Thursday, December 15, 2011

Milly Dowler : TRANSCRIPT - Nick Davies: Dowler story had 'very significant' error

15 December 2011

Guardian journalist Nick Davies said on Newsnight that there was a “very significant" error in his first 5 July story about the hacking of Milly Dowler’s phone by the News of the World.
But he said it was a “distortion of the truth” to suggest, as former News of the World features editor Jules Stenson did on the same programme, that The Guardian was guilty of “shoddy journalism”.

Davies was appearing in the wake of new evidence from the Metropolitan Police this week that the News of the World was probably not responsible for the voicemail deletions which gave the Dowler family false hope their daughter was alive.

Sun managing editor Richard Caseby attacked The Guardian at the Leveson Inqury on Tuesday for “sexing up” its phone-hacking coverage and reporting unproven allegations as fact.
It emerged last night that Davies refused to appear on the same panel as Caseby on Newsnight.

Introducing the programme host Jeremy Paxman said: “Richard Caseby, who is a News International executive, was prepared to appear on Newsnight tonight if he could face Nick Davies on a panel, but because Mr Davies doesn’t want to appear on the same panel as him Mr Caseby felt he was unable to join us. He also declined our offer of a one to one interview.”

'You're not answering'... You've asked the wrong questions'

Here is an edited transcript of the exchange between Paxman and Davies which opened the debate:

Paxman: “This central allegation, the most scandalous perhaps of the lot, that a murdered girl’s voicemails were deleted by the News of the World which you claimed to be a fact wasn’t a fact was it?”

Davies: “No you’re getting it all wrong here. The story that we published in July was squarely based on all of the evidence available and was correct in saying that her voicemail had been deleted and it remains the case that NI are not denying that News of the World journalists may have been responsible for those deletions.”

Paxman: “You say in the copy that the messages were deleted by journalists in the first few days after Milly’s disappearance. You don’t know that.”

Davies: “You’re getting the problem slightly wrong, you’ve misunderstood it. The problem is whether or not they were responsible for deleting the particular messages which caused the friends and family to have false hope. That is now in doubt.”

Paxman: “Do you know for a fact what you state as fact in this article?”

Davies: “Everybody who was involved in this story accepted that it was true.”

Paxman: “You’re not answering.”

Davies: “You’ve asked the wrong questions.”

Paxman: “Oh, I am so sorry.”

Davies: “You’ve misunderstood the problem”

Paxman: “This is the key question. Was it true?”

Davies: "Everybody involved in that story believed it was true. The day after I published that story I sat down for two hours with Glenn Mulcare, the private investigator at the centre of this thing, and subsequently he issued an apology and he didn’t disagree with a single word…”

Paxman: “But you state it as a fact, you don’t say it was a police belief.”

Davies: “Everybody involved in that story accepted that that story was true and continued to accept until four months later evidence that was not available, to everybody’s surprise, showed that one element of that story was now in doubt…”

Paxman: “You don’t report it as a belief you report it as fact.”

Davies: “And everyone accepted that it was true, the police accepted it in London and Surrey, the private investigator, News International – nobody disputed a word of that story…Nobody dissented from it. In retrospect it was in doubt.”

'This was the most important story in The Guardian's history'

Responding to this former News of the World journalist Stenson then said: “This wasn’t any old story, this was story that was the most important story in the Guardian’s history. It was vital that every single element of it should be right….

“He says it was accepted by everyone that it happened…News International at that time was a rabbit caught in headlights…They weren’t confirming anything to anyone.

“Just a week later after this sensational claim he claimed in a front page story again that the Sun hacked into Gordon Brown’s medical records to reveal his son’s cystic fibrosis…That story could have had exactly the same effect on The Sun that Milly had on the News of the World.”

Responding to this Davies said: “We’ve published more than a 100 stories revealing immoral criminal behaviour at the newspaper where you worked. Gordon Brown’s wife Sarah gave birth to a child, the doctors said this child appears to have a very serious illness, we need to do more tests…

“During that period The Sun discovered this confidential medical information about this sick boy. Any decent newspaper would say we can’t publish this but that newspaper chose to. That put enormous stress on those parents…

“We did not say The Sun had obtained that by hacking, you’ve just made that up, The Sun gained access to confidential medical information. At one point in the story I used a different turn of words, I said gained access to confidential medical records – and I couldn’t prove they got the file.

“This is the difference, The Guardian corrected and apologised [for] that. When did The Sun apologise for doing that cruel and inhumane thing?”

Speaking later on in the debate, Davies said to Stenson: “We published more than 100 stories which are confirmed in evidence gathered by police and in parliamentary inquiries and at the Leveson Inquiry and in civil actions and you pick on two errors, one of them very significant in the Milly Dowler story one of them really minor in the Gordon Brown story, and you distort the truth and say we are guilty of shoddy journalism.”

The Guardian :

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

#Leveson Inquiry :Milly Dowler Voicemails 'May Have Automatically Deleted'

Milly Dowler : New Inquiry Into Milly Dowler Launched

Milly Dowler
Milly Dowler: it is now considered unlikely that Glenn Mulcaire had been responsible for deleting the missing girl’s voicemail messages. Photograph: Surrey Police/PA
The Leveson inquiry into press behaviour has launched its own investigation on Monday in an attempt, in Lord Justice Leveson's words, to "get to the bottom of" fresh evidence about the News of the World's hacking of Milly Dowler's voicemail.

The judge signalled that new statements would be taken from two police forces, Surrey and the Metropolitan police, about the question of the hacking and deletion of the murdered girl's voicemail messages.

This followed confirmation from counsel for the Met that it was now considered "unlikely" that the private detective Glenn Mulcaire, who had been commissioned to hack Milly's phone by the Sunday tabloid, had also been responsible for deleting her voicemail messages. Neil Garnham QC confirmed to a public session of the Leveson inquiry that Mulcaire had not been tasked by the NoW to hack Milly's phone until "some time after" the mystery deletion of voicemail messages from the 13-year-old girl's One-2-One mobile phone. As a result, he said, it was "unlikely" that Mulcaire was to blame for the deletions.

It was, however, conceivable, although also unlikely, that other NoW journalists had carried out the deletions.

He said the phone company's standard system was to delete messages 72 hours after being listened to, and that Milly had accessed her own phone "approximately 72 hours" before the Dowlers discovered the emptying of her voicemail box, giving them false hope that she was alive.

The Scotland Yard version was challenged by David Sherborne, representing the Dowlers. He pointed out that every single voicemail had been apparently deleted at once on 24 March 2002. This could not have been the result of automatic deletions of each message after 72 hours, he said, because the Dowlers had left a series of anxious messages on the phone in preceding days. Sherborne said someone else must have been accessing and deleting messages between 21 and 24 March. He pointed the finger at "a journalist at the NoW" who was also in possession of Milly's phone number and pin number: "The Surrey police know the identity of the journalist," he alleged.

Leveson said: "This information is of significance." The public would want to know the upshot of the fresh allegations, he said, and therefore he would be unable to leave the issue until part two of the inquiry, which was due to deal with phone-hacking allegations following the conclusion of any court cases.

He needed to "get to the bottom of what is likely to have happened" and could not "leave it hanging in the air indefinitely". Garnham denied that it was Scotland Yard officers who had initially blamed the NoW for the deletions. The Dowlers' lawyer, Mark Lewis, has publicly stated that the allegation about the NoW deletions first came via the Met.

Leveson told the inquiry he might have to go back to Surrey police, the original Dowler investigators, and ask them to submit evidence on the issue.

Garnham told the inquiry that it had now been discovered that the voicemail deletion occurred on 24 March 2002, the day the Dowlers visited the former Birds Eye office block in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, where there had been CCTV footage of their daughter.

"The MPS have been investigating the suggestion that Mr Mulcaire deleted voicemail messages on Milly Dowler's phone," said Garnham. "Although their investigations are not yet complete, they are presently able to say this.

"First, the visit by the Dowlers to the Birds Eye building occurred on 24 March 2002. Second, Mr Mulcaire was not tasked in relation to the Dowlers until some time after that date. Third, and accordingly, it's unlikely that anything Mr Mulcaire did was responsible for what Mrs Dowler heard when she called Milly's phone during that visit.

"It is not yet possible to provide a comprehensive explanation for the fact that on that occasion the automated 'mailbox full' message was not heard. It is conceivable that other News International journalists deleted the voicemail, but the MPS [Metropolitan police service] have no evidence to support that proposition and current inquiries suggest that it is unlikely. The most likely explanation is that existing messages automatically dropped off from the mailbox after 72 hours. The relevant phone network provider has confirmed that this was a standard automatic function of that voicemail box system at the time. There were approximately 72 hours between Milly's disappearance and the visits to the Birds Eye building."

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Milly Dowler's voicemail messages 'were deleted by police' and not NotW

Milly Dowler: New evidence suggests the murdered schoolgirl's voicemail messages were accidentally deleted by police investigators
Milly Dowler: New evidence suggests the murdered schoolgirl's voicemail messages were accidentally deleted by police investigators

Surrey Police faced mounting evidence tonight that it was responsible for inadvertently deleting crucial voicemail messages left for Milly Dowler.

 Incendiary claims that News of the World journalists erased the missing teenager’s messages provoked public uproar and drove the phone-hacking scandal into the open.

 Her mother Sally gave a heart-rending account of how the discovery led her to believe the 13-year-old was still alive.

 But documents submitted as part of a civil case appear to show that the defunct Sunday newspaper was not to blame.

 Instead the messages were probably deleted automatically by her mobile phone provider 72 hours after detectives listened to them.

 Many mobile phone operators at the time of Milly’s disappearance automatically deleted voicemail messages after after they had been accessed.

The time between them being listened to and then deleted varied from 72 hours to 21 days. Operators still delete messages unless they are manually saved by the user.

 One of the first moves of investigators after Milly went missing on 21 March 2002 was to check her mobile phone account and social networking sites for clues.

Three days later, on March 24, Mrs Dowler discovered that messages had been deleted from the full voicemail box.

After serial killer Levi Bellfield was convicted of Milly’s murder this year, it was reported that the News of the World was responsible.

Parents: Bob and Sally Dowler were given false hopes by the deleted messages
Parents: Bob and Sally Dowler were given false hopes by the deleted messages
Journalists were suspected of deliberately deleting the messages to make space for fresh ones or to cover their tracks and keep the gathered information to themselves.

The news sparked a political furore that added fresh momentum to criminal inquiries into phone-hacking and the creation of the Leveson inquiry into media standards.

The News of the World was shut down as Rupert Murdoch personally apologised to the Dowlers and paid out £3million to them and several charities.

But evidence provided by Surrey Police as part of a civil case by hacking victims against News International has revealed the newspaper did not delete the messages.

The force has unearthed detailed logs of deleted messages from tearful friends and family members, suggesting they were compiled by police after being listened to.

But evidence remains that the News of the World went on to intercept messages left on Milly’s phone as her disappearance became a national mystery.

Its actions also hampered detectives at the time, prompting a wild goose chase and leading to a behind-the-scenes meeting between police and journalists.


Apology: Rupert Murdoch paid out £3million in compensation
Glenn Mulcaire
Apology: Rupert Murdoch paid out £3million in compensation for the scandal, but private investigator Glenn Mulcaire (right) denies deleting Milly's messages

The News of the World is still accused of deleting messages left on Milly’s phone later in her disappearance. It has not denied the claim.

It is not known whether journalists did this immediately or unintentionally by setting the automatic deletion clock running.

It has already emerged that Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator responsible for phone-hacking on an industrial scale, was not commissioned until after March 2002.

He has furiously denied being responsible for deleting the messages and has offered the Dowler family his ‘sincere personal sympathy’.

There are now legal discussions as to whether the fresh evidence should be admitted to the Leveson inquiry.Mark Lewis, the Dowlers’ solicitor, said it was ‘not known’ who had deleted the phone messages.

He said: ‘There is no doubt that there had been deletions by someone other than Milly, and the deletions had not been triggered by Milly’s own actions.

‘It remains unchallenged that the News of the World listened to Milly Dowler’s voicemail and eavesdropped on deeply personal messages which were being left for her by her distraught friends and family.’

Meanwhile, police have revealed the total number of phone hacking victims will be about 800, far lower than previously estimated.

Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers, who is leading Operation Weeting, said every victim has now been contacted.

Thousands of others, whose names appear in material seized from Mulcaire in 2006, will be contacted but are not thought to have been hacked.

The cost of Operation Weeting, related inquiries and representation at the Leveson inquiry, is now expected to cost the Metropolitan Police £8million a year.

An external review led by Durham Chief Constable Jon Stoddart has been completed and is understood to have made up to 30 recommendations.

It is likely to mark its first anniversary in January without anyone being charged as the majority of suspects have been released on bail until March.

Surrey Police declined to comment. The Metropolitan Police said: ‘We are not providing a running commentary on the inquiry.’

Read more:

Saturday, December 10, 2011

#MillyDowler :Phone hacking: full text of statement issued by Dowler family lawyer

Mark Lewis of Taylor Hampton Solicitors has issued a statement on behalf of Bob and Sally Dowler
It has been reported that contrary to what the Metropolitan police had said to the Dowler family earlier this year [they] now suspect that the "false hope" moment may not have been caused by the News of the World's use of Glenn Mulcaire. As Bob and Sally Dowler have always said it is not known whether the deletions were by Glenn Mulcaire or another person from the News of the World.

What is known is that the deletions were not automatically triggered by Milly.

The mobile telephone company's records show that Milly's last call on her own phone was made on Wednesday 20 March 2002.

Automatic deletion triggered by Milly would have happened (at the latest) by Saturday 23 March 2002. The deletions that gave false hope to the Dowler family happened after that date and therefore were caused by someone else accessing her voicemail.

The Metropolitan police now say that an email indicates that Glenn Mulcaire was instructed in writing after the Dowler family's hopes were cruelly raised.

Whether Mr Mulcaire was verbally instructed by that individual earlier, or whether the deletions were triggered by someone else is not known.

It is known that a News of the World journalist indicated in 2002 that he had obtained Milly's phone number and the PIN number required to access her voicemails from a source other than Glenn Mulcaire.

During the course of the original investigation, Surrey police were in touch with very senior journalists from the paper.

A consequence of their discussions was the radical alteration in the later editions of a story which had appeared in the first edition of the News of the World of 14 April 2002.

A formal investigation into the role of individuals at Surrey police is being undertaken by the IPCC. The Metropolitan police are investigating the activities of individuals at the paper. At this stage it would not be appropriate to make further comment about those concerned.

It remains unchallenged that the News of the World listened to Milly Dowler's voicemail and eavesdropped on deeply personal messages which were being left for her by her distraught friends and family.

By listening to messages, deletions occurred even if no conscious act of deletion had been undertaken. This was why Mr Rupert Murdoch apologised to the Dowler family and conceded that his newspaper's behaviour had been abhorrent and a letdown to his father's memory and to his mother's standards.

The Dowler family ask again that people leave them alone to grieve in peace. They have suffered enough in 2011 from the traumatic trial of Levi Bellfield and the horrendous actions of individuals hacking into Milly's voicemail. Enough is enough.

Milly Dowler :Police logs raise questions over deletion of Milly Dowler voicemails

Milly Dowler's family
Milly Dowler's parents with her sister, Gemma. Operation Weeting has unearthed logs detailing their hacked messages to the dead girl. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA
Fresh details of the hacking of Milly Dowler's phone by the News of the World have been obtained by the police, the Guardian has learned.

According to sources familiar with the case, officers from Operation Weeting have unearthed logs detailing the hacked messages from tearful members of the murdered girl's family.

It is understood that while News of the World reporters probably were responsible for deleting some of the missing girl's messages, police have concluded that they were not responsible for the particular deletion which caused her family to have false hope that she was alive.

Detectives told Milly's parents in April that the paper's journalists had intercepted and deleted messages on the murdered teenager's phone. Evidence has now revealed that Milly's phone would automatically delete messages 72 hours after being listened to.

This means the paper's journalists would have inadvertently caused some voicemails to be deleted after they began listening to them, but police found that some messages had also been deleted before the News of the World began hacking into her voicemail.

The paper's activities hampered Surrey police inquiries at the time, promoting a wild goose chase.

David Cameron described the way journalists listened to Milly's friends and family pleading with her to get in touch as "disgusting". Rupert Murdoch called it "abhorrent". He closed down the paper, apologised to the Dowlers and paid £3m to the family and a number of charities.

Operation Weeting's latest findings confirm the Guardian's report that Surrey police knew about the tabloid's phone hacking at the time and took no action; and that the News of the World hired a second private investigator, Steve Whittamore, to "blag" information about the Dowler family from confidential telephone records.

Testifying to the Leveson inquiry, Sally Dowler described how one day after Milly went missing she found that her daughter's voice mailbox had apparently been emptied. "I just jumped and said 'She's picked up her voicemails, she's alive'," she told the inquiry.

Evidence retrieved from Surrey police logs shows that this "false hope" moment occurred on the evening of Sunday 24 March 2002. It is not clear what caused this deletion. Phone company logs show that Milly last accessed her voicemail on Wednesday 20 March, so the deletion on Sunday cannot have been the knock-on effect of Milly listening to her messages. Furthermore, the deletion removed every single message from her phone. But police believe it cannot have been caused by the News of the World, which had not yet instructed private detective Glenn Mulcaire to hack Milly's phone.

Police are continuing to try to solve the mystery.

The Dowlers' lawyer, Mark Lewis, said last night that although Mulcaire had not been instructed by email at the time of Sally Dowler's "false hope" moment, it remained possible that the voicemails had been deleted by a News of the World journalist, or that Mulcaire had been instructed earlier by phone.

The original police theory was that journalists had deliberately deleted some messages because Milly's voicemail box had filled up, and they wanted to be able to listen to more.
In August, the Wall Street Journal disclosed that on 11 April 2002, three weeks after Milly's disappearance, the News of the World sent at least eight reporters and photographers to stake out a Midlands factory because they believed Milly was still alive and was trying to get work there.

They found nothing and ran a short story in that week's paper. In early editions it included direct quotes from three of Milly's voicemails. It was at about this time that the News of the World formally approached Surrey police to tell them what it had heard on the missing girl's voicemail.

Two representatives of the paper are believed to have met detectives in the incident room at Staines police station. The police, however, took no action against them. Scotland Yard has arrested a total of 18 people and has suggested that there may possibly be as many as 6,000 victims of voicemail interception by the paper. They are also investigating allegations of email hacking and the payment of bribes to police officers.

Lewis said: "The Metropolitan police earlier this year told Bob and Sally Dowler that in 2002 the News of the World had listened to their missing daughter's voicemail and deleted some of the messages.

"Mrs Dowler linked this to an incident when Milly's voicemail had suddenly ceased to be full and which had given her 'false hope'. There is no doubt that there had been deletions by someone other than Milly, and the deletions had not been triggered by Milly's own actions."

He added: "It remains unchallenged that the News of the World listened to Milly Dowler's voicemail and eavesdropped on deeply personal messages which were being left for her by her distraught friends and family."

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mark Lewis : Dowler Family Lawyer - 'Is There A Cover - Up In Other Newspapers '?

Milly Dowler : Family Lawyer Mark Lewis Threatened And Stalked By Murdoch's Thugs !

Mail and Mirror will face contempt proceedings over Milly Dowler coverage

Attorney general wins permission to pursue the action in the high court over coverage of Levi Bellfield's conviction
Levi Bellfield was convicted on 23 June this year of abducting and murdering the 13-year-old Milly Dowler. Photograph: Metropolitan Police/PA
The Daily Mail and Daily Mirror will face contempt proceedings over their coverage of Levi Bellfield's conviction for the murder and abduction of schoolgirl Milly Dowler, after the attorney general won permission to pursue the action in the high court.

Two judges at the high court in London gave the go-ahead on Tuesday to Dominic Grieve QC to bring the action against the two papers.

Bellfield was convicted on 23 June this year of abducting and murdering the 13-year-old. The jury still had to reach a verdict on a second charge – that the day before he snatched Milly from a street in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, in 2002, he had attempted to abduct Rachel Cowles, then aged 11.

But on 24 June the trial judge, Mr Justice Wilkie, discharged the jury from returning a verdict on the charge relating to Cowles, alleging the publicity following Bellfield's murder conviction was so prejudicial that the jury could no longer be expected to consider it.

Lord Justice Moore-Bick and Mr Justice Bean heard arguments on behalf of the two newspapers that their publications would not have created a "substantial risk of serious prejudice".

But the judges, who only had to decide at this stage whether Grieve has an "arguable" case against them, granted permission.

A full hearing of the contempt allegations will now be held at a date to be fixed.

Grieve has moved increasingly to clamp down on alleged transgressions by the media in high-profile cases. In July, the Sun and the Mirror were fined £18,000 and £50,000 respectively for contempt of court for their coverage of Christopher Jefferies, who was entirely innocent of any involvement in the murder of Joanna Yeates.

Sky News is also facing contempt charges after the attorney general won permission on Monday to bring proceedings over the broadcaster's coverage of Paul and Rachel Chandler, the British couple who were held hostage for over a year by Somali pirates.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

#Dowler : #McCanns Try And Cash In On Milly Dowler Payout !

#Dowler :Attorney General To Launch High Court Action Against Daily Mail And Daily Mirror

Milly Dowler
Schoolgirl Milly Dowler

The Attorney General is to launch a High Court action over newspaper coverage which followed the conviction of Levi Bellfield for the abduction and murder of schoolgirl Milly Dowler.

Dominic Grieve QC is seeking permission to bring proceedings for contempt of court against two national papers, the Daily Mail and Daily Mirror.

The application will be heard by Lord Justice Moore-Bick and Mr Justice Bean at a hearing in London.

Bellfield was convicted on June 23 this year of abducting and murdering 13-year-old Milly.
The jury still had to reach a verdict on a second charge - that on the day before he snatched Milly from a street in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, in 2002, he had attempted to abduct Rachel Cowles, then aged 11.

But on June 24 the trial judge, Mr Justice Wilkie, discharged the jury from returning a verdict on the charge relating to Ms Cowles, saying that the publicity following Bellfield's murder conviction was so prejudicial that the jury could no longer be expected to consider it.

Mr Justice Wilkie referred coverage of the case to the Attorney General.

Monday, November 21, 2011

#NOTW #Phonehacking Channel

#Leveson Inquiry : #Dowlers "She's Alive"

#Leveson Inquiry : #Dowlers - Everyone Is Entitled To Privacy

#Leveson : #Dowler - Analysis Of Dowlers' Testimony

#Leveson :#Dowler-Mulcaire Denies Deleting Milly Dowler Voicemails

#Leveson : Milly #Dowler #McCanns Sued For Libel By Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

#Leveson. Milly #Dowler ABUSED And Used By The McCanns

David Sherborne Is NOT A QC And Yet The Telegraph Publish That He Is !

David Sherborne NON QC, using the memory of Milly Dowler and the torment of her parents to help the McCann's receive a large payout. Sherborne non QC, well aware McCann has allegations of paedophilia against him .  Sherborne ready to use and abuse Milly Dowler and her parents to make a fast buck for himself and the appalling McCanns !

Sunday, November 20, 2011

#Leveson :Milly #Dowler's parents to reveal 'despicable' actions of News of the World

Milly Dowler's parents to reveal 'despicable' actions of News of the World

Surrey Police has been ordered to release documents which could reveal whether corrupt officers sold information about the Milly Dowler investigation to the News of the World.

Milly's parents will tell inquiry of heartache

Saturday, November 5, 2011

#Leveson #Hackgate :Jamie Pyatt, covered the 2002 kidnap and murder of British schoolgirl Milly Dowler

Jamie Pyatt 
REUTERS - A scandal engulfing Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp threatened to spread to more than one title on Friday as sources said a journalist at the Sun newspaper had been arrested over allegations of police bribery.

Police investigating events at the News of the World tabloid after a phone hacking scandal said they had arrested a 48-year-old in connection with payments made to police. A spokesman for News Corp’s British newspaper arm News International said an employee had been arrested.
Two company sources identified the man as senior Sun reporter Jamie Pyatt, a journalist who covered the 2002 kidnap and murder of British schoolgirl Milly Dowler, a case which played a key part in the hacking scandal this year.

The Sun, Britain’s largest circulation daily newspaper, is the sister paper to the 168-year-old weekly News of the World, which News Corp shut down at the height of the storm in July.

News Corp was forced to act after its long-held defence that hacking was carried out by one ‘rogue’ reporter collapsed, in part over the revelation that it had hacked into the phone of the missing Dowler and deleted her messages, giving her family false hope that she was still alive.

News of the arrest of a Sun journalist will come as a blow to the group, which has consistently argued that the illegal practices of snooping on people’s phone messages and paying off the police were restricted to the News of the World.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Milly Dowler parents join Yeates's landlord to oppose end to no win-no fee agreements

Letter to Guardian stresses vital role of no win-no fee deals and warns that reform denies justice to people of 'ordinary means'

Sally and Bob Dowler
The parents of Milly Dowler were shocked by the NoW phone hacking revelations, according to their lawyer. Photograph: David Crump/PA
The parents of the murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler and the former landlord of Joanna Yeates have warned that plans to reform no win-no fee agreements will prevent people of "ordinary means" from obtaining justice or defending themselves in court.

They are among signatories of a letter released to the Guardian as the legal aid, sentencing and punishment of offenders bill – which the justice secretary, Kenneth Clarke, believes will do away with the "compensation culture" – returns to the Commons this week for its report stage.
The letter says: "We are all ordinary citizens who found ourselves in a position of needing to obtain justice by taking or defending civil claims against powerful corporations or wealthy individuals.

"We would not have been in a position to do this without recourse to a 'no win, no fee' agreement with a lawyer willing to represent us on that basis. As was made clear to each of us at the beginning of our cases, we were liable for tens if not hundreds of thousands of pounds if we lost.

"Without access to a conditional fee agreement (CFA), which protected us from this risk, we would not have been able even to embark on the legal journey."

Signatories to the letter, which has been co-ordinated by the media campaign Hacked Off, include Christopher Jefferies, the retired Bristol teacher defamed by the tabloids during the Yeates murder inquiry, and Bob and Sally Dowler, whose daughter's voicemail was hacked into by the News of the World. Others who have added their name are Peter Wilmshurst, a cardiologist sued for criticising research at a US medical conference; Robert Murat, who lived near the scene of Madeleine McCann's disappearance in Portugal and who sued British TV stations and newspapers for libel; and Mary-Ellen Field, Zoe Margolis, Nigel Short and Hardeep Singh.

All of them have had to resort to CFAs to seek justice.

The Ministry of Justice proposals will remove the ability of claimants to recover their costly insurance premiums and their own lawyers' success fees from losing defendants.

Instead, the costs will have to be paid out of any final award for damages. Opponents of the change, such as Hacked Off, warn that it will render the cost of seeking redress through the courts no longer financially viable and restrict access to justice.

Sally Dowler said: "At the outset we made clear that if we had to pay the lawyers, we could not afford to bring a claim; or if we had any risk of having to pay the other side's costs, we couldn't take the chance. If the proposed changes had been in place at that time we would not have made a claim. Simple as that, the News of the World would have won, because we could not afford to take them on."

The letter calls on MPs to support an amendment to the bill tabled by the Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake, which would exclude privacy and defamation cases from the reform of CFAs.

Supporters point out that damages in privacy cases, for example, can be small and would rarely cover the cost of what might be a protracted legal case. Hacked Off is a campaign calling for a full public inquiry into phone hacking. Mary-Ellen Field used to work for the model Elle Macpherson; her phone was hacked. The writer Zoe Margolis sued a Sunday newspaper after it libelled her.

Dr Evan Harris, from the Hacked Off campaign which is working with the signatories to save CFAs in libel and privacy cases, said: "If these reforms go ahead in their current form the government will be making justice impossible for all but the rich. That may suit the tabloid interests and libel bullies but it's not fair."

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said:

"There are many deserving cases brought before the courts. But we have
to stop the abuse of the system by others pursing excessive, costly
and unnecessary cases. Under the current arrangements, innocent
defendants can face enormous costs, which can discourage them from
fighting cases. This simply isn't fair.

By balancing the costs more fairly between the claimant and
defendant, these changes will ensure that claimants will still be able
to bring deserving claims, and receive damages where they are due.

Most importantly they will make the no-win, no-fee system sustainable
for the future."

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

#Hackgate #Dowler :Phone hacking: Lawyer says hacking 'more widespread'

Mark Lewis with the Dowler family Mark Lewis represents many of those who say their phones were hacked by the News of the World
A lawyer who advised News International has said the company was told in 2008 there were three journalists other than Clive Goodman involved in phone hacking.

Julian Pike told the Commons culture committee he had "not done very much" to dispute the firm's claims that only "one rogue reporter" was involved.

But he insisted he was "not party to any cover-up".

Goodman was jailed in 2007 for hacking phones belonging to royal aides.

Mr Pike, who works for solicitors Farrer and Co, advised News International in its phone-hacking case with the Football Association's Gordon Taylor.

His case is seen as key to the dispute over how widespread hacking was.
Key email

Mr Taylor settled out of court with the News of the World for a reported £425,000.

But an email handed to his lawyers by the police - known as the "For Neville" email - has been at the centre of a disagreement during previous committee hearings.

Start Quote

There was a powerful case to support [the existence of] a culture of illegal accessing of information”
End Quote Julian Pike Solicitor
When the News of the World's royal editor Clive Goodman was jailed for hacking into phones of the royal household in 2007, the paper insisted the practice was not more widely used.
Mr Pike told the committee the email was a "critical piece of evidence" relating to phone hacking.

"It was quite clear having seen the For Neville email... that there was involvement of News of the World journalists other than Goodman," he said.

The lawyer also said that in 2008, at the time of the Taylor case, the advice given to News International was that there were "three journalists other than Goodman involved in phone hacking".

"They were also advised by counsel and ourselves that there was a powerful case to support [the existence of] a culture of illegal accessing of information to get stories," he added.
'Hush up'

Mr Pike said there was no obligation for him to report to the police that he knew phone hacking was more widespread at the News of the World than the company was claiming.

Asked what he had done to correct those claims, he said, "I'll be honest, I haven't done very much," but added that this did not cause him "any professional embarrassment".

The committee also heard from Mark Lewis, the solicitor who represents many of the alleged victims of phone hacking - including the family of Milly Dowler - and who represented Mr Taylor.

Start Quote

It was only the Milly Dowler case that exposed everything”
End Quote Mark Lewis Solicitor
Mr Lewis said the settlement for Mr Taylor was much higher than would have been expected in a privacy case in which no story was actually published.

He told MPs he believed that was to "hush up" the matter and encourage him not to bring any further claims or make public any further allegations.

"They didn't want it to get out," he said. "They paid my costs in full. They didn't knock a penny off - that's unheard of in litigation."

He added: "The News of the World's stance on all this has moved from one rogue reporter... to trying to present this as something that is about people who have no right to any sympathy - politicians, celebrities, sports people.

"It was only the Milly Dowler case that exposed everything. The lie that was being told by News of the World, but also all the other newspapers. That was really the scandal. It was a cover up by all the newspapers."

Mr Lewis also claimed his own phone had been hacked as recently as 2011.

Legal manager

Committee chairman John Whittingdale said in September he wanted to hear from Mr Pike before recalling News Corp boss James Murdoch to give further evidence.

Former News of the World legal manager Tom Crone has told MPs he is "certain" he informed Mr Murdoch about the For Neville email.

But, Mr Murdoch, who is the European chief executive of News Corporation - the parent company of News International, which owned News of the World before it was closed in July 2011 - has insisted he was never told about it.

Next week, the MPs will hear evidence from News International's former executive chairman Les Hinton.

He will appear via videolink from the United States, where he lives.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Amanda (Milly) Dowler Story

Amanda Dowler At Home Ironing

News of the World: How Surrey Police responded to the ‘hacking’ of Milly Dowler

Surrey Police : Missing Schoolgirl - Page Deleted For April 5th 2002 ?

EXCLUSIVE - Police Dialed News Of The World

Senior Surrey Police detectives investigating the disappearance of Milly Dowler held two meetings with journalists from the News of the World and were shown evidence that the newspaper held information taken from the voicemails of the murdered schoolgirl.

An investigation by The Independent which focuses on this crucial period of the phone-hacking scandal reveals that the force subsequently failed to investigate or take action against the News International title.

One of the officers who attended the meetings was Craig Denholm, currently Deputy Chief Constable of Surrey. He was the Detective Chief Superintendent in charge of Operation Ruby, the code name for the investigation launched following the disappearance of the teenager on 21 March 2002.

The Independent has confirmed the identity of the officer, who is still a member of the Surrey force. But his name is being withheld following a claim from his lawyers that revealing his identity could prove "catastrophic" for him and his family because of public anger at the hacking of the schoolgirl's phone.

The extent of the Sunday paper's meddling in the Dowler inquiry raises new questions about how far up the executive ladder at News International knowledge of phone hacking had spread at this early stage, and why Surrey Police decided not to follow up evidence that the NOTW had illegally obtained information relevant to one of the most high-profile inquiries in its history.

The failure to pursue the Sunday tabloid meant that phone hacking by its journalists continued for another four years until Scotland Yard arrested the private investigator Glenn Mulcaire and the NOTW royal editor Clive Goodman in August 2006. Both were later jailed. Mark Lewis, the Dowler family's lawyer, said: "Questions have to be asked as to whether Surrey Police were more concerned with selling papers than solving crimes. What was it with them that, when the public dialled 999, the police dialled NOTW?"

The Independent has established that, in April 2002 as police followed multiple leads, the NOTW approached the Surrey force and arranged two meetings during which it was made clear that the paper had obtained information that could only have come from messages on Milly's phone.

The meetings, which took place at a Surrey police station, were attended by at least two journalists from the Rupert Murdoch-owned paper and two of the force's most senior detectives, Mr Denholm and Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Gibson, who had day-to-day control of the inquiry. A third Surrey officer also attended.

Mr Denholm declined to comment on the meetings when approached by The Independent. Mr Gibson, who has retired from the police, could not be reached for comment despite repeated requests made to Surrey Police.

One former Surrey officer said: "The meetings were clearly significant. It was obvious that the newspaper had got hold of details from Milly's phone messages."

The Independent has been told that the minutes of at least one of the meetings feature among up to 300 items of unused evidence submitted for the prosecution of Levi Bellfield, the former bouncer who was convicted this summer of Milly's murder.

The revelation that the NOTW had accessed and then allegedly deleted some of the schoolgirl's voicemails, providing false hope for her family and friends that she was still alive, proved a tipping point in the hacking scandal, forcing the closure of the Sunday tabloid. It emerged last month that NI is near to finalising a £3m settlement with the Dowler family, including a £1m payment to charity made personally by Mr Murdoch.

The contacts between the NOTW and Surrey Police in the early weeks of Operation Ruby are alleged to have begun after the officer under investigation by the IPCC revealed to an individual outside of the inquiry details that were being pursued by the Operation Ruby team. The IPCC is looking at whether the officer gave away confidential material and, if so, whether he received payment for it.

Surrey Police has acknowledged that a detective was removed from the investigation and given "words of advice" – the lowest form of admonition – before being transferred to duties at another police station.

The Independent has established that, prior to the disciplinary action, executives at the NOTW requested the first of two meetings with the officers leading the Dowler inquiry. Mr Gibson – who later left the investigation – and Mr Denholm met the paper's journalists on two occasions within a number of days.

It became clear that the paper had obtained Milly's phone number and accessed her voicemails when the journalists revealed they knew about an apparent offer of a job interview to Milly made on 27 March 2002 at a Midlands factory. Subsequent inquiries by detectives established that the message had been mistakenly left on the schoolgirl's phone.

Despite this knowledge, Mr Denholm and his force appear to have taken a decision not to investigate the evidence of phone hacking.

The Independent has not been told the identity of the journalists who attended the meetings. However, one of them is understood to be a senior newsroom executive. Surrey Police's lack of action may be due to officers on Operation Ruby wanting to avoid being distracted from the task of locating Milly.

Just how the NOTW obtained Milly's phone number remains unclear.

The Independent has been told that the schoolgirl was using an unregistered SIM card, meaning her details could not have been "blagged" from her mobile-phone provider by Mulcaire.

There is also no suggestion that the information could have been provided by her family, leaving only friends and the police as potential sources.

 In a statement, Surrey Police said it was prevented from discussing allegations surrounding the Dowler inquiry because of the ongoing IPCC investigation and Scotland Yard's investigation into phone hacking.

It added: "In 2002, Surrey Police's priority was to find Milly and then find out what had happened to her and to bring her killers to justice. Clearly, there was a huge amount of professional interaction between Surrey Police and the media throughout that time."

Surrey Police said it had taken the decision to refer the conduct of the detective constable involved in the Dowler murder to the IPCC "in order to be open and transparent".

The police watchdog told The Independent its inquiry terms were limited, stating: "The terms of reference ... are specifically in relation to the actions of one detective constable and do not cover whether senior Surrey officers knew about the News of the World hacking Milly Dowler's phone in 2002.

However, if during the course of our investigation ... we uncover any evidence of wrongdoing by anybody else in the force, we would of course deal with that."

The NOTW made little effort to conceal its success in accessing Milly's voicemails from the public.

On 14 April 2002 – within a few days of the meetings with Surrey Police – the paper printed a remarkably candid story in its first edition which detailed three separate voicemails left for the missing schoolgirl between 27 March and 2 April. By this time Bellfield is likely already to have murdered her.

The paper reported a voicemail message from a woman purporting to be from a Midlands employment agency. It concerned a job interview. By the time the later editions of the paper came out the story had been radically altered, removing all direct quotations from the voicemails.

In evidence to MPs this summer, News International identified four people who, it said, had primary responsibility for reviewing articles in April 2002. This was the then editor Rebekah Brooks, the legal manager Tom Crone, the paper's news editor Neville Thurlbeck and the night editor Peter Smith.

It was revealed by The Wall Street Journal in August that Mr Thurlbeck, who has been arrested and bailed on suspicion of conspiracy to intercept voicemails, authorised a stakeout by NOTW journalists of the Epson factory referred to in the 27 March voicemail. Ms Brooks, who resigned as NI chief executive in July, has said she was on holiday when the 14 April story was published.

Crone suggested to the Commons Media Select Committee this summer that the changes to the article between editions could have been made because the details of the voicemails were supplied by Surrey Police officers who then changed their minds about the extent of the disclosures when they saw the first

The Independent understands that NI has identified the journalist who commissioned Mulcaire to target Milly's voicemails, but his or her name is being withheld for legal reasons.

 In a statement, a News International spokesperson said: "We are unable to comment on any of the detail in the case. We continue to co-operate fully with the police."

Tom Watson, the Labour MP on the Commons committee investigating phone hacking, said The Independent's investigation pointed to one unanswered question: "Who knew at News International?"

Under scrutiny: The officers who knew

Stuart Gibson

As a Detective Chief Inspector, Mr Gibson was in charge of the hunt for Milly Dowler, responsible for co-ordinating the inquiry into a number of leads and theories about her disappearance.

Craig Denholm

As Deputy Chief Constable he found himself in overall charge of one of the biggest inquiries in Surrey's history when the 13-year-old vanished.

Timeline: Dowler case

21 March 2002 Milly Dowler vanishes.

27 March A mystery caller leaves a message apparently inviting Milly to a job interview in the Midlands.

Early April The News of the World requests meetings with officers on the case, at which it becomes clear that the newspaper has information from voicemails on Milly's phone. A detective is taken off the case after claims that he disclosed confidential information to a friend ("not a journalist") outside the force.

14 April In its first edition, the NOTW details three voicemails left on Milly's phone, including the message about the job interview. In later editions the details are removed.

20 September Milly's remains are found in woodland in Hampshire.

30 March 2010 Levi Bellfield accused of Milly's murder.

4 July 2011 A fortnight after Bellfield is convicted, The Guardian reveals that Milly's voicemails were hacked by the NOTW. After an outcry the title is closed.

12 August 2011 The Independent Police Complaints Commission announces an investigation into the suspended detective's actions.