Posts Tagged ‘John Yates’

Sunday News Review

10/07/2011, 06:30:02 AM

Thank you and goodbye

After 168 years, we finally say a sad but very proud farewell to our 7.5m loyal readers. – News of the World

The end of the world

We do not celebrate the passing of the News of the World. At its best, it was one of the finest newspapers in Britain, with an astonishing record of scoops and entertainment. The Independent on Sunday would wish we enjoyed anything like its sales success. And no one, least of all the staff of another Sunday newspaper, should take pleasure in the sacking of fellow journalists, few of whom were responsible for the excesses that brought the title down. What is worse is that the closure of the NOTW was unnecessary. If Rebekah Brooks had resigned, the toxicity of the title could have been purged and advertisers might have been won back. It is almost universally agreed that phone-hacking of this kind, simply trawling for information about people in the news, or their families, is repugnant. It is bad enough when hacking is used as a short cut to easy stories about the private lives of celebrities, but in the Dowler case, the hacker gave false hope to Milly’s family and could have jeopardised a police murder investigation. What Ms Brooks meant when she said that there was worse yet to come out we can only shudder to imagine. – the Independent on Sunday

Suddenly, Rupert Murdoch seems much less a global mogul, much more a diminished man of glass. He flies into London this weekend from Sun Valley, Idaho, in time for the last rites of the most successful Sunday newspaper in Britain, the News of the World. One hundred and sixty-eight years ago, it pledged: “Our motto is the truth, our practice is fearless advocacy of the truth.” After today, the tabloid will appear no more, felled not by one royal rogue reporter but by the arrogance, ambition and apparent tolerance of systemic criminal behaviour by members of the senior News International management. The loss of a newspaper, especially one with a proud history of award-winning investigative journalism, is a cause for sadness. The News of the World was the biggest-selling Sunday tabloid in the English-speaking world. The death of a paper in such rude health is unprecedented and unwanted in the media. The individuals who are to blame are, as yet, unwilling fully to admit culpability. Rebekah Brooks, the chief executive, still in post, has warned that worse revelations are to come. The shameful saga stretches back over five years. Arguably, it would not have come to light but for the sterling and stoic persistence of the Guardian, some diligent lawyers and a handful of MPs such as Tom Watson and Chris Bryant. The News of the World’s termination is the price Murdoch is willing to pay to halt the accelerating erosion of the British wing of his international empire and to secure full ownership of “the cash machine”, the satellite broadcaster BSkyB, the leading provider of pay TV. However, over the past few days, BSkyB shares have lost more than £1bn in value. – the Observer

Ed to take on BSkyB deal in the Commons

Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, is seeking cross-party support for a motion in Parliament that would postpone any deal until the criminal investigation into the News of the World hacking scandal is complete. News Corporation fears that if the vote is successful the bid will have to be abandoned. Observers said that it would be difficult to see how the Government could “green light” the deal if Parliament has voted against it. It is believed Labour is hopeful it can get enough support to push through the vote, scheduled for Wednesday. Mr Miliband is expected to make an official announcement this morning on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show. Meanwhile, one of BSkyB’s most significant long-term investors has bought back into the UK television company, saying that he did not want Rupert Murdoch to get it “on the cheap”. – Sunday Telegraph

Rupert Murdoch‘s ambition to expand his media empire still further could be killed off by MPs this week after Labour announced plans for a Commons vote to thwart his bid for BSkyB. The move comes amid a mood of continuing public uproar over the phone-hacking scandal, which is now threatening to destabilise David Cameron’s government. The vote will present the coalition with a major test of unity as the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, seeks cross-party support for a motion in parliament which would halt progress on the takeover until the criminal investigation into the News of the World is completed. With many Liberal Democrats and Tory MPs deeply uneasy about Murdoch gaining an even bigger slice of the UK media market – and still incensed by the behaviour of News Corp executives – Labour is optimistic it can mobilise enough support to achieve a majority. Miliband will appear on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday to announce his plan and to begin his push for support across all the major parties. He will lay the motion tomorrow and the debate and vote will be on Wednesday. If he is successful, the Labour move will drive a wedge between the coalition parties and leave Murdoch’s takeover ambition in tatters – because the police inquiry could take several years. – the Observer

Yates’ startling apology

A senior Scotland Yard detective has admitted he let down the victims of the News of the World phone-hacking scandal by too readily dismissing calls to reopen the case. Assistant Commissioner John Yates admitted he was too quick to rule out a full investigation into the allegations when he was asked to look into them in 2009. He also said he had never seen the 11,000 pages from private investigator Glenn Mulcaire’s notebooks, which had been seized by police. ‘I’m not going to go down and look at bin bags,’ he said. ‘I am supposed to be an Assistant Commissioner. Perhaps I should have been more demanding. I am accountable, and it happened on my watch, and it’s clear I could have done more.’ Using remarkably blunt language for a senior police officer, Mr Yates said his decision had been ‘a pretty crap one’. He dismissed the claims as ‘malicious gossip’. In a remarkable admission, Mr Yates, who has been widely criticised for failing to expose the full extent of the scandal, said: ‘Should I have come out so quickly and said there wasn’t anything in it? Tactically, I probably shouldn’t have. I should have cogitated and reflected but it’s so bloody obvious there was nothing there [that we didn’t already know]. I didn’t do a review. Had I known then what I know now – all bets are off. In hindsight there is a shed load of stuff in there I wish I’d known.’ – Mail on Sunday

Rooney’s hooker sets BoJo’s pulse racing

Boris Johnson partied the night away with Wayne Rooney’s call girl Helen Wood at a posh summer do – but seemed to have no idea who she was. Former prostitute Helen set the bumbling London Mayor’s pulse racing at the Spectator At Home bash, where posh guests included Chancellor George Osborne. One partygoer said: “Helen really stood out from the crowd on the night. Boris couldn’t believe someone that pretty would be at the Tory magazine’s bash. I’m not sure if he knew about Helen’s past though.” Boris, who arrived at the party on his bicycle, does have previous at The Spectator. He had an affair with columnist Petronella Wyatt while he was editor of the right-wing magazine. – Sunday Mirror

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New letter from the director of public prosecutions discredits Met police testimony on phone hacking

05/04/2011, 10:30:15 AM

by Tom Watson

Parliament is peeling away at the phone hacking scandal and getting nearer to the facts. The comprehensive analysis submitted by the director of public prosecutions, published for the first time today, completely debunks the argument put forward by some officers of the metropolitan police that they could only prove that there were a tiny number of victims. For those who haven’t followed the byzantine twists and turns in the scandal, these are the key points to look for in the letter, the full text of which is hyperlinked at the bottom of this post.

What seems to emerge is that Starmer himself did not really focus on the question in 2009. I can understand this – after all he wasn’t involved in the previous investigation and would be reliant on others to draft responses. We have all been there, with multiple questions and very limited time. In any event, as he points out, his 2009 statement was based on a misunderstanding of the view of prosecuting counsel.

But the killer point for Starmer and against the Met is the indictment. It contained charges for which there was no evidence of prior interception. So this contemporaneous document demonstrates that the before/after question was considered irrelevant by counsel when drafting the indictment.

And not only by counsel. Had the police thought at the time that the only messages which counted were those which had not been listened to, they would certainly have queried the indictment as soon as they saw it. They would have pointed out that they had no evidence of prior interception in relation to a number of the charges.

Had they genuinely believed that prior interception was an essential element they had to prove, there is no way they would have neglected to warn prosecuting counsel. Equally, counsel would never have framed the indictment like that had they believed that only prior interception was an offence.

That indictment is clear contemporaneous evidence of the state of mind of the police and counsel at the time of the prosecution, namely that before/after did not matter.

The “only before” point has been dreamt up later by the Met on the basis of a bit of speculation by one of the lawyers during the investigation. It was never formal legal advice, indeed it was not advice at all, and to try to pretend it was, and that it “permeated” the entire investigation, is disingenuous.

John Yates has some big questions to answer today.

Here is the full letter from the DPP: Keir Starmer QC CPS 01 04 11.

Tom Watson is Labour MP for West Bromwich East.

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Why did the police not investigate phone hacking leads?

26/01/2011, 08:35:20 AM

by Tom Watson

I’m not a lawyer but the phone hacking scandal has meant I’ve had to act like one.

If you told me a year ago that I would have read Archbold, the criminal lawyer’s bible, inside out, I would have laughed. I’m the digi-guy. I read Clay Shirky, not boring legal text books. But then Tom Crone, the slick in-house lawyer for News International, tried to remove me from the culture, media and sport select committee. It was an act of aggression that finally convinced me that I had no choice but to get to the bottom of this murky affair, once and for all. Phone hacking took over from the future of the Internet as a policy preoccupation. I look forward to the day when I can return to Shirky.

When I read the section of Archbold on perverting the course of public justice, the whole hacking saga came into focus.

“The offence may be committed where acts are done with the intention of concealing the fact that a crime has been committed, although no proceedings in respect of it are pending or have commenced”,

says Archbold in the  2009 Edition, page 2631.

This week, the director of public prosecutions, Keir Starmer, confirmed that he would examine all new evidence in the News of the World phone hacking saga.

I’ve made the case that he should be investigating a potential attempt to pervert the course of public justice. As fragments of evidence have been forced out of news international and the metropolitan police service by civil litigants and Parliamentary enquiries, the case for a deep investigation by an outside force is now, I think, insurmountable. (more…)

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Leaked letter: Acting Deputy Commissioner John Yates writes to the Director of Public Prosecution

14/01/2011, 10:02:31 PM

Letter from acting deputy commissioner John Yates sent to the director of public prosecution Keir Starmer on Friday 14 January 2011.


I am grateful for the opportunity we had today to discuss the above matter.

We are both aware that there remain outstanding public, legal and political concerns. This is particularly so in relation to the various and recently reported high profile civil cases, as well as the inquiry to be undertaken by the Parliamentary Standards & Privileges Committee.

As a result, I consider it would be wise to invite you to further re-examine all the material collected in this matter. This would also enable you to advise me and assure yourself as to whether there is any existing material which could now form evidence in any future criminal prosecution relating to phone hacking.

The conclusions should be provided to you in the first instance for you to then advise me as to what, if any, further action may be required. We both understand that any future action will always be for the police to consider independently.

John Yates
Acting Deputy Commissioner

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Assistant met police commissioner John Yates tells Tom Watson MP to get lost

25/10/2010, 03:57:28 PM

Letter to Tom Watson_22 10 10

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