
22 I wish we'd
taken action earlier.
23 Q. In paragraph 76, you deal with related litigation
involving your friends, I believe, who were with you on
25 holiday. Can
I take this point quite shortly, that they
1 too recovered damages?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. I think in total the amount was £375,000.
4 A. That's
5 Q. But so it's clear, I've been asked to draw this from
you, that the defendant to the proceedings brought by
7 your friends was again
8 A. That's correcting.
9 Q. Or their publishers.
The Sun reported it, although the
10 Sun themselves, to be absolutely clear,
were not the
11 defendants, they hadn't defamed you. They reported
12 those settlements, I'm told, at page 25, and there were
similar reports in the Daily Mirror. But so there's no
14 doubt about
it, the Sun and the Daily Mirror are not the
15 defamers. They are reporting
what's happened in
16 relation to proceedings brought by other organs of
Paragraph 78 to 80, Associated Newspapers, please.
19 You made a further libel
complaint in July of 2008 in
20 relation to coverage in the Daily Mail and
21 Standard. Can we be clear which articles these relate
22 to, since you don't specify it in paragraph 79? Do
I have this right? Are you referring back to the
24 article at paragraph
40 of your witness statement,
25 Dr McCann?
1 A. There had been a large number of articles, similar tone
to the ones that we had complained of previously, so it
3 was more again about
DNA, blood, suspects, Madeleine
4 being killed, et cetera, rather than anything
5 Paragraph 40 --
6 Q. You identify one
article in the Evening Standard
7 published on 7 September 2007.
A. Sure. There were many similar articles like that,
in the Evening Standard at that time.
10 MRS McCANN: The corpse in the car was the Evening Standard,
11 I think.
12 Q. In a nutshell, what was the outcome
of these libel
14 MR McCANN: We
did settle. They paid damages and there was
15 an apology published in
the Evening Standard. The
16 Daily Mail did not publish an apology.
17 Q. One point you make, these libel proceedings were brought
with the benefit of conditional fee agreements; is that
20 A. Yes. I think it's very important, given the scale of
the task that faced us, and we were given -- we made our
22 decisions after
being fully informed of the pathway, and
23 I think that's very important.
It was a last resort.
24 And at the time, given our circumstances, I do not
25 believe we would have had the resource to go down that
1 path if it wasn't for a CFA being in place.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: This is going to be your choice. It
happen to anybody else, but it will be your
4 choice. If you'd like
a break for five minutes, we'll
5 have it. If you prefer to carry
on, we'll carry on.
6 A. I'm happy to carry on.
7 LORD JUSTICE
LEVESON: Right. I ought to say, I've
8 confirmed it with the
9 MR JAY: There's a fair bit more, I don't want to rush this,
10 but we'll see how we get on.
Paragraph 82, the first anniversary. You explain
12 that you agreed to
an interview with Hello magazine.
13 Just tell us a bit, please, about why
you did that?
14 A. I think the first thing to say, it was very specific and
we had -- clearly we've talked about our prime
16 objective, which is finding
Madeleine, and what we've
17 hoped is that some good would come out of
18 to us. And one of the things, through our own research
19 and having been to the National Centre for Missing and
Exploited Children in the USA, was to talk about
21 AMBER Alert, and we decided
that we would start
22 campaigning for a joined-up alert system for missing
23 children within Europe, particularly on the continent of
25 For that very specific reason, because Hello
1 distributed, I think, in 14 European countries, they did
2 approach us and said that they would promote the
campaign, and at the time we were lobbying MEPs to sign
4 declarations supporting
an alert system, so we agreed to
5 do an interview on that basis, which, just
6 of course, we were not paid for.
McCANN: Many of the media outlets didn't really want to
8 run with
the work we were doing for the child rescue
9 alert, which in itself is disappointing
because it is
10 important but obviously it's not as exciting, or
11 whatever the word is, when it comes to headlines and
stories. So we saw this as an opportunity of improving
13 things for
the greater good really.
14 Q. One rival however wasn't best pleased and you touch on
15 this in paragraph 84. Maybe this is quite
understandable, but tell us a little bit about the call
17 you received from
the then editor of the
18 News of the World.
19 MR McCANN:
I think it would be fair to say that Mr Myler
20 was irate when he learned
of the publication which
21 happened and was berating us for not doing an interview
22 with the News of the World and told us how supportive
the newspaper had been, the news and rewards, and a time
24 of stress for us
on the first anniversary, where we were
25 actually launching a new campaign,
we were still
1 arguidos at the time, a new call number for people to
come forward so we could continue the search for our
3 daughter, and we were
interacting with the media to get
4 that message out.
He basically beat us into submission, verbally, and
6 we agreed to do an interview
the day after.
7 MRS McCANN: Can I just emphasise, this is at an extremely
stressful time. It was the run-up to one year of not
9 having our daughter
with us. Emotionally as well as
10 logistically, everything we were trying
to do, it was
11 incredibly hard. So to get a call like this, and you
12 actually almost feel guilty, you know, because they're
saying, "We helped you, we got a reward", and you almost
"I'm sorry", and it's almost like somebody won't
you unless you give something back.
16 MR McCANN: And of course we were trying to make the
17 distinction between interacting with the media for what
we thought was something helpful for the search, and
19 simply doing an interview,
which we knew would focus on
20 the human interest aspects and not necessarily
21 search for Madeleine.
22 Q. The News of
the World come into the narrative a few
23 months later, as you rightly say
at paragraph 86. It
24 may be that Dr Kate McCann would like to deal
25 but I'm in your hands. Out of the blue, 14 September
1 2008, transcripts from your personal diary appear or
purport to appear in the News of the World. Can you
3 tell us a bit about
4 MRS McCANN: You're right, this was totally out of the blue.
It was Sunday lunchtime, we'd just got back from church
6 and I got the
text message from Gail, who works in the
7 nursery where Madeleine, Sean and
Amelie went, and it
8 just said, "Saw your diary in the newspapers.
9 Heartbreaking. I hope you're all right." And it was
10 totally out of the blue, and I had that horrible panicky
feeling, confusion and, you know, what's she on about?
12 I didn't
have a clue. We rapidly found out, it was the
13 News of the World.
I went and looked at it online,
14 which was five pages, including the front
page. I got
15 my original handwritten copy of my diary out and sat
16 there, and it was lifted in its entirety and put in the
newspaper without my knowledge. Apart from the odd
18 word, which was
-- I think it was a translational error,
19 that had obviously been taken --
20 Portuguese, and then a Portuguese copy had then been
21 translated back to English, which was slightly different
from the original, but pretty verbatim and it had been
23 put there.
24 I felt totally violated. I'd written these words
25 and thoughts at the most desperate time in my life, most
1 people won't have to experience that, and it was my only
2 way of communicating with Madeleine, and for me, you
know, there was absolutely no respect shown for me as
4 a grieving mother or
as a human being or for my
5 daughter, and it made me feel very vulnerable
6 and I just couldn't believe it.
It didn't stop there. It's not just a one-day
That whole week was incredibly traumatic and
9 every time I thought about it,
I just couldn't believe
10 the injustice. I actually just recently
read through my
11 diary entries at that point at that week and I talk
12 about climbing into a hole and not coming out because
I just felt so worthless that we'd been treated like
15 Q. Can we be clear as to the provenance of the diary. You
mentioned a Portuguese translation, which may be a clear
17 indication of provenance
but perhaps I can take this
18 quite shortly, that the judicial or police authorities
19 in Portugal had obtained or had seized a copy of your
diary, or perhaps it was the original, in August 2007;
21 is that right?
22 MRS McCANN: Yes, it was --
23 Q. We're talking about a hard
copy, manuscript document?
24 MRS McCANN: It was just handwritten. They'd come and
25 they had taken clothes from the villa and we had to
1 leave, and when we got back later that day, they said
they'd also taken my diaries as well, which I have to
3 say was a little
bit of a shock, but it did come back to
4 me about 24, 48 hours later, so I
obtained the original
5 copy. Obviously, photocopies were taken during
7 Q. Yes. It wasn't clear
from your statement, but it now
8 is. It was within quite a short space
of time that the
9 original was returned to you, you believe by order of
10 a Portuguese judge, so it sounds as if the initial
seizure had been a step too far, or whatever. But
12 a copy of the original
must have been taken by someone,
13 presumably someone within the Portuguese
14 judicial authorities; is that correct?
MR McCANN: I think it's clear that the police had copied
16 the journal
and had it translated, and of course at the
17 time we didn't understand
why the journal could have
18 been relevant because Kate only started keeping
19 a couple of weeks after Madeleine was taken, so we
didn't know there was a copy until the file was released
21 the following
summer, but within the file, the
22 Portuguese judicial file, there is an order
23 judge, who's read the translation and says, "This is of
24 no interest to the investigation, it's Kate's personal
thoughts and should not ..." and he actually used the
1 word "violation".
2 MRS McCANN:
He used the word "violation". He said use of
3 which would
be a violation of its author.
4 MR McCANN: And ordered that any copies be destroyed.
5 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: And further investigation of that has
revealed, if anything? To unpick where this came from?
7 MR McCANN: I would like further
investigation as to where
8 it came from.
9 MRS McCANN:
10 MR McCANN: Because clearly it was an illegal copy.
MR JAY: I think what it relevant, and I think this has
12 already come
out from Dr Kate McCann's evidence, is that
13 one or two things were lost
in the translation, or
14 changed, which indicates that the piece in the
15 News of the World was a translation from the Portuguese.
MR McCANN: Yes.
17 Q. Because had it been precisely verbatim, it might have
led us --
19 MRS McCANN: Very subtle changes but things like where
I said I was "really upset", it says I was "fed up". It
does change the meaning slightly.
22 Q. It may be we can investigate that or it may be that we
23 will receive an admission as to --
24 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:
I'd like to know whether there is a
1 MRS McCANN: It would be nice to know the source.
2 LORD JUSTICE
LEVESON: Is there a byline on the article?
3 MR JAY: It says "in her own words".
4 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: Yes, yes, yes, I understand that, but
is there a reporter's name associated with it?
6 MR JAY: Pardon me, yes, there is.
7 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: There you are, there's a potential
line of inquiry.
9 MR JAY: It's a point I'd like to think can be dealt with
10 very quickly by someone. It can be confirmed, because
it's pointless denying it really. There's only one
13 You do refer in paragraph 93 to
a conversation which
14 was reported to you from Clarence with the deputy editor
15 of the News of the World as he then was, Mr Ian
Edmondson. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
17 MR McCANN: I think the first thing
to say is that Clarence
18 would speak to Ian Edmondson, who was deputy editor
19 was probably responsible for most of the stories about
Madeleine at that time. So Clarence spoke to Ian on
21 a regular basis
and one or two of the News of the World
22 reporters. Clarence had mentioned
it to me, just saying
23 that the News of the World had indicated that they
24 do a supportive story, mainly attacking the Portuguese
police, but generally supportive. That was it. There
1 was no mention of having a copy of Kate's diary, no
2 mention that they were intending to publish it verbatim.
So as Kate has already said, it was a complete shock
4 when we heard that it
5 Q. Yes. They have breached a number of tortious
obligations which it's not necessary to spell out. It
in a complaint, the possibility of
8 litigation, but that was avoided by an
apology from the
9 News of the World and the payment of a further donation
10 to the fund for the search for Madeleine; is that
12 A. Mm.
13 Q. I'm just going to touch upon the section
14 relationship with the press. I am not going to cover
15 paragraph 97 unless I'm asked to specifically. If you
wish me to I will, but I wasn't minded to. I was going
17 to ask
you though about paragraph 100.
18 A. I mean, I think 97's probably important.
Q. Okay, well tell us about it in your own words.
20 A. For one of the stories that was
not published and isn't
21 libellous, not defamatory, but we were alerted
to it and
22 it was done by a freelance journalist who has written
23 many inaccurate stories, and had submitted it, I think
it was to the People, if I'm right, the People on
25 Sunday, and the editor
or the deputy editor called
1 Clarence just to say they were running this, this was on
2 the evening of the Saturday, and Clarence phoned us and
it was complete nonsense, but it was basically saying
4 that we were undergoing
IVF treatment with a view to
5 getting a new baby to replace Madeleine.
6 MRS McCANN: I think the important thing, this demonstrates
it's not just the articles that have been published that
8 have been a
problem. We've had many weekends destroyed
9 because we've had
to try and stop articles like this
10 from actually ending up in the press.
And weekends are
11 important for Gerry, that's our only family time.
12 had to involve lawyers on --
13 MR McCANN:
Friday nights. Another example there which
14 I don't think is in
our evidence, but again it
15 transpired on a Friday evening, is journalists
16 to speak to my mum, I think they said even -- you know,
17 Clarence said it was okay and my mum let them in and
a lady journalist took a copy of an unpublished
19 photograph of Kate, myself
and Madeleine when we lived
20 in Amsterdam that was very special to us and
21 going to publish it in a Scottish newspaper on the
Sunday and we had to involve Adam and Isabel from
23 Carter Ruck to get that
24 I think the only way we managed to get
25 stroppy interaction with the editor was that we own the
1 copyright of the picture and they were not in the least
3 MRS McCANN: They were fighting it, actually,
4 got the picture". It was like, "It's
6 MR McCANN:
The impact that these things have in what should
7 be a little bit of respite,
but there have been several
8 occasions where we've gone behind the scenes
9 eleventh hour.
10 Q. Thank you.
Then paragraph 100, you deal with a piece in
11 the Daily Mail, quite recently,
July of this year, about
12 an alleged reported sighting in India. What
13 feelings about that, please?
It's probably one of the most recent examples of what
15 I would say is
the contempt for Madeleine and her
16 safety. There was no check.
This sighting had been
17 reported to the police, I think we were actually
18 holiday. They emailed us a photograph and we quickly
indicated that it was not Madeleine, and as far as we
20 were concerned, it
was dealt with. And then a day or
21 two later, it's published and
the newspaper on that
22 occasion have chosen to publish it and they may want
23 justify why, but from our point of view, they don't know
24 whether it's true, they haven't contacted us, and
additionally we have the issue that if this really was
1 a genuine sighting of Madeleine, then her captors may be
2 alerted and move her.
So the story has precedence over the safety of our
4 child. And that's
clear. And that has been done by,
5 I think, every single newspaper,
as well as similar
6 instances of amateur sleuthing and details about the
7 investigation which should only be known to the
witnesses and the potential to contaminate evidence by
9 having read something
that you shouldn't really know
10 about, and all of the newspapers and
11 been guilty of it.
Thank you. Out of sequence, I'm then going to come back
13 to the
PCC because it's a more general point, I think,
14 under the heading "Kate's
book", paragraph 111. It may
15 be in your hands as to which of
you would like to deal
16 with this piece of evidence.
18 Q. Book published in May of 2011, so we're at the fourth
anniversary, it was to mark that, to coincide with that.
20 Obviously a difficult
decision. Do you want to tell us
21 a little bit about that?
22 MRS McCANN: You're right, it was a very difficult decision
for obvious reasons, for all the reasons we've been
But ultimately we are responsible for
25 conducting and funding the search
to find our daughter.
1 Q. Yes.
2 MRS McCANN: And ultimately I had to make the
3 needed to raise money, I knew this was something that
4 I could do that could maintain the search and possibly
help us find our daughter, and that's why I took the
6 decision then to
do it. Obviously in the ideal world,
7 you wouldn't choose to do
anything like that.
8 Q. There was serialisation of your book in two
News International titles, the Sun and the Sunday Times?
10 MR McCANN: Yes.
Q. You talk about a meeting with Rebekah Brooks, which led
12 to a review
of your case, a formal review. Just to
13 assist us a little bit with
that, can you recall when
14 that was?
15 A. I
think it's probably worth just elaborating a little
16 bit because it's
quite a complex decision-making process
17 in terms of agreeing to serialise
18 News International actually bid for the
19 the book, along with Harper Collins, and one of their
20 pitches was the fact that they would serialise the book
across all of their titles, and we were somewhat
22 horrified at the prospect
of that, given the way we'd
23 been treated in the past, and the deal was
24 with the publishers, Transworld, that excluded
1 Now, we were subsequently approached by
2 News International and Associated to serialise the book,
and after much deliberation, we had a couple of meetings
4 with the general
manager and -- Will Lewis and
5 Rebekah Brooks and others, and what swung the
6 to serialise was News International committed to backing
7 the campaign and the search for Madeleine. And that
passed our test of how it could help, and we had been
9 lobbying behind the
scenes for two and a half years,
10 with successive Home Secretaries, to try
11 a review of Madeleine's case, and we felt that having
12 News International helping in that, and ultimately where
I think the media have helped in this situation, of
14 galvanising the public,
having them reengaged with us
15 and Madeleine, is what tipped the balance.
16 Q. Her intervention was successful?
17 A. It was.
Q. There may not be a module three issue.
19 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: Yes.
MR JAY: It's right to say in terms of the sequence of
I think the Prime Minister was involved just
22 a bit before, and then the
Home Office the day after?
23 A. Yes, I think --
24 Q. The same
day announced --
25 A. We had written to the Home Secretary saying that we'd be
1 launching the book, and asking her to update us on where
2 they had got, and we got one letter which really didn't
say very much, and then we did the open letter to the
4 Prime Minister, which
was published on the front page of
5 the Sun.
Turn back to the issue of the involvement of the PCC.
This is covered both in your witness statement and
8 in evidence you gave,
Dr Gerald McCann, to the Culture,
9 Media and Sports Select Committee in 2009,
and then it
10 was picked up in the second report, I think, of that
11 committee. There's a whole section of the report that
goes to that issue.
13 The position I think is -- I'm
back in your
14 statement, paragraph 101 -- the PCC's position is that
15 at an early stage they put a message out that they were
ready, willing and able to assist you. This was in May
Do you follow me?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. I think your evidence is, well,
you never got that
20 message. Was that right?
A. If I did, it was lost in the time when we were obviously
with lots of things, and I would say probably
23 similar to Mrs Gascoigne who
gave evidence earlier this
24 morning, that I was only vaguely aware of the
25 that time.
1 Q. In paragraph 103 you say:
"We have on a number of occasions had cause to
3 contact the PCC.
The PCC was extremely helpful in
4 dealing with the unwanted intrusion into
the privacy of
5 our twins."
Are you referring there to the business with the
7 paparazzi taking photographs
when you're back in the
8 United Kingdom?
10 MRS McCANN: That's right.
11 MR McCANN: I think we had
also indicated earlier in the
12 summer of 2007 that although we tacitly agreed
13 photographs of us taken in Praia da Luz, largely because
14 we felt that we couldn't stop it, particularly with
international media being there, that as the situation
16 dragged on over months,
we didn't want continued
17 photographs of Sean and Amelie to be published,
18 were obviously concerned at the time, they were just 2,
19 but as they got older, they could be recognised. So
there was an agreement -- and I can't remember exactly
21 if the PCC were
involved in that, but we asked the media
22 not to publish photographs of Sean
and Amelie, and that
23 was adhered to with pixelation up until we arrived
24 in the UK and then it went out the window again.
Q. In terms of the PCC assisting you in relation to the
1 wider issue of inaccurate, unfair and sensationalist
reporting, it may well be that there isn't a factual
3 dispute between
you and the PCC at that time, of course,
4 speaking through Sir Christopher
Meyer. If you kindly
5 look under tab 9, Dr McCann, you'll see relevant
6 extracts from the report of the Culture, Media and
Sports Select Committee published on 9 February 2010.
8 I invite your attention
-- the pagination is working --
9 on the top right-hand side of each page,
to page 87.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. You should find a heading, "The
role of the PCC",
12 I hope, and then paragraph 354. There we deal
13 message which they say they gave to you and you've told
14 us really, well, you don't recollect it, and of course
a lot was going on, but there was a meeting, and this is
16 355, on 13 July
17 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: That was just accidental.
18 MR JAY:
19 The general thrust of what you were told by
20 Sir Christopher Meyer during the course of an informal
conversation, is this correct, is that if you wanted to
22 deal with the issue
of libel, well, then the route was
23 legal recourse, legal action. But
if you wanted to deal
24 with it in some other way, then the PCC might be able
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Does that capture the sense of that meeting?
3 A. It's probably fair to put in there that I had a number
of conversations with Sir Christopher, primarily because
5 we became friendly
with his wife, Lady Catherine,
6 through her work with PACT, so on that first
7 I met Sir Christopher and he broadly asked, "How are the
8 media treating you?" and we were very open and at that
point we said, "Considering the interest, not too bad",
10 and we
didn't really have too much in the way of
11 specific complaints.
12 I did have further informal conversations and they
13 also dealt with correspondence from Kingsley Napley over
the period, but the gist of the conversations, and most
15 of my dialogue with
him, informal rather than written,
16 was that we agreed with our legal advice
and we took the
17 best legal advice we could get, that the way to stop
18 this was to take legal action and not to go to the PCC,
and I think Sir Christopher agreed with that.
20 Q. That's a fair summary, Dr McCann.
It's what the
21 committee think as well, although Paul Dacre expressed
22 disappointment that you didn't make a formal complaint
to the PCC, although Sir Christopher disagreed with
24 Paul Dacre so we have
two views --
25 A. I think the ultimate thing was we discussed a course of
1 action and our advice, which was given in no uncertain
2 terms, this is legal advice, was that the PCC were not
fit to deal with the accusations, the nature of them,
4 the number of them
and the severity.
5 Q. The Inquiry will note, but it's not necessary for me to
read it out, the conclusions of the Select Committee on
7 these issues.
They start at paragraph 364 and 365 in
8 bold. And the direct criticism
is made by the Select
9 Committee of the PCC that the press were beginning
10 ignore the requirement of the code and the PCC remained
12 Then under the heading "Lessons learnt",
13 your case. They rightly point out that this was a very
14 unusual case. They state that the coverage was
"freakish", and then their conclusions are set out at
373 and 375.
17 Perhaps I should read those out?
18 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: The word "freakish" is the committee
saying it's far from clear that the McCann coverage was
20 really so freakish.
21 MR JAY: Paragraph 373:
"The newspaper industry's assertion that the McCann
23 case is a one-off
event shows that it is in denial about
24 the scale and gravity of what went
wrong and about the
25 need to learn from those mistakes. In any other
1 industry suffering such a collective breakdown, as for
2 example in the banking sector now, any regulator worth
its salt would have instigated an inquiry. The press
4 indeed would have
been clamouring for it to do so. It's
5 an indictment on the PCC's
record that it signally
6 failed to do so.
"The industry's words and actions suggest a desire
8 to bury the affair
without confronting its serious
9 implications, the kind of avoidance which
10 would criticise mercilessly and rightly if it occurred
11 in any other part of society. The PCC, by failing to
take firm action, let slip an opportunity to prevent or
13 at least mitigate
some of the most damaging aspects of
14 this episode and in so doing lent credence
to the view
15 that it lacks teeth and is slow to challenge the
17 Is there anything you
wish to add or subtract from
19 A. I
think I would agree with it, and it's probably for
20 others to decide
whether the PCC could have changed it.
21 I think that's a moot point.
22 Q. Can I deal now with some general points, including the
four general points you made at the start? But before
24 I deal with
those four points, I'm back to your witness
25 statement at paragraph 116.
1 You refer to the or a culture change which
2 required. May I invite you, please, to put that in your
3 own words, both to identify the existing culture and
then the change which you think is required?
5 A. I think we can speak with experience about
6 the media are, and how much damage they can do. We've
7 already said how many good things that they have done as
well, so there is power, there is no doubt about it.
9 But what we see on a
daily basis are front page tabloid
10 headlines in particular, sometimes followed
by a clamour
11 with 24-hour news channels and Internet and a blurring
12 of the media, of stories which appear to have no factual
basis, or exaggerated, or distorted.
heard about several of hundreds that were
15 written about us, but we see them,
I walk into the shop
16 in the hospital every day and I see front page
17 headlines, whether it's about Chris Jefferies who is
going to give evidence, or contestants on the X Factor,
19 and I think information
has been written and lives are
20 being harmed by these stories, and something
21 change. A commercial imperative is not acceptable.
22 Q. Thank you. The four specific headings you've given us,
in one sense you've largely covered these but it's
24 helpful if we
can bring the strands together.
25 The first is libel.
Might it be said, and can
1 I just invite you to deal with this, well, this in fact
2 is an example, your case, of the system working to the
extent that you decide at a certain point that enough is
4 enough. Obviously
as professional people you're not
5 going to put your house on the line
to fund legal
6 action, but conditional fee arrangements were available,
7 you took advantage of that.
Within a reasonably swift timeframe, and it's for
9 others to decide whether
it was quick enough or
10 whatever, the position of Express Newspapers changes,
11 they admit liability, they make a statement in open
court, they pay £550,000, which in the scale of things
13 is a significant
amount of money with modern libel
14 awards, and there's a front-page apology.
Is that an
15 example of the system working or do you have a different
16 take on what I've just said?
17 A. I think it is
an example of the system working in part,
18 however we would much rather we
weren't awarded any
19 damages and the stories had not been published,
20 I think it's very important to emphasise that we have
experienced long-lasting damage as a result of the
22 headlines and the media
coverage, including recent trips
23 to Holland and Spain where our taxi driver
24 you're the parents who are accused of killing your own
25 daughter, what happened?" and secondly in Spain where
1 they showed a film that supposedly had us showing
tablets that were tranquillisers that we'd supposedly
3 given to children,
stated as virtually fact.
4 So although we've worked
incredibly hard to change
5 things in the UK, the damage is more widespread.
6 So the money is only for me -- and I understand that
7 the costs may be more of a deterrent than the damages,
per se, but it's only a partial compensation, and once
9 it's there,
yes, the apology goes part of the way, but
10 as we've seen, often the
reporting is much wider than
11 the original offending outlet, and the damage
And if you go on the Internet now, which our nearly
14 7-year-old twins will
be doing, most of these
15 allegations are still there and we will have to
16 dealing with them going forward.
You make two points there, I think, Dr McCann. The
18 first is the point
damages are never proper recompense,
19 and it's right, the judges recognise
that, whether it's
20 a reputation case or personal injuries case, the
21 can never provide reparation.
The particular point in your case is there's an
23 international dimension
and whatever happens in the
24 United Kingdom in terms of statements in open
25 they're not going to carry any mileage or impact outside
1 this jurisdiction.
2 A. No.
3 Q. Hence your experiences in Spain and the Netherlands.
4 A. Correct.
5 Q. That's a helpful observation. What about your second
heading, which was privacy laws? Could you help us
7 a bit more with
8 A. Yeah. I think it's something obviously we probably
hadn't thought too much about before we found ourselves
10 in the situation
that we are. You take your anonymity
11 for granted. What I find
disturbing, clearly, when
12 you're being followed, you're being put
in danger by
13 either reporters' or photographers' behaviour and
14 secondly I think it is probably an anomaly within the
legal system that a commercial organisation can take
16 a photograph of you,
use it in their product, which they
17 sell and make a profit without your
consent, and I think
18 that should be remedied.
I think if I'm here, I know I'm in public, I'm
20 giving evidence,
I understand that images will be used,
21 I fully understand that and I'm
implicitly consenting to
22 it, but whether it's us going for a run or
23 of our front drive, and particularly with children,
24 I don't think it should be allowed. I think you should
not be allowed to publish photographs of private
1 individuals going about their private business without
2 their explicit consent, signed.
3 Q. The existing PCC
Editors' Code speaks of either
4 a private place or a public place where
5 a reasonable expectation of privacy. I think your
6 evidence is suggesting that that latter concept is quite
a difficult one to understand and in particular to
10 Q. So that indeed further thought need be given to that.
The third issue we may or may not have brought out
12 adequately but please
expand it if you wish to.
13 Contempt for the judicial process, namely the
14 implications of the Portuguese law, I think, and for
your child's safety.
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. You have addressed that
issue, but is there anything you
18 would like to expand, bring any strands
19 A. Yes, it wouldn't be explicit to judicial secrecy in
Portugal, and by judicial I meant the whole process
21 which in Portugal is
obviously overseen by a judge. So
22 you have information. We were
told we were under
23 judicial secrecy not to give details of events.
24 became very apparent was, you know, the media were
trying to create a timeline of what happened, and we had
1 obviously created a timeline and given it to the police
2 and tried to narrow down to the closest minutes when we
think Madeleine was taken to help the investigation.
But when that information goes into the public
5 domain and the abductor shouldn't
know it, or the only
6 person who should know it were the people who were
7 there, then that's a concern. It can contaminate
evidence. You could incriminate yourself by knowing
9 something that
you shouldn't have known.
10 So that's the
first process, and I think clearly, as
11 again I'm not a lawyer and I
may be speaking out of
12 turn, but it's probably clear when there is a
13 on in the United Kingdom, about what's to be reported
14 and what not, and the police are very careful about
which information they give to the media in this
16 country, but for me there
was contempt about that whole
17 investigative process. There was no
regard for the
18 outcome. It was much more important for the media
19 outlets to have the detail or perhaps to have the
contradictions, and the salacious aspects that followed
And then the point about Madeleine has never been
23 raised, I think, before,
and clearly every outlet,
24 I think, has been guilty of this, about reporting
25 sightings, suspicious people, without giving it to the
1 proper authorities. And that is of grave concern, and
2 obviously our concern and focus is Madeleine, but it
applies to other cases as well.
4 Q. Your fourth heading is quite a broad one: acceptable
6 A. Yes. I did have a quick look
at the National Union of
7 Journalist's submission and there are standards,
8 there are no penalties for not sticking to them, and
whatever your profession is, particularly in this
10 country, then there is
fairly strong regulation which we
11 have to abide to, and I have seen no individual
12 journalist or editor brought to account over the
stories, be it within Express Newspapers Group or
14 Associated or any of the
other groups and I think if
15 there are repeated offenders, then they should
16 their privilege of practising as a journalist.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: Quite difficult, that. I understand
why you're saying that, but just let me share
19 with you the difficulty,
that what journalists do is
20 exercise the right of free speech, and whereas
21 doctors require licence to practise medicine, and if you
22 are taken to the GMC then the GMC have all sorts of
sanctions available, it's quite difficult in relation to
24 the exercise
of free speech.
25 That's not to say that there
shouldn't be penalties,
1 there shouldn't be some mechanism whereby there's
2 a holding to account for what you've done.
3 A. Sure.
4 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: But --
5 A. Thank you, sir. I would like
to emphasise that
6 I strongly believe in freedom of speech, but where you
7 have people who are repeatedly carrying out inaccuracies
and have been shown to do so, then they should be held
9 to account.
That is the issue. I don't have a problem
10 with somebody purporting
a theory, writing fiction,
11 suggestions, but clearly we've got to a stage
12 substandard reporting and sources, unnamed, made-up,
non-verifiable, are a daily occurrence.
14 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: Yes. I wasn't criticising
15 all, but I was simply seeking to explain why that
particular remedy may be very difficult to apply in this
But it's not to say there shouldn't be
18 something. Now, I'm
not saying what, because that's
19 part of what I'm here for, if anything,
20 immediately, but you've doubtless read that different
21 people have been suggesting different models.
23 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: And it's actually that question which
is the burning part of the job that I have to do, which
25 only underlines
how extremely valuable your experience
1 has been, and how very grateful I am for you sharing it
2 with us.
3 A. Sure.
4 MR JAY:
I have no more questions, Dr McCann, Dr McCann. Is
5 there anything you
want to add? Maybe Mr Sherborne has
6 a point, but that concludes all
I have to ask.
7 A. No, I think we've covered all our points, thank you.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: Thank you very much. Mr Sherborne,
you want to ask something?
10 MR SHERBORNE: Sir, I realise that we all need time properly
11 to digest the very uncomfortable evidence that the
McCanns have given. As I mentioned last week, we say
13 it's nothing
short of a national scandal, but there's
14 one point I do formally want
to raise. It was touched
15 on earlier.
We've seen representatives of the media
17 organisations stand up very
quickly to respond to the
18 criticism of their newspapers --
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: Is there going to be a question,
20 Mr Sherborne?
21 MR SHERBORNE: There is.
22 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: Then I'd like
to hear the question.
23 MR SHERBORNE: It's not a question. I raise this. It
24 mentioned by the McCanns and you mentioned it as well,
and that is in relation to News International, and what
1 we do ask is they provide a response, sir, as you
mentioned, in relation to the publication of Kate
3 McCann's diary --
4 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: Mr Sherborne, I think that is
a speech. We can discuss what we should do, and of
6 course I'm in
a position to do something about it,
7 because if there's a name, then
I can issue a request,
8 and I put the word "request" in inverted
9 Section 21 of the 2005 Act, and I can find out.
MR SHERBORNE: Sir, I understand that. It's not just the
byline, if I may say, with respect, because that's the
12 person who wrote
the story. There is also the question,
13 which I'm sure the McCanns
would like to be dealt with,
14 if possible, which is who obtained and in what
15 circumstances they obtained the diary from the
17 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: I understand.
18 MR SHERBORNE:
That's a decision at a higher level.
19 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: That's a thread, and I'm
20 alert to the point. I really am.
MR SHERBORNE: I'm very grateful.
22 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: Thank you.
Dr McCann, Dr McCann, thank you very much indeed.
24 I can only wish you everything
well in your continuing
25 search for Madeleine.
1 MR McCANN: Thank you.
2 MRS McCANN: Thank you.
3 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: Thank you.
4 MR JAY: Sir, I've been handed something
I'm not sure I can
5 ingest immediately. It's probably something
that can be
6 dealt with as between two of the core participants in
7 the first instance, rather than troubling you, and if it
can't, we'll come back to it tomorrow morning.
9 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: All right.
Is there anything else
10 that I can deal with now?
Discussion re procedure
12 MR JAY: There are two issues. First of all, there's HJK
13 for tomorrow, and I'm going to leave Mr Barr to deal
15 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: Yes.
16 MR JAY: Secondly, over
lunch I've heard various proposed
17 additional redactions from Mr Garnham
18 I think, to at least two witnesses' evidence tomorrow.
19 To be clear, the core participants have seen witness
statements in unredacted form, so they know what the
21 maximum scope of the
evidence is going to be and they
22 can provide lines of questioning to us.
23 Mr Garnham has various concerns, which I hadn't
24 able to apply my mind to in any detail since I was
thinking about other things over the short adjournment,
1 in particular the evidence we have just heard.
I imagine his concern is what is the final version of
3 the witness statement
which is going to be placed in the
4 public domain and on the screens here
5 If we spend time discussing it or negotiating the
6 contents of the proposed redactions, we are likely to
run into a cul de sac, but on the other hand this is
8 a public Inquiry and
I don't wish to stifle the
9 presentation and production of evidence which
I think what I would propose on this occasion,
12 because I don't really
want to spend time debating this,
13 there is really quite a lot else to do
14 that if the other core participants agree, and they
15 don't even know what the proposed redactions are, we
live with the redactions Mr Garnham has proposed.
Those, therefore, or rather the witness statement
18 goes on the screen in
line with those redactions, but
19 then if there's an objection by anyone
20 that the proposed redactions go too far or are not
21 substantiated, we then address the objections on that
23 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: Yes.
24 MR JAY: That, in my submission,
will be quicker. However,
25 what I'm not suggesting is some sort
of procedure which
1 ordinarily applies, namely the default position is that
2 which the MPS would desire, because that is not right,
without further submission.
4 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: It's not what I've said. Indeed,
5 quite the reverse.
6 MR JAY: Yes.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: I've said the opposite.
8 MR JAY: Precisely.
I am proposing with a degree of reluctance
10 a pragmatic solution which will
speed things up, but I'm
11 not endorsing a procedure which is going to
12 generally. Anybody can turn up tomorrow morning and say
13 no, that redaction is inappropriate, we should lift it,
or indeed, the more effective way of dealing with it is
15 that we'll just
hear the evidence and then the witness
16 statement can be put in a different
form online a little
17 bit later.
It's not as if the public nature of the Inquiry is
19 going to be disrupted
save for a short period of time,
20 but I really don't want to spend time
21 other core participants and discussing the precise text
22 of redactions. I will live with what Mr Garnham has
proposed, with reluctance, and then we'll have to think
24 of a way forward
for the future.
25 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: I think it's very important that one
1 goes back to thinking about what truly would potentially
2 prejudice a criminal investigation or prosecution.
3 MR JAY:
4 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: In the very unusual circumstances of
this case, where there is in fact a great deal already
6 in the public domain,
and one knows that if there is to
7 be a criminal prosecution, it's a long
way down the
8 track. But I understand Mr Garnham's point,
9 I understand your approach, I am content to follow it,
but we have to devise a mechanism whereby these concerns
11 about redactions
are provided perhaps rather sooner or
12 dealt with rather sooner so that we're
not in the
13 position of adopting this approach. Right?
MR JAY: The whole issue of redactions is beginning to cause
15 us concern
that we have to prioritise a number of
16 things. The main priority is
to ensure that the
17 evidence comes out clearly, that lines of questioning
18 from the core participants are accommodated, and we give
proper thought to the evidence, since that is the public
20 face of the Inquiry.
We spend hours on redactions each
21 day that will divert us from --
22 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: Redactions should be the exception
rather than the rule.
24 MR JAY: Yes indeed they should.
25 LORD JUSTICE
LEVESON: Those preparing the statements know
1 the position, know what I've said, they know that
I don't wish to prejudice any continuing investigation
3 or potential prosecution
if there is to be one, and
4 therefore they should be prepared on that basis
5 require some convincing that sensible lines haven't been
7 MR JAY: Yes. We may need to come
back to that which we
8 were discussing this morning. However, in the
9 instance may I invite Mr Barr to deal with HJK who is
giving evidence first thing tomorrow morning?
11 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: Right. Mr Barr,
I've seen the
12 application made on behalf of HJK. I'm conscious
13 the protocol in relation to anonymity by witnesses has
not yet been promulgated. That's in part, as I said,
15 because each
time I've thought I've done it, there's
16 been another set of
submissions and I've had to go back
17 to it merely to make sure that I've
18 everybody's submissions, but it seems to me, and I'll
19 hear anybody who wants to suggest to the contrary, that
the position of HJK is very different to the position of
21 journalists and
others who wish to give evidence
This is a person whose privacy is presently
24 protected. In other words,
he's not seeking to say of
25 any outlet, "They are about to do something
1 or breach my privacy", because he has protection in
2 relation to that. He is, however, going to talk about,
as I read his draft statement, the impact upon him in
4 relation to the issue
-- the main issue that we've been
5 discussing, the question of interception.
7 MR BARR: That absolutely right,
sir. An open application
8 was made by HJK, it's been circulated
to the core
9 participants. It sets out at paragraph 5 a number of
10 protective measures which are sought. I'm not going to
read them out verbatim unless you invite me to but I can
12 summarise what
their effect would be.
13 It would be essentially that
the public would be
14 excluded from this room whilst HJK gives evidence.
15 There will be no video or audio broadcast of HJK's
evidence, and confirmation will be sought that the
17 equipment is off before
HJK enters the room. A live
18 transcript will also be turned off.
A transcript of the
19 evidence, though, will be promulgated by the Inquiry
20 after he has given evidence and those who represent him
have been able to confirm that to put out the transcript
22 will not violate
the witness's right to privacy.
23 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: We'll all know at the time when
24 happens, won't we, because the real point is that HJK's
25 concern is that in the anxiety of giving evidence, and
1 I have no doubt there are some people in the room today
2 who will understand that, that he will say something
that he didn't mean to say and that would therefore
4 compromise the privacy
that he is seeking to protect.
5 But the idea is that the core participants,
6 lawyers should be here, and they will actually see HJK
and hear him, but that it will have no wider
8 promulgation, although immediately
after his evidence is
9 concluded, and I emphasise that word, his transcript
10 will be made available.
11 MR BARR: That's
right, sir. The final matter is that he's
12 submitted a confidential
annex and unsurprisingly the
13 application is that that confidential annex
will not be
14 referred to during evidence.
JUSTICE LEVESON: He explains why he seeks the relief
16 that he seeks.
17 MR BARR: The information in the confidential annex combined
with the closed application does precisely that, sir.
19 And could I submit
that these are appropriate measures
20 which are a proportionate way of safeguarding
21 witness's privacy.
22 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON:
All right. Thank you very much.
23 I make it
clear that I do not intend to use HJK as
24 a template. I don't think
it's got any relevance at all
25 to the issues of anonymity that are raised
1 to journalists. I don't believe he will be giving any
2 evidence specifically touching a named person or taking
any further that which we already know in relation to
5 Does anybody have any observations to make about the
6 application that's been made?
Right, thank you. I make orders accordingly, and
8 possibly they could
be drawn up in appropriate form so
9 that I have complied with the terms of
10 MR BARR: Sir, I'm sure that that could be done.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: Thank you very much. So it's
to underline that first thing tomorrow morning
13 we will be closed.
I don't apprehend it will take very
14 long, but for the public and the
press, save for those
15 who are core participants and attending as core
16 participants, they will have the unenviable problem of
just having to wait for us.
18 Right. Is there
19 MR JAY: I have now ingested this correspondence and I'm
going to be quite short about it. One core participant
21 is complaining
about another core participant's media
22 blog regarding evidence we heard
this morning. They can
23 sort it out between themselves.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: Thank you very much. If anybody
to bring anything to my attention because they
1 feel it's necessary, then they can do so, but they'd
2 better have a pretty good reason.
Has the position that was being discussed just
4 before lunch been resolved?
5 MR JAY: I'm not sure. I think it depended a bit on
Mr Caplan, but --
7 MR CAPLAN: Can I say this, we're not pursuing that matter
at the moment.
9 LORD JUSTICE LEVESON: Right, thank you very much indeed.
Thank you very much indeed.
11 (4.10 pm)
12 (The hearing adjourned until
10 o'clock the following day)
to Nigel at