Press standards, privacy and libel - Culture, Media and Sport Committee Contents

Examination of Witnesses (Question Numbers 1380-1399)


21 JULY 2009

  Q1380  Paul Farrelly: It is not unusual.

  Mr Crone: No, it is not usual.

  Q1381  Paul Farrelly: It is not usual?

  Mr Crone: It is not usual.

  Q1382 Paul Farrelly: Therefore, if it is not usual it might strike you or any reasonable person as strange, would you not agree?

  Mr Crone: It is not usual. It is strange; it is not usual.

  Q1383  Paul Farrelly: Mr Myler, I do not want to take up too much time because lots of other people want to come in, but I wanted to explore the basis for the evidence you gave the PCC, I believe, in February 2007 just after you arrived at the News of the World. At that stage what stage had investigations reached at the News of the World to your knowledge, because you gave the evidence to the PCC?

  Mr Myler: What had happened internally?

  Q1384  Paul Farrelly: Yes.

  Mr Myler: I think the first thing to remember is that as soon as Mr Goodman and Mr Mulcaire were arrested News International had an outside firm of solicitors to absolutely oversee the investigation to cooperate with the police, to be a bridgehead, to give whatever facility the police required. It was completely hands-off, if you like, for transparency from the company's point of view. It was a nine month investigation. At the end of that nine months two people were convicted, tried and went to jail. No other member of the News of the World staff was questioned. It is important, if you would allow me to say so, that John Yates's statement on 9 July after the first Guardian story appeared says this: "This case has been the subject of the most careful investigation by very experienced detectives. It has also been scrutinised in detail by both the CPS and leading counsel. They have carefully examined all the evidence and prepared the indictments—-"

  Q1385  Paul Farrelly: We have seen this; we have this in evidence.

  Mr Myler: With respect, can I just finish this one sentence: "No additional evidence has come to light since this case has concluded; I therefore consider that no further investigation is required".

  Q1386  Chairman: Can I just check one point to be absolutely clear. The police had the copy of the email saying "This is for Neville", but the police never questioned Neville?

  Mr Myler: As I understand it, he was not questioned. As I understand it no other member of the News of the World staff, other than Clive Goodman, was questioned by the police after their nine month investigation.

  Q1387  Chairman: Greg Miskiw, whose name was on the contract which the police also had, he was not questioned?

  Mr Myler: I do not believe he was.

  Q1388  Paul Farrelly: Who were the solicitors who handled the investigation?

  Mr Crone: Burton Copeland. They are probably the leading firm in this country for white collar fraud.

  Q1389  Paul Farrelly: Did that investigation go wider than investigating the circumstances because the court case was coming up of the Mulcaire/Goodman connection? Did it go wider and ask people such as the deputy editor, the managing editor, the news editor, the chief reporter as to whether they had been involved in any way with Mr Mulcaire? Did it go wider?

  Mr Crone: Sorry, this is for me?

  Q1390  Paul Farrelly: No, this is to Mr Myler because Mr Myler gave evidence to the PCC.

  Mr Myler: I think Mr Crone is the best person to answer.

  Q1391  Paul Farrelly: This is the basis of the evidence you gave to the PCC.

  Mr Myler: Mr Crone was there. This arrest took place, I believe, in August 2006. I think you should allow Mr Crone—-

  Q1392  Paul Farrelly: To your knowledge, did that investigation go wider?

  Mr Myler: Wider than what?

  Q1393  Paul Farrelly: Than simply the relationship between Goodman and Mulcaire. Did the people either interview them or ask them to come forward under the basis of an amnesty if they had done something wrong to reveal themselves? Did it go to the accounts department?

  Mr Myler: I do not know whether or not the police—-

  Q1394  Paul Farrelly: No, it is not the police. It is the News International investigation when you arrived. I want to know what your knowledge was of how far the remit went?

  Mr Myler: My recollection was that a very thorough investigation took place where there was a review of everything from how cash payments were processed. You have to remember that the Mulcaire contract, which the judge in the Goodman/Mulcaire trial said was absolutely above board and legal, meant that the staff had access to him 24/7. He was conducting enquiries perfectly legally and lawfully that meant journalists could call him for checks on electoral rolls or whatever. As I understand it, the inquiry was thorough; and to the executives that were there at the time they were happy with that.

  Q1395  Paul Farrelly: Mr Crone, how wide was the inquiry? You understand the questions I am asking?

  Mr Crone: Yes. I got back the Tuesday after the arrests. They were arrested on one Tuesday and I was there the week after. By the time I got back, which must have been August 15, Burton Copeland were in the office virtually every day or in contact with the office every day. My understanding of their remit was that they were brought in to go over everything and find out what had gone on, to liaise with the police—

  Q1396  Paul Farrelly: Everything to do with Mulcaire and Goodman?

  Mr Crone: Yes, but what you have got to realise is, at the time the only case being looked at was an access of a Royal household—voicemails. The other names did not become known to us or, as far as I know, anyone else apart from the prosecution and the police, and the defence lawyers probably knew slightly earlier; the other names did not come out until November 29, which is five months later. What I think was being enquired into was what had gone on leading to the arrests; what, in the relationship with Mulcaire, did we have to worry about. Burton Copeland came in; they were given absolutely free-range to ask whatever they wanted to ask. They did risk accounts and they have got four lever-arch files of payment records, everything to do with Mulcaire, and there is no evidence of anything going beyond in terms of knowledge into other activities.

  Q1397  Paul Farrelly: I want to wrap-up fairly shortly. When the other names came into the frame after November 29, did the remit of the investigation in News International broaden?

  Mr Crone: Yes, to some extent but the questions had already been asked. Was anyone involved with Mulcaire, or doing this, that or the other? Burton Copeland had looked at all of the financial records; and there was subsequently an email check done which went to 2,500 emails; and that produced no evidence either.

  Q1398  Paul Farrelly: The question: was anyone else involved with Mulcaire? The answer was: no. Nothing else was found?

  Mr Crone: No evidence was found.

  Q1399  Paul Farrelly: Mr Myler, in evidence to the PCC you said in February 2007, and tell me whether the PCC's quote is accurate in their report, "This was an exceptionally unhappy event in the 163 year history of News of the World involving one journalist". They quote you as saying that Goodman was a "rogue exception". That is accurate, is it? But in the court case in January the judge has said, "As to counts 16-20", which were the counts involving Max Clifford, Simon Hughes, Elle Macpherson, Sky Andrew and Gordon Taylor, who are not Royals, to Mulcaire, "you had not dealt with Goodman but with others at News International". On the basis of that import, how could you say that this was one rogue exception involving one journalist?

  Mr Crone: I was in court actually and I remember him saying that and my immediate reaction—obviously nothing I could voice—was "Why is he saying that?", because the prosecution did not open it, saying there was such a connection.

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