Friday 7 June 2013

All Rise - Justice Saunders At Southwark

The latest from my regular contributor.

With the Mail speculating an alleged affair said to be political dynamite to No 10 and multiple News International appearances to answer charges at Southwark Crown Court, reporting (and non-reporting) of Hackgate has been busy this week.  Defendants have understandably been the main focus of attention, whilst one person in the courtroom has largely escaped notice - the judge. The Honourable Mr. Justice Saunders, a.k.a. Sir John Henry Boulton Saunders, appears to be handling pre-trial case management and may be the anticipated Hackgate replacement for newly-promoted Lord Justice Fulford.

Mr Justice Saunders was called to the Bar (Gray’s Inn) in 1972, and was appointed as a Queen’s Counsel in 1991. He was appointed as a Recorder in 1990, and became a Senior Circuit Judge and the Recorder of Birmingham in 2004. In 2007 he was appointed as a High Court Judge in the Queen’s Bench Division. Saunders was appointed as Presiding Judge on the South Eastern Circuit in January 2009, again replacing Fulford who was unable to take up the post due to his commitments at the International Criminal Court. (here)

As one of 'London's 1000 most Influential People 2011', it was said that his "self-assured approach in the media spotlight means he is being increasingly trusted for major criminal cases." (here)

Saunders J has long experience as trial judge, such as high profile cases of corruption and misconduct in public office, including senior police officers.  The legal issues of public trust will stand him in good stead.

In 2006, Saunders jailed two corrupt police officers in Nottingham who passed data on serious enquiries to suspected criminals. The convictions were for 'conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office' and 'conspiracy to pervert the course of justice'.  Saunders said their activities put the lives of vital witnesses and informants at risk, damaged the morale of the Nottinghamshire police force and undermined the trust placed in the police by members of the public. He added, "Corrupt police officers do untold damage to the criminal justice system." (here)

More recently, Saunders was trial judge for cases in the Parliamentary expenses scandal. He "presided over three trials - those of Lords Taylor and Hanningfield, and former MP Jim Devine, and has sentenced others who pleaded guilty before their trials began - Elliot Morley, David Chaytor and Eric Illsley."  He also proved fearless in publicly remonstrating with Gordon Brown, Nick Clegg and David Cameron for taking part in a "pre-election frenzy" which risked jeopardising the trials. (here)

Fortunately, Saunders J seems to value transparency through the frequent publication of his sentencing remarks. His reasoning in the case of Labour MP Jim Devine shows a keen awareness of concerns which may be relevant to Hackgate (p2 Sentencing Remarks, 31 March 2011):
By the time that Mr. Devine committed these offences the parliamentary expenses’ scandal was front page news. Disclosure of MP’s expenses claims had been ordered by the Information Commissioner and, although disclosure had not yet taken place, there had been regular leaks appearing in the press including one concerning Mr. Devine’s expenses claims. I, of course, ignore the content of that report, but it does mean that Mr. Devine made his false claims at a time when the papers were full of stories about MP’s claims for expenses and the public were already making clear the sense of outrage they felt. He made his false claims knowing full well just how wrong it was and the effect that false claims were having on the public’s belief and confidence in Parliament.
In another MP prosecution case, Saunders drew press criticism for a decision which took account of the defendant's psychiatric reports. In the face of much adverse publicity, he adhered to his legal obligations in ruling she was "not fit mentally to defend herself...What the court has done and has to do is to act in accordance with the law of the land and on the basis of the evidence that it hears." (here)

He has already undertaken a similar - and deft - handling in the case of a journalist previously charged under Operation Elveden, following "medical reports which had been sought by both the prosecution and defence."  (here)

Feb 2012, Saunders J jailed a senior Metropolitan Police officer for three years for 'misconduct in public office' and 'perverting the course of justice'. Commander Ali Dizaei had previously been described by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) as a "criminal in uniform".  (here)

In his sentencing remarks (here), Saunders told Dizaei:
You are a very senior officer. The breach of trust that the public has placed in you is the more serious because of your senior appointment. You have been a role model to many other people as a result of your achievements as a police officer.
Justice Saunders was also trial judge for one of the cricket spot-fixing cases in 2011-12, that of Essex cricketer Mervyn Westfield.

[The more infamous spot-fixing trials under a different trial judge were those of Pakistan cricketers - exposed by a News of the World (NOTW) undercover sting by 'fake sheikh' Mazher Mahmood. One of the defendants (Aamer) pleaded guilty, but the jury was not told and reporting restrictions were imposed so as not to prejudice the trials of the others who had pleaded not guilty. (Daily Mail)  The Prime Minister's older brother, Alex Cameron QC, was involved in defending those accused (here).  Alex Cameron was at Eton with his friend Charlie Brooks and is Head of Chambers of Rebekah Brooks' Hackgate defence QC, Hugo Keith. (here) The chambers, Three Raymond Buildings, have responded (here) by denying this association is in any way inappropriate.]

Whilst these two spot-fixing trials were otherwise unconnected, the convictions went jointly to the Court of Appeal on the grounds of shared technical issues of law. Essex cricketer Mervyn Westfield had been sentenced by Justice Saunders to accepting corrupt payments, contrary to s.1(1) of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906.  Saunders' ruling was considered correct by the Court of Appeal and the appeal dismissed. (here)

[As an aside - whilst not relevant to the spot-fixing cases - the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906 has no public interest defence.]

In December 2012, Mr Justice Saunders was trial judge  in the case of R-v - Edward Devenney. It was a complex case involving the defendant attempting to give top secret material to another state whilst a serving Royal Navy officer. The intended recipients of the secrets were in fact security services agents in a sting operation (Sentencing Remarks)
The Defendant was in a position, by virtue of his job, to access top secret information that could be of use to another country. He had taken and downloaded onto his computer photographs of part of the Crypto code system to which he should not have had access... he had to obtain access to a locked safe. This suggests that he was prepared to take risks to obtain secret information and had the ability to get away with it."  It is of note that the abuse of trust was regarded as extremely serious even though there was no actual harm done to national security, nor was it ever alleged that Devenney's actions were motivated by financial gain: "The Court also has to mark the Defendant’s attempted betrayal of not only his country but also his colleagues who must feel great anger at his behaviour. Those who serve their country loyally must know that those who don’t will receive proper punishment.
Saunders profile clearly demonstrates his experience and familiarity with issues that will be central to Hackgate trials in the glare of press and media scrutiny.    His extensive trial experience is witness to his ability to deal with press, police and politicians without fear or favour.  In April 2013 he was appointed to the Sentencing Council, appointed by the Lord Chief Justice with the agreement of the Lord Chancellor. (here)  He will be serving on the Sentencing Council with other notable senior judiciary such as The Right Honourable Lord Justice Leveson and Surrey Police Chief Constable Lynne Owens.  (Council Members here)

At Southwark this week, Saunders showed empathy for public and press in a rare occurrence of a judge allowing standing room only in his courtroom. However, he has proved less sympathetic to anyone risking the breach of imposed reporting restrictions - or those perceived as jeopardising fair trial via social media.

In January 2011, during the trial of a member of the House of Lords, His Honour Justice Saunders ordered Lord Alan Sugar to delete a tweet which he thought could prejudice a fair trial - Lord Sugar complied with Saunders' ruling within 20 minutes. "When he learnt of the peer's message, Mr Justice Saunders cleared the court and said 'can someone contact Lord Sugar and get that removed'.  He also referred the matter to the Attorney General Dominic Grieve - who has the power to bring charges against individuals deemed to have harmed the judicial process. Mr Grieve decided to take no action on the matter." (here)

Saunders said: 
I reported the matter to the attorney general not for the purpose of taking any action against Lord Sugar but to investigate whether entries on Twitter sites of high profile figures relating to trials which were going to take place or were taking place posed a risk of prejudicing the fairness of a trial... And if so whether there were steps that could be taken to minimise that risk.
What CAN be tweeted however is:

Related Articles
The Met - Red Flags And Red Tops
Hackgate - Issues For The Burnton Inquiry Into The Murder Of Daniel Morgan
Hackgate - The IPCC and Surrey's "Collective Amnesia"
Hackgate - Alex Marunchak - Presumed Innocent
Hackgate - Springwatch
Hackgate - Elveden: Murdoch Or King Cnut?
Hackgate - Elveden - Murdoch's Catch 22

You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses or by email at

The Met - Red Flags And Red Tops

The latest from my regular contributor.

Looking back at the early 'red flags' of corruption and the tabloids is instructive. This post will look at warning signs at the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS or MET) in the period, roughly 2000-2005. It's a convenient timespan as it coincides with three top level rank constants -

Commissioner - John STEVENS
Deputy Commissioner & Director of Professional Standards (DPS) - Ian BLAIR
Director of Public Affairs (DPA) - Dick FEDORCIO

Indeed the senior ranks charged with anti-corruption responsibilities read like a succession of a Who's Who name-checked at the Leveson Inquiry.  Or perhaps a tortuous biblical genealogy in which Andy HAYMAN begat Bob QUICK who begat John YATES who begat Peter CLARKE etc.  Other less senior and lesser known names also recur, providing evidence of knowledge continuity of dangerous red flags at the MET - who knew what when - Shaun SAWYER, Andre BAKER, Dave COOK, David ZINZAN, Maxine de BRUNNER, Dean HAYDON, Brendan GILMOUR, Tony FULLER and so on...

Three significant MET investigations should have raised red flags in 2000-05 - Operations Abelard1, Motorman and Glade. Three more red flags were raised by key extracts from (unrelated) Reports highly critical of professional standards and press office/public affairs at the MET. These high profile criticisms were  the Virdi Inquiry Report, Damilola Taylor Review and the Morris Report.

The late 1990s had seen well publicised anti-graft initiatives at the MET, keeping Anti-Corruption Command (formerly CIB, Complaints Investigation Bureau) very busy, such as the Rigg Approach investigation led by Shaun SAWYER (here).

A parallel anti-corruption investigation was underway under John YATES - Operation Russia (here).  Also at Anti-Corruption Command was Dean HAYDON (here), later to become Staff Officer to John YATES and head ed Operation Varec (here).

A third relevant investigation was the linked Operation Nigeria/Two Bridges (here) probing police corruption, press 'dark arts' and the murder of Daniel Morgan (here) - under the command of Andy HAYMAN at Professional Standards (DPS). Andre BAKER was then senior homicide detective for South East London. On the team too at Anti-Corruption Command was then Detective Superintendent Bob QUICK. Operation Nigeria uncovered very serious red flags re newspapers, for example, a leak from the 1999 murder of Jill Dando which resulted in a detective's forced resignation. (here)

QUICK was so concerned about the intelligence uncovered that he submitted a report to HAYMAN in 2000
highlighting the role of journalists in promoting corrupt relationships with, and making corrupt payments to, officers for stories about famous people and high profile investigations in the MPS...I proposed an investigation of these newspapers/officers on the basis that I believed that the journalists were not paying bribes out of their own pockets but...the newspaper organisations were aware of the reasons for the payments and were themselves complicit in making corrupt payments to police officers.
An investigation which scrutinised processes and policies relating to a contentious grievance, disciplinary and racism case.  In particular, the Report red flagged HAYMAN'S Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) and FEDORCIO'S Directorate of Public Affairs (DPA).

The Report (here) included two letters from Andy HAYMAN - the first said, sadly, DCS BAKER was unable to locate relevant search procedure notes as none were kept. The other letter (Appendix 13b) said he was willing to allow the Virdi Inquiry access to the press file only under very stringent conditions.  In the event, that didn't happen
This Inquiry has repeatedly requested an opportunity to view the DPA press file and associated papers on Police Sgt Virdi. Regrettably, at the time of writing, the MPS Directorate of Public Affairs has not produced these papers.
Virdi's view was
that the MPS appear to have a close relationship with particular journalists, providing them 'misleading information' as well as leaking 'details of our solicitor's confidential letter'... (and) proves the collusion of certain officers of the MPS and the Daily Mail... No-one has been disciplined on this matter.
Additionally in 2001, the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) ratified its ethical Editors' Code of Conduct, Glenn Mulcaire signed his first lucrative contract with NOTW, Dick FEDORCIO became a full inner sanctum member of the MET Management Board and - in Plymouth - Operation Reproof started scoping into police corruption and illegal data harvesting (here).

ABELARD1 2002-3
Operation Abelard1 was launched by DPS Intelligence Development Group (IDG) - reopening the investigation into Daniel Morgan's murder.  Shaun SAWYER had become head of Anti-Corruption Command after HAYMAN joined Norfolk Police as Chief Constable. Abelard1 was led by David ZINZAN and fronting the public appeal for information was David COOK, working under Commander Andre BAKER. At that time, Brendan GILMOUR transferred from South East London Murder Investigation Team to the DPS - firstly to the Intelligence Development Group (IDG), then Anti-Corruption Command.

As the public face of the murder enquiry, COOK was allegedly targeted for surveillance by NOTW and Morgan murder suspects.  COOK confronted Rebekah Brooks face-to-face - the meeting facilitated by BAKER and Dick FEDORCIO (see here)

The Damilola Taylor Investigation Review Report into the 10yr old schoolboy's murder was published. (here).  It castigated press coverage, especially "the unauthorised disclosure of one piece of critical evidence found during the post-mortem examination of Damilola..." A tabloid newspaper published "the detail after the suspects were charged and evidential difficulties arose as a result... It is possible that the leak did in fact come from within the police service." Yet another red flag.

Despite known difficulties with substantial newspaper rewards being offered in high profile murders, the Daily Mail put up £50,000 - reluctantly endorsed by the MET: "Benefits and difficulties were identified, not least the desirability of witnesses emerging as a matter of principle rather than recompense." (p22)  That is exactly what happened; the prosecution case failed in court through the unreliable evidence of 14yr old girl (witness 'Bromley') alleged to have to been motivated by the reward money.  (Daily Mail)

Immediately the case collapsed, child witness 'Bromley' and her mother were stashed in a hotel in Blackheath where it had been arranged with the MET press office they would meet reporters from the News of the World and the Mail on Sunday. A deal was agreed with "the senior press officer at the Metropolitan Police, to pay £45,000 for the Bromley interview." (Guardian)

Yes. Yes, that's correct.  A senior press officer from the FEDORCIO'S Directorate of Public Affairs was acting as agent and broker in a tabloid bidding war - for an exclusive interview with a vulnerable 14yr old girl, in a hotel paid for by the News of the World.

Why?  And on whose authority?

Reneging on their bid agreement lost NOTW their exclusive and incurred a costly employment tribunal, heard amongst acrimonious allegations of police corruption and NOTW leverage deals with the MET to suppress embarrassing stories.  Even that leverage deal was reneged on. It wasn't until more than a year later, in an apparently unrelated incident, the same MET press officer was reportedly suspended on suspicion of the disclosure of unauthorised information to journalists. (Guardian)

It led on from Operation Reproof. It was an Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) investigation into 'industrial scale' Data Protection infringements by private investigators, via corrupt public officials, for a large number of national newspapers. (for background see here).

In March 2003, Rebekah Brooks (then Wade) admitted paying police officers fo information (Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee 2003)

Briefed on Operation Motorman's extensive seizures by ICO Senior Investigating Officer Alex Owens, in May 2003 the MET Department of Professional Standards started its own Operation Glade.  It was an  (p3 here)
investigation into the unlawful disclosure of confidential Police National Computer (PNC) records, in the form of criminal record office (CRO) histories and registered keeper details of privately owned vehicles... passed in to the national press in exchange for monetary payment. 
Glade was led by Det Superintendent Tony FULLER, with Brendan GILMOUR as Investigating Officer. Early in 2004, seven journalists were interviewed under caution but none were prosecuted.  A civilian police worker, ex-MET police officer and two private investigators were subsequently convicted for conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office and data protection offences.  Operation Glade was clearly yet another red flag.

'An Independent Inquiry into Professional Standards and employment matters in the Metropolitan Police Service'  Its focus was how the MET treated its own officers when they were investigated for alleged misconduct and/or criminality.  The inquiry looked at issues such as accountability and scrutiny of DPS and recommended a fundamental overhaul under the personal direction of the Commissioner.  Now under Dep Asst Commissioner Stephen Roberts, criticism was made of poor practices (p142)
I strongly believe that DPS is not properly regulated and that they think they can do as they please without fear of an investigation into their own activities.
They "did not record all the important decisions on the cases... there can be no confidence that the necessary rigour has been brought to bear... It also makes it difficult to track the thought processes and reasons for decisions made, which is vital." (p161)

Disclosure was refused "just 3 weeks prior to the hearing, citing that some of the documentation was subject to a Public Interest Immunity and could not be disclosed. Why did it take DPS 4 months to respond to the original disclosure request?” Another said the DPS "simply ignored the requests.”  (p171)

Leaks and negative briefings to the press
We asked the MPS to comment on some of the issues arising out of the evidence, in particular the question of information which some officers felt had been leaked to the press. Mr Fedorcio outlined the MPS’ procedures as follows: 'Where we believe unauthorised information has been given to the media the press officer will bring this to the attention of the investigating officer
We have received evidence that suggests that unofficial press releases or comment is made about individuals. The MPS denies this.
I was ordered by my senior officers not to talk to the media in my own defence and...the MPS did nothing "to counter the stream of largely false and damaging articles.
- (DAC Brian Paddick) p170

Arguably these failings echo those of the later investigation Operation Caryatid into phone hacking by Goodman and Mulcaire. Is it at all credible that no-one made any connections? Yet Brendan GILMOUR asserted to Leveson "In 2003, the concept of the national newspapers routinely using police employee to source sensitive information was still relatively unknown. On this basis I believe the MPS response was appropriate." Surely even by then there were more than enough red flags to make bunting for Scotland Yard?

Sir John STEVENS stepped down as Commissioner of the Metropolis in 2005.

Related Articles
Hackgate - Issues For The Burnton Inquiry Into The Murder Of Daniel Morgan
Hackgate - The IPCC and Surrey's "Collective Amnesia"
Hackgate - Alex Marunchak - Presumed Innocent
Hackgate - Springwatch
Hackgate - Elveden: Murdoch Or King Cnut?
Hackgate - Elveden - Murdoch's Catch 22
Hackgate - April Casburn's Conviction - Myths And Misconceptions

You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses or by email at

Issues For The Burnton Inquiry Into The Murder Of Daniel Morgan

The latest from my regular contributor.

Home Secretary Theresa May gave evidence to Leveson plus a wealth of additional material.  Exhibit TM1 includes a detailed list of 27 concurrent 'Inquiries/Enquiries/Reviews re Phone Hacking', as at October 2011 (pp 433-4).  No 4 on her list is:
Operation Tuleta - police investigation into hacking in general terms and so far involves consideration of hard drives, and other documentation seized in historic Operations (including Ops Glade, Motorman, Millipede, Abelard 2, Nigeria, Two Bridges, Abelard 1 and Russia).
Five of those eight named police investigations relate directly to the savage murder of Daniel Morgan (see here).  It is also striking that ALL EIGHT of those Operations named by May can potentially be linked to Southern Investigations (here).  The lesser-known Operations are (from Time Line of events and linked investigations, Appendix A, Operation Abelard 2 Review)
- 1987 - Operation Russia - A covert investigation into police corruption particularly in South East London
- 1997 to January 1999 - Operation Nigeria - MET assessment and commencement of covert police investigations
- January 1999 - Operation Two Bridges - Additional MPS covert investigation examining police corruption and the murder of Daniel Morgan. Enquiry revealed information pertinent to the murder investigation. Charges brought in connection with an unrelated matter.
- May 2002 - Operation Abelard 1 - MET launched a fresh covert investigation into the murder of Daniel Morgan. Led by the Directorate of Professional Standards.

Also linked to these investigations, and with overlapping oversight, are 3 senior MET officers - Andy Hayman, Andre Baker, John Yates.

Hayman was MET Commander focusing on anti-corruption during Operations Russia, Nigeria, and Two Bridges. On return to the MET from service as Chief Constable of Norfolk, Hayman was MET Assistant Commissioner Specialist Operations (ACSO) with overall responsibility for Operation Caryatid - the original phone-hacking investigation into NOTW (News of the World)'s Goodman and Mulcaire.

Andre Baker has not received the same levels of public scrutiny as Hayman or Yates -  see here for more depth.

Baker was Head of Homicide for London in 2002 at the time of the Operation Abelard 1 investigation into Daniel Morgan's murder. Detective Superintendent David Zinzan led operations, with Detective Chief Superintendent Dave Cook fronting the Crimewatch appeal for new information - his immediate superior was Baker. Ultimately the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) determined there was insufficient evidence for a prosecution. Following the CPS decision on the Zinzan-Cook investigation, all eight suspects arrested were released (see here).

That 2002 Crimewatch appeal allegedly prompted Daniel Morgan murder suspects to instigate NOTW surveillance of DSC Cook and his wife, Jackie Hames. That Cook-Hames surveillance jn turn led to an infamous confrontation meeting between Rebekah Brooks, Dick Fedorcio, DCS Cook and his boss Andre Baker (see here).

From January 2006, Baker was Deputy Director of SOCA (Serious Organised Crime Agency) - ie throughout investigations Operation Caryatid (phone hacking) Operation Millipede (computer hacking) and Operation Abelard 2 (the fifth investigation into the murder of Daniel Morgan).

John Yates was Detective Superintendent in MET Anti-Corruption Command and led during part of Operation Russia at the time of Operation Nigeria/Two Bridges investigations of Southern Investigations - in which NOTW were implicated.  In 2006, Yates was appointed Assistant Commissioner for MET Professional Standards, then all Serious Crime, then from 2009 Specialist Operations/Counter-Terrorism. 

This means Yates had SIMULTANEOUS overall responsibility for BOTH the NOTW-tainted Operation Abelard 2 (2006-11 Daniel Morgan's murder investigation) AND the controversial re-evaluations (2009-11) of Operation Caryatid (NOTW phone hacking).

Two Parliamentarians raised pertinent issues in the House of Commons:

Gordon Brown, Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, Labour  (Hansard 13 July 2011, c402)
No action from the head of the first police inquiry, Andy Hayman, whose next job just happened to be at News International; no action from his successor, who had overall responsibility for two inquiries—Mulcaire and Abelard, or what is called Southern Investigations—each with vast but unexamined archives exposing criminality on a huge scale.
Tom Watson,West Bromwich East, Labour (Hansard 11 July 2011, c46)
As head of Operation Abelard, John Yates would be aware of paperwork showing convicted private investigator Jonathan Rees discussing the use of covert surveillance techniques, including computer hacking, with a close associate of Rebekah Brooks, Mr Alex Marunchak. Rees, while serving time in prison, discussed his contact with reporters from The Sunday Times. Far from this scandal being about wrongdoing at the News of the World, it is a story of institutional criminality at News International. John Yates’ review of the Mulcaire evidence was not an oversight. Like Andy Hayman, he chose not to act. He misled Parliament. 
Yates was apparently very keen retain Gold Group oversight, and not to relinquish evaluation of phone-hacking evidence outside his own Specialist Operations/Counter-Terrorism command. He of course had the alternative to recuse, and request that the Commissioner allocated the task of establishing the facts of Operation Caryatid to another MET command.

A different Command may not have lacked expertise and experience in bringing offences of blagging and hacking to successful prosecution. For example, at the same time as the Operation Caryatid investigation, is the 2006 case of private investigators Sharon and Stephen Anderson - blaggers of bank, tax, utilities and telephone accounts (see here).

Or (as yet unlinked to Hackgate) the network uncovered by Operation Barabatus in 2006-7. it exposed a criminal chain of former police officers-turned-private investigators hacking computers, using Trojan viruses, and illegally accessing the Police National Computer (PNC) data via serving officers. Eight men were convicted. (here)

So it appears there was no lack of appetite from other parts of the MET to pursue similar cases - with similar modus operandi.

March 2006 - the fifth Investigation into Daniel Morgan's murder is launched under AC John Yates, Commander Shaun Sawyer and with Dave Cook as operational lead (seconded from his then post at SOCA). [David Zinzan of Abelard 1 and Shaun Sawyer of Abelard 2 are now respectively Deputy Chief Constable and Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police.]  Abelard 2 arrests followed in 2008 but, by March 2011, the case collapsed under the weight of disclosure obligations and allegations of police corruption (see here).

Dave Cook was arrested on 10th January 2012. Despite being an alleged victim of NOTW surveillance and civil litigant, Cook himself was suspected of making unauthorised leaks to a journalist and, to date, remains un-charged on bail. (Guardian)
He was arrested after the IPCC was passed information in mid-December by Metropolitan police detectives working on Operation Elveden, which is investigating alleged payments to police officers by newspapers.  Investigators working for the police watchdog have powers of arrest when carrying out an independent investigation. It is not clear why the Met did not carry out the arrest and instead passed the inquiry on to the police watchdog. A spokesman for the Met would not comment.
Cook's arrest by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) rather than the MET is indeed curious - as is this nugget from John Yates witness statement to the Leveson Inquiry:
I should add that I have been asked by the IPCC to provide a witness statement whether I authorised former Detective Chief Superintendent David Cook to provide specific information to a named journalist for specific operational reasons relating to the reinvestigation into the murder of Daniel Morgan.  I am happy to confirm that I did and will provide to the IPCC a witness statement to this effect.
Curiouser and curiouser.

In mid-May 2013, Yates wrote a lengthy article for the Independent on Sunday (here) about the Daniel Morgan murder investigations and the announcement of the Burnton Panel inquiry:
I had overall responsibility for the case from 2006 until the collapse of the last trial at the Old Bailey in March 2011... the panel will also pay particular attention to the role played by Detective Chief Superintendent Dave extremely able and committed detective...Disturbingly, he provides an astonishing link between Southern Investigations, the News of the World and phone-hacking when, in July 2011, it was revealed that the paper had used the detective agency to tail Det Ch Supt Cook and his wife at the height of his involvement in leading the murder investigation.
If Yates found this "astonishing" and a revelation to him when it "emerged" in 2011 then you have to wonder who (for more than a decade) was providing him with the selection of press cuttings relevant to his rigorous investigations - the News of the World?

Home Secretary Theresa May said:
The horrific murder of Daniel Morgan and subsequent investigations were dogged by serious allegations of police corruption. Several criminal investigations failed to bring those responsible to justice and this independent panel will leave no stone unturned to find out why.  I am delighted Sir Stanley Burnton has accepted the responsibility of chairing the panel. He brings an enormous amount of expertise from a long career at the top of the legal profession.  The terms of reference under which the panel will operate were also announced today.
Importantly, the Panel’s work will put Mr Morgan’s family at the centre of the process and the approach to this issue has the support of the MPS Commissioner and the Independent Police Complaints Commission... the Panel will seek to address the questions arising, including those relating to:
• police involvement in the murder;
• the role played by police corruption in protecting those responsible for the murder from being brought to justice and the failure to confront that corruption;
• the incidence of connections between private investigators, police officers and journalists
at the News of the World and other parts of the media and alleged corruption involved in the linkages between them. 

Those are three very weighty aims that clearly cover many of the issues being investigated by Operation Tuleta - and more.

Whilst the Burnton Panel "will ensure maximum possible disclosure of all relevant documentation, including information held by all relevant Government departments and agencies and by the police and other investigative and prosecuting authorities", no more details are so far available. Yet to be announced is the list of Panel members, and there is no indication on whether the Panel can compel witness evidence or only hear from willing witnesses. Neither is there an indication that evidence sessions will be public.

The timing of the Burnton inquiry is a little sketchy.  It is intended to take 12 months to Report, but mirrors the dilemma of Leveson Inquiry (Part 1) if it is unable to address the required specificity should that risk prejudicing ongoing criminal investigations or trials.  Yet anything less than a full, independent, forensic inquiry would betray assurances to Daniel Morgan's family and further damage public trust.

That is, unless the Home Secretary anticipates charges, trials and convictions soon under Operation Tuleta - or even Operations Russia, Two Bridges, Nigeria, Abelard 1, Motorman, Glade, Caryatid or Abelard 2.

Seems like a tall order.

Related Articles
Hackgate - The IPCC and Surrey's "Collective Amnesia"
Hackgate - Alex Marunchak - Presumed Innocent
Hackgate for Beginners - The Murder of Daniel Morgan
Hackgate - Springwatch
Hackgate - Elveden: Murdoch Or King Cnut?
Hackgate - Elveden - Murdoch's Catch 22
Hackgate - April Casburn's Conviction - Myths And Misconceptions
Hackgate - Varec Revisited - Dissent In The Ranks

You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses or by email at

The Morgan Family's Statement On The Daniel Morgan Independent Panel

The following statement has been issued by the family of Daniel Morgan

The Daniel Morgan Independent Panel:

The family of Daniel Morgan have welcomed the decision of the Home Secretary to appoint an Independent Panel led by Sir Stanley Burnton to examine the circumstances surrounding his murder in 1987.

As reflected in the terms of reference governing the Panel’s work (see attached), its purpose and remit is to examine the circumstances of the murder, its background and the handling of the case over the whole period since March 1987, including:
  • police involvement in the murder; 
  • the role played by police corruption in protecting those responsible for the murder from being brought to justice and the failure to confront that corruption; 
  • the incidence of connections between private investigators, police officers and journalists at the News of the World and other parts of the media and corruption involved in the linkages between them. 
Daniel’s brother Alastair said yesterday on behalf of his mother Isobel, his sister Jane and himself: 

“In 2011, over 24 years after Daniel’s murder, the Metropolitan Police finally admitted that their first investigation of this crime was crippled by police corruption. 

“As Daniel’s family, we were aware of that corruption within three weeks of the murder: we said so then, and we have been saying so ever since.
“Through almost three decades of public protests, meetings with police officers at the highest ranks, lobbying of politicians and pleas to the media, we have found ourselves lied to, fobbed off, bullied, degraded and let down time and time again. What we have been required to endure has been nothing less than mental torture. It has changed our relationship with this country forever. 

“In the meanwhile, the allegations and evidence of serious corruption within the Metropolitan Police – extending to recent history and the highest ranks – remained unaddressed through five police investigations and a prosecution aborted after 18 months of pre-trial argument. 

“Over most of this period, we witnessed a complete unwillingness by police and successive government to face up to what was occurring, and ultimately a complete failure by police leadership to deal effectively with serious police criminality. 

“We trust and hope that the Panel, through its examination and publication of all relevant material and information, will assist the authorities to confront and acknowledge this failure for once and for all, so that we may at last be able to get on with our lives.”


Daniel Morgan's brother, Alastair, appearance on Newsnight last night is featured in this BBC article, and I've previously written a number of related articles on this subject, with The Murder of Daniel Morgan providing a detailed look at the case.  It should be noted that a number of individuals involved with the case have now been arrested on other matters, so anyone quoting from any of those pieces should be careful about avoiding contempt of court when naming individuals.

For more information and updates on the case you can visit the Justice4Daniel website and follow the @justice4daniel Twitter account.

You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses or by email at

The IPCC and Surrey's "Collective Amnesia"

Published in late April '13, the Independent Police Complaints Commision (IPCC) Commissioner’s Report entitled 'IPCC independent investigation into Surrey Police’s knowledge of the alleged illegal accessing of Amanda (Milly) Dowler’s mobile phone in 2002' runs to just 6 scathing pages.  Its key observation is that
former senior officers at Surrey Police were 'afflicted by a form of collective amnesia' in relation to the force’s failure to investigate an allegation in 2002 that the voicemail of Amanda (Milly) Dowler had been hacked by the News of the World (NOTW).
The relevant documents in the public domain consist of a letter from Surrey Police to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee (CMS) on Surrey's own investigation (Operation Baronet), evidence read-in to the Leveson Inquiry from the Metropolitan Police Service (MET), as well as that IPCC Commissioner's Report.  The latter specifically focused on the referrals of Maria Woodall and Craig Denholm for potential recordable conduct.


Then: In 2002, Maria Woodall was Detective Sergeant and Action Team Manager of Surrey Police's investigation Operation Ruby into the abduction of missing teenager Millie Dowler. She appears to have been frank with the IPCC that the hacking of Millie's mobile phone by NOTW was known by several on the investigation team - for example, DC John Lyndon's 23rd April '02 log entry (p14) light of the News of the World revelation that they or a third party has accessed the voicemail it is possible that the messages had previously been listened to by unknown persons and deleted.
Millie's mother Sally recounted to the Leveson Inquiry (p14) her own suspicions that NOTW had intercepted family phones to get a particularly intrusive story for publication ('The Longest Walk').

Woodall's referral to the IPCC  however was not about 2002. She was investigated for allegedly failing to pass on knowledge of NOTW's hacking later during the investigation which led to the convictions of Clive Goodman and Glenn Mulcaire (p4):  
The case against her rested on her actions and knowledge in 2007, when the first phone hacking convictions took place. It is clear that at that point she accessed the HOLMES system to view documents from 2002 associated with phone hacking.
Though the IPCC investigation "concluded that there was no case to answer for misconduct."  From 2006, Operation Ruby's Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) was Detective Chief Superintendent Mark Rowley. It is not known if Woodall informed him of her HOLMES searches.

Now: Temporary Detective Superintendent Woodall is about to leave Surrey for a new job with the City of London Police.


Then: Detective Chief Inspector Gibson was the initial appointed Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) when Millie Dowler disappeared in March 2002.  It has been alleged that Gibson was one of the Surrey officers who met with NOTW senior journalists and were told of the hacking. (here)

Documented evidence of his meeting(s) with NOTW are missing.  Within a few weeks, Gibson was removed from Operation Ruby. The conclusions from a progress review by Sussex Police undertaken in the summer of 2002 are here.

At the same time, there was adverse criticism from the press - one "describing the investigation under DCI Gibson as 'rudderless' and this media coverage has since been described by (then Deputy Chief Constable) Peter Fahy as 'a factor in replacing the SIO for [the investigation]".  (p9)

Now: Stuart Gibson is retired.

The IPCC Investigation also states that amongst senior officers interviewed were those at Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) level.


Surrey Police's evidence to the CMS Committee and the Leveson Inquiry came from Assistant Chief Constable Jerry Kirkby. Normally, both might have warranted the attention of the force Chief Constable.  However, Surrey's Chief Constable Mark Rowley had just left for a new post with the MET and Temporary Chief Constable Craig Denholm was himself implicated as the focus of Operation Baronet.

Then: In 2002, Detective Chief Superintendent Denholm (Head of Crime) was Overall Officer in Charge (OOC) of Operation Ruby - the immediate superior officer to SIO Stuart Gibson.

The case against Denholm "rested on his claim to have had no knowledge about the alleged hacking of Milly Dowler’s phone before this was revealed publicly in 2011. Given the extent of knowledge within the investigation team, and Surrey Police as a whole, and the fact that this was referred to in documents which he is known to have received, the investigation found it hard to understand how he, the officer in charge, could not have been aware of the alleged hacking. But despite detailed examination of all extant documents and interviews with all relevant witnesses, the investigation was unable to find any witness or documentary evidence that contradicted Mr Denholm’s own repeated assertions to the IPCC that he did not know, and had not made the relevant connections. In view of that...there was insufficient evidence to support a finding of a case to answer for gross misconduct."

Now: Denholm has just been appointed Deputy Chief Constable of Hampshire Police. Its Chief Constable Andy Marsh said: "Craig is an experienced and very capable DCC with a good track record of leadership and delivery of excellent policing services to the public."


Then: Rowley joined Surrey in 2002 as Chief Superintendent to command West Surrey Basic Command Unit.  Previously (Guardian)
as a detective superintendent at the National Criminal Intelligence Service, he 'led on the national deployment of covert techniques to combat organised crime such as telephone interception' 
Rowley became Surrey Assistant Chief Constable from November 2003 and assumed the role of OOC for Operation Ruby in 2006.  He was appointed Chief Constable in 2009. Following the conviction of Levi Bellfield in 2011 for Millie Dowler's murder, Rowley iniated Operation Baronet under AC Jerry Kirkby.

Now:  Rowley is Assistant Commissioner at the MET. For some time he was direct superior officer of DAC Sue Akers command of Operations Weeting, Elveden and Tuleta.  Responsibility for these investigations was subsequently transferred to AC Cressida Dick.


Then: Throughout 2002, Fahy was Deputy Chief Constable of Surrey Police under Chief Constable Denis O'Connor. Fahy left Surrey in Dec '02 to become Chief Constable of Cheshire Police.

Now: Knighted in 2012, Sir Peter Fahy is currently Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police.


Then: In 2002, O'Connor was Chief Constable of Surrey Police. In all available evidence, O'Connor has been very keen to distance himself from the NOTW phone hacking in 2002.  Instead, he has consistently emphasized his heavy reliance on Peter Fahy's responsibility to have informed him:
You will understand that as a discipline authority, not everything reaches the Chief Constable, who must sit in judgment of things. So I may have been partially safe from it, but I would have expected and, you know,my sort of --my concern with the mission of policing and its credibility, that people would have drawn -- my senior staff, my professional standards department -- if there was anything significant, they would have told me... Particularly my Deputy Chief Constable at the present (sic) time, Peter Fahy, I had absolute faith in his integrity. I thought he would make the right judgments
Lord Justice Leveson did however challenge O'Connor on this strategy of continuing, unsighted insulation (pp 98-100).  His witness statement added (1st witness statement, p7):
I am not fully sighted on the details of the alleged contact between the News of the World and my staff during the Amanda Dowler investigation (I have deliberately limited my contact with Surrey Police pending current investigations) so cannot comment on the specifics of this issue.
Now:  Knighted in 2010, Sir Denis O'Connor is currently Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary.

And STILL there are inconsistencies emerging on the hacking of Millie Dowler. Note the investigation of Maria Woodall "rested on her actions and knowledge in 2007, when the first phone hacking convictions took place. It is clear that at that point she accessed the HOLMES system to view documents from 2002 associated with phone hacking."

Yet it is debatable just how much documentation was on the second generation HOLMES (Home Office Large Major Enquiry System) in 2002... or even in 2007. The - redacted - Sussex Review of September 2002 made Operational Recommendations:
Recommendation 56
That Surrey Police in general ensure that sufficient analysts are trained on the HOLMES 2 system.
Recommendation 57
That Surrey Police formulate an appropriate policy regarding the typing of at least the most significant 'other documents' onto HOLMES 2 during any enquiry.
Were those Sussex Police recommendations ignored? Or if significant 2002 Dowler phone hacking documents were in the HOLMES system, were they still there when Woodall looked in 2007? Had some disappeared by the time of the 2012 Operation Baronet?  Given that one of the aims of HOLMES is to facilitate crucial information access across force boundaries, was cross-force access to HOLMES 2002 documents volunteered by Surrey to Operation Caryatid (the MET 2005-6 investigation into Goodman and Mulcaire)? If not, why not?  Alternatively - following the high profile convictions of Goodman and Mulcaire in 2007 - Woodall may have tried to access cross-force MET HOLMES databases on NOTW phone hacking.

There were none. The MET did not enter details of the key Mulcaire Archive into HOLMES during the Operation Caryatid investigation in 2005. Or 2006. Or post-conviction in 2007.  It was only in July 2009, following intense criticism, that the MET's John Yates ordered the phone hacking data entry into HOLMES to enable victim notification. It was costly, protracted, and poorly executed.

The IPCC confirms "widespread knowledge uncovered in this investigation, we consider that it is scarcely credible that no one connected to the Milly Dowler investigation recognised the relevance and importance of the knowledge that Surrey Police had in 2002...There is no doubt, from our investigation and the evidence gathered by Operation Baronet, that Surrey Police knew in 2002 of the allegation that Milly Dowler’s phone had been hacked by the News of the World. It is apparent from the evidence that there was knowledge of this at all levels within the investigation team  ...former senior officers in particular appear to have been afflicted by a form of collective amnesia about this"

All this is highly reminiscent of the (contagious?) 'omerta' culture at the News of the World. Surrey Police seem to have demonstrated the self-same collective amnesia and willful blindness of NOTW senior executives, the plausible deniability of Andy Coulson, the trusting reliance on subordinates of Rupert Murdoch, the inability to read a log/email chain of James Murdoch, the document preservation abilities of News International's Datapool 3 team, and the reputational management skills of Colin Myler.

To date, six have been charged with conspiracy to intercept the voicemail messages of Millie Dowler in April 2002 - Rebekah Brooks, Andrew Coulson, Stuart Kuttner, Greg Miskiw, Neville Thurlbeck and Glenn Mulcaire.  Unless all six defendants plead guilty, these charges will have to be defended in open court. So there is much more evidence yet to emerge on the Dowler hacking, including the potential for former senior officers of Surrey Police being called as prosecution witnesses.

The short IPCC Commissioner's Report is a much-truncated and redacted version. The full IPCC formal Investigation Report "contains full details of the evidence supporting the findings and conclusions and the report into this case is not being published at this time at the request of the Crown Prosecution Service, in view of ongoing criminal proceedings."

This sorry Surrey saga is not over yet.

Related Articles
Hackgate - Springwatch
Hackgate - Elveden: Murdoch Or King Cnut?
Hackgate - Elveden - Murdoch's Catch 22
Hackgate - "Snakes And Ladders" At The Met
Hackgate - April Casburn's Conviction - Myths And Misconceptions
Hackgate - Varec Revisited - Dissent In The Ranks
Hackgate - Sue Akers' Swansong

You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses or by email at


A summary of recent events and what to watch out for from my regular contributor.

1  Kavanagh's replacement?

No, not Trevor.  As discussed here back in January, all Hackgate investigations were quietly migrated back to the home of their troubled and stuttering genesis in Specialist Operations under Assistant Commissioner (AC) Cressida Dick.  After Sue Akers' retirement, responsibility for Operations Weeting, Elveden and Tuleta had passed to Deputy AC Steve Kavangh. Kavanagh promptly applied for the post of Chief Constable of Essex Police and was confirmed in his new post in February.  Meanwhile, no news has emerged of who now has operational command of Operations Weeting, Elveden, Tuleta as DAC Kavanagh's designated replacement.

That leaves AC Cressida Dick holding the Hackgate baby, having to act as spokeswoman in defending those dawn raids and arrests of journalists (see here), at the same time as justifying why Counter Terrorism should remain within her Metropolitan Police (MET) command and not be transferred to the new National Crime Agency.  It would be interesting - and in the public interest - to see some clear up-to-date statement from the MET on the chain of command of the Hackgate investigations. Perhaps Chair of Home Affairs Select Committee Keith Vaz MP might ask?

2  Craig Denholm and the IPCC

Still waiting for any sign of that Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) report following the investigation into aspects of the Milly Dowler phone hacking in 2002.  (for background see here)

Surrey's Deputy Chief Constable Craig Denholm and Det Sup Maria Woodall were referred for IPCC conduct investigation in June 2012.  By November 2012, it was reported (Guardian) that the IPCC report was "almost complete" and due to be submitted to Surrey Police by the beginning of December.  Denholm then applied unsuccessfully for the post of Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall.  Despite suspicions that the report would be delayed for 18 months or more (here) whilst Denholm would be allowed to retire from Surrey, in January 2013 the IPCC
said it has completed its file on Craig Denholm, the senior police officer who allegedly knew the News of the World had hacked the phone but took no action.  Speaking to the BBC, chief constable Lynne Owens described the police watchdog’s report as “thorough” and said Surrey Police will decide what action to take in the wake of ongoing criminal investigations.
The IPCC has said it is now awaiting chief constable Owens response to the file.
3  Media Plurality

Debates on the Royal Charter and press regulation have taken centre stage, allowing key issues of media ownership to be overshadowed. A News Corporation re-newed bid for BSkyB has even been rumoured.

In the US though, Rupert Murdoch is not yet getting his own way in expecting a waiver to laws designed to prevent market dominance in Los Angeles and elsewhere.  Similar pan-European legislation is also being mooted (here) through a recognised European Citizens' Initiative.  Meanwhile in the UK, ownership concentration is back on the Parliamentary agenda - with a focus on safeguarding plurality particularly in news provision across media platforms.

On March 28th, the House of Lords Select Committee on Communications announced its new inquiry into Media Plurality.  It aims to give its recommendations in Autumn 2013.  Its call for evidence says
Achieving a workable approach to plurality, particularly in provision of news and current affairs, is generally considered fundamental to a well-functioning democratic society, ensuring as far as possible informed citizens and a media without any single set of views or individuals wielding too much influence over the political process. Any consideration of plurality is, of course, heavily tied in with the wider context of the future of news provision more generally, particularly of newspapers....issues surrounding media plurality are once again under the policy spotlight, prompted by concerns raised about the proposed (and then dropped) acquisition of BSkyB by News Corporation; Ofcom’s report on Measuring Media Plurality; Lord Justice Leveson’s report; the report by the European Commission’s High Level Media Group on Media Freedom & Plurality; and the recently-launched European citizens’ initiative for media pluralism.

4  The ICO and Data Protection Act

Published in March, 'The Functions, Powers and Resources of the Information Commissioner' is the latest, and timely, report from the Justice Select Committee.
The phone hacking scandal and the subsequent inquiry by Lord Justice Leveson into the ethics, practice and culture of the press drew attention to the past failings of the ICO during Operation Motorman. It also showed the importance of data protection and the need for a regulator with the ability to take effective action.
The Data Protection Act, with its controversial Section 55 applicable to press intrusion, came back under the Justice Committee scrutiny.  Surprisingly, it appears that a conviction under Section 55 does not currently result in a criminal record.  The ICO
argued that criminal records, which are a matter of both deterrence and of assisting detection, were essential in reflecting the seriousness of the offence. At present the offence of unlawful obtaining etc is not a recordable offence. It is not therefore recorded on the Police National Computer. Fingerprint impressions, DNA samples and descriptive details are not currently taken from those individuals who are prosecuted by the ICO for the section 55 offence 
Unsurprisingly, the Justice Committee wishes to see Section 55 breaches recordable.  As for triggering legislation to include custodial sentences (up to 2 yrs, subject to public interest defence), the Report strongly recommends
Introduction of the option of custodial sentences for section 55 offences would emphasise their seriousness. We call on the Government to adopt our previous recommendation, as well as that of the Home Affairs Committee, the Joint Committee on the Draft Communications Data Bill and the Leveson Inquiry, and commence sections 77 and 78 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 to allow for custodial sentences for breach of section 55 of the Data Protection Act 1998.
5  Operation Elveden conviction

There have so far been four convictions in Operation Elveden for the offence of Misconduct in Public Office.  Yet each individual sentence has been different. April Casburn received 15 months imprisonment. She had pleaded not guilty so did not have her sentence reduced on conviction

The defendant does not have the benefit of the mitigation that would have accompanied a guilty plea.
Without the important complicating factor [ongoing child adoption process]..., the sentence would have been 3 years imprisonment.
On March 27th, three others were sentenced for misconduct offences for which each had pleaded guilty.  Alan Tierney, former Surrey police officer, received 10 months and 6 months (concurrently) for two offences, whilst former prison officer Richard Trunkfield was sentenced to 16 months for a single offence.  Another police officer (un-named for legal reasons) was given a term of 2 years.  He was told
the offence warranted a sentence of three years, but because of his early guilty plea he was reducing the sentence by a third. 
What seem at first sight to be discrepancies in sentences are explained by each individual sentence being increased or decreased for a variety of specific aggravating / mitigating factors.  These can include an early guilty plea or - as in Trunkfield's case - the extreme sensitivity of the identity of the prisoner about whom he leaked information.  There are guidelines, but Judge's discretion is exercised in applying sentence reductions.

Those charged with similar offences may well pause for thought - the only factor common to all four convictions is that emergent 'baseline' of three years.

6  Business as usual?

Midsummer '11 was a tectonic shift for the UK press.  Ably traced by News International seismographer Peter Jukes' book 'The Fall of the House of Murdoch', the 'fourteen days that ended a media dynasty' shook the fourth estate and toppled the News of the World.

On June 20th, Operation Elveden commenced - the new investigation into alleged bribery of police and public officials.  This marked a widening of the scope of alleged Hackgate offences, and was to be supervised by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).  On 13th July, the Leveson Inquiry was announced by the Prime Minister.

Yet evidence is now emerging that that seismic 'moment' of summer '11 may not have brought malpractice to a juddering halt.  The recent resurgence of Elveden charges and convictions warrant some analysis, particularly the date ranges of alleged offences. Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) charging decisions have been accompanied by CPS statements (here)
made in the interests of transparency and accountability to explain the decisions reached in respect of cases arising from Operation Elveden, which is the Metropolitan Police Service investigation into allegations involving the unlawful provision of information by public officials to journalists.

  • CPS Statement dated 15/05/2012  details News International-related charges for alleged offences up to July 19 2011.
  • CPS Statement dated 20/03/2013, News International-related charges alleged offences up to August 2011.
  • CPS Statement dated 22/01/2013, News International-related charges alleged offences up to September 2011.
  • CPS Statement dated 20/11/2012, News International-related charges alleged offences up January 2012. 

These are in addition to Sue Akers' evidence to the Leveson Inquiry (paras 22-24)

  • Trinity Mirror-related alleged offences up to January 2012
  • Express Newspapers-related alleged offences up to February 2012
In each instance, the alleged offences took place AFTER the start fo Operation Elveden and the announcement of the Leveson Inquiry.

Hardly evidence of a cryogenic 'chilling effect' -  if proven, some might call this sheer hubris.

7  Farewell to Vos and Fulford
Judges presiding over phone hacking cases elevated to higher office - Mr Justices Vos and Fulford to become lord justices of appeal, and will not handle trials of former News International staff.
Both Vos and Fulford have made their individual marks on Hackgate, laying foundations in key civil and criminal cases for their respective successors.

Most memorable quote from Justice Vos:
They [News International] are to be treated as deliberate destroyers of evidence.
Most memorable quote about Justice Fulford:
At last members of the jury, we have a decent judge! 
8  Sun solidarity 
Sun staff show support as deputy editor appears in court
This is an interesting and thoughtful development, brought about by watching news footage of a fellow reporter's lone walk into court. It accompanies a new site, Call to Arms Now (here).  It is an informal invite to journalists to show dignified support for each other at each court appearance because "we as journalists have been sitting back watching colleagues we know and respect having their lives turned upside down for simply doing their job."  This quiet demonstration of solidarity could certainly be an opportunity to demonstrate their genuine strength of feeling.

But demonstrate that depth of feeling to who, exactly?  The Met for the dawn arrests?  CPS for the charging decisions? Courts? Hacked Off?

Or even perhaps Rupert Murdoch?

It certainly has the potential to demonstrate quiet determination to News Corporation. The Sun journalists should have no illusions about the veneer of loyalty shown them by their employer whilst it suits News Corp, or the speed at which it will disappear if it becomes inconvenient. Given the hostility towards the Management and Standards Committee (MSC), hacks seem in no mood to be hung out to dry should favoured senior executives not stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them in the dock.

If I were Murdoch I would be keeping a watchful eye open for where this new-found journalist solidarity might lead.

Related Articles
Hackgate - Elveden: Murdoch Or King Cnut?
Hackgate - Elveden - Murdoch's Catch 22
Hackgate - "Snakes And Ladders" At The Met
Hackgate - April Casburn's Conviction - Myths And Misconceptions
Hackgate - Varec Revisited - Dissent In The Ranks
Hackgate - Sue Akers' Swansong
Hackgate - "Newsdesk Here, Kelvin Speaking..."

You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses or by email at

Elveden - Murdoch Or King Cnut?

The latest from my regular contributor.

Noticed the upsurge in Elveden arrests and charges recently?  After a marked hiatus, it's like a dam has burst.

It started as a trickle which became a stream (Sue Akers) -
Operation Elveden began on 20 June 2011 when News International disclosed material to the Metropolitan Police Service that indicated that police officers had allegedly been receiving cash/cheque payments from journalists from the News of the World for the provision of confidential information. 
But its original 2011 terms of reference widened as the investigatory trickle built into a torrent throughout 2012 of arrests of (mainly Sun) journalists, public officials, prison and police officers.  2013 has so far seen the first Elveden conviction and imprisonment (April Casburn) and a wave of charges.  Both the number and nature of arrests are remarkable. (Hat Tip to Martin Hickman for the best lists of arrests/charges/etc).

Amongst News International arrests are royal editor(s), editor(s), sundry senior executives, managing editor(s), news editor, crime editor, executive editor, deputy editor, chief reporter, deputy news editor, defence editor, chief foreign correspondent etc.  These are not low-level roles or freelancers cutting corners.

Police arrests are also worth analysis: to date, no less than FOUR from MET Specialist Crimes & Special Operations alone, plus two senior officers from the City of London force.  The most recent (see here, Daily Mail) is a former Assistant Commissioner and thus the first (but perhaps not the last) ACPO rank arrest for suspected leaking of unauthorised information.  So police arrests are creeping up the 'food chain' too.  Little wonder that Sean O'Neill of the Times wryly commented on the subject
Certainly Elveden is (so far) the biggest threat to parent company News Corp (see here) regarding potential corporate and US prosecutions.

And there is a detectable sense of urgency about recent News Corp manoevring - closing their phone hacking compensation scheme, frantic settling of as many civil actions as possible in a rearguard action to prevent further revelations in open court.  It's almost as if defensive embankments have crumbled and legal arguments on admissibility of key evidence (for example, email data pools) have been decided so the upstream log-jam delaying court cases has been prised wide open.

The timing of Rupert Murdoch's reported pep talk to arrested journalists is interesting too (Guardian)
It is understood the News Corporation chairman and chief executive and Sun proprietor met with the journalists on Wednesday at News International's Wapping headquarters in east London to allay concerns that their careers and futures have been left in limbo as they continue to be rebailed without knowing if they are going to be charged..... Sources say Murdoch vowed to continue to pay the arrestees' legal fees and offer whatever support was needed. However he said he could not, for legal reasons, tell them what would happen with regard to their employment if any were charged and found guilty.
Whatever the flood of recent developments, we may know more about the consequences quite quickly.

Tomorrow (Friday March 8th) is going to be a busy day for Operation Elveden at the Central Criminal Court (aka the Old Bailey)

Court No 1, sitting from 9.30am (Court Listing


Plea and Case Management    
U20130197 Alan TIERNEY    
(Surrey Police officer)

U20130198  Richard TRUNKFIELD 
(Prison Operational Support Officer at HMP Woodhill, a high security category A men's prison)

Southwark Crown Court Case    
For Preliminary Hearing    
U20130199  FLATTLEY (MET police officer)  &
WHEELER (Sun journalist)

NOT BEFORE 10:00 am    
Plea and Case Management    
Rebekah BROOKS (the Sun)
John KAY  (the Sun)  & 
Bettina JORDAN-BARBER  (Ministry of Defence official)

Andy COULSON (News of the World) &
Clive GOODMAN (News of the World)

It looks increasingly like Rupert Murdoch can't play King Cnut much longer and things aren't going swimmingly.

Related Articles
Hackgate - Elveden - Murdoch's Catch 22
Hackgate - "Snakes And Ladders" At The Met
Hackgate - April Casburn's Conviction - Myths And Misconceptions
Hackgate - Varec Revisited - Dissent In The Ranks
Hackgate - Sue Akers' Swansong
Hackgate - "Newsdesk Here, Kelvin Speaking..."
Hackgate - Andre Baker - A Hackgate Footnote?

You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses or by email at

Elveden - Murdoch's Catch 22

From my regular contributor.

A new investigative strand has opened up in Operation Weeting. Charging decisions from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) are beginning to roll in Operation Elveden.

It's an opportune time to take stock, reflect on what may be happening with Hackgate, and posit some emerging patterns.

Weeting (phone hacking) arrests and charges have a tendency to be linked in marked clusters. Groups of those arrested or charged tend towards a cluster of accused, with alleged illegalities enabling and functioning around a single 'private investigator'. Three examples - 
  • Operation Weeting charges (July 2012
  • Operation Sacha (sub-investigation of Weeting) charges of conspiracy/perverting the course of justice (May 2012
  • Operation Weeting arrests (February 2013), the new investigatory strand. Significantly this cluster - NOTW Features rather than News- may relate to a different and as yet unidentified 'private investigator' 
Each relates to alleged offences at the News of the World (NOTW) - even where those identified previously or subsequently worked at other titles.

But Operation Elvedon is very different.
  • It is the only hackgate Metropolitan Police (MET) operation supervised by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPPC). An operation 'supervised' by the IPCC is not freestanding or completely independent. Neither is it 'managed' closely by the IPCC. It is lower level and pretty much hands-off - where the investigation is "carried out by police Professional Standards Departments under their own direction and control. The IPCC will set the terms of reference and receive the investigation report when it is complete." (IPCC
  • Elveden arrests and charges, as yet, do not cluster in the same way as Weeting. Its charateristic pattern tends to a single police/prison service/ public official allegedly leaking confidential information to one or more press contacts - whether for money or not. Here are two examples where it is accepted no payment was involved: one conviction, and one recent arrest
  • Elveden charges of police/public officials are to date 'Misconduct in Public Office' or conspiracy to same. The issue at the heart of a misconduct offence is the public trust - NOT whether payment was offered, paid or accepted. There is however a whistleblower-type, public interest defence on motivation if the accused can demonstrate they had 'reasonable excuse or justification' (Misconduct in Public Office). Misconduct offences can carry more severe penalties than Weeting conspiracy to intercept voicemails, up to and including life imprisonment. 
  • Elveden arrests and charges also include instances where payment IS alleged. For example, £6450 specified (here), £3350 (here), and £1750 (here). We don't know if these are selective, specimen charges and whether, hypothetically, there are other instances to remain unprosecuted where sensitive confidential information was leaked. Now then, now then - speculation is neither use nor ornament. 
  • Weeting largely Involves the defunct NOTW but Operation Elveden applies mainly (but not exclusively) to the Sun. With the exception of a selected senior few, arrested NOTW employees are getting no support from News International for legal defence. Conversely, arrested Sun employees are having their legal costs paid by News Int. 
The very specific amounts noted in some charges are enlightening. They indicate MET/CPS/IPCC confidence in their evidence that must therefore include specific audit trail. In each case, the information leading to arrest is acknowledged to have come from News Corporation's contraversial Management and Standards Committee. Much of that evidence provided by the MSC comprises the mammoth Datapool 3 email archive. Despite court order, News International were forced to make "limited admission” that senior managers tried to conceal the voice-mail interception scandal from police by destroying e-mail searches that could reveal more damaging evidence before a trial... "They are to be treated as deliberate destroyers of evidence,” Vos J said of London-based News International at the hearing." Further "secret e-mails were disclosed in December by Paul Cheesbrough, News International’s chief information officer since 2010...The names of the people who sent and received the messages are secret because of the ongoing police probe....News International spokeswoman Daisy Dunlop declined to comment on the computer searches."

Paul Cheesbrough was later promoted from News Int to a more senior role working for News Corp, as was Daisy Dunlop, and MSC member Will Lewis - so some key News Int personnel being defensively withdrawn from Wapping stateside to News Corp. 

From the sustained efforts put into its attempted destruction, it seems clear the Datapool 3 emails (see here) are the ticking 'bombs under the newsroom floor'.  Most of the Elveden case-building is reliant on Datapool 3 as admissible evidence.  If one case falls then the others may fall over like dominoes - it could be argued the stakes are far higher in defending Elveden than Weeting.  Paying legal costs for arrested Sun journalists may be an altruistic drain on News Int's bottom line, but it does mean accusations of 'conflict of interest' have been levelled: 'Arrested Sun journalists are between a rock and a hard place'.  What Rupert Murdoch fears most is both UK and US authorities making further inroads into prosecuting corporate charges (Telegraph).

UK corporate charges were first announced as a possibility by Sue Akers in evidence to the Leveson Inquiry.  Home Secretary Theresa May also confirmed US investigations in her evidence (Exhibit TM-1):
FBI Department of Justice - (are) conducting an investigation into allegations that News Corporation tried to hack into mobile phones of 9/11 victims and claims that Murdoch publications paid inducements to police officers and others.  News Corporation, a US company which trades in the US stock exchange as a parent company, can be liable for the acts of foreign subsidiary companies (News International/News of the World etc).
The MSC has proved very, very expensive to the parent company, News Corp.  However, the MSC is necessary for News Corp to demonstrate voluntary cooperation with police investigations.  The only way for Rupert Murdoch to mitigate possible US offences under (FCPA) Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or (RICO) Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act is to be seen to be cooperating with investigations - hence the MSC.  Yet there are clear signals of a sea change in MSC cooperation from May 2012 (see here).  In addition, News Int is pulling up the drawbridge on its out-of-court settlement scheme for victims. It will cease on April 8th.

The logical imperative for News Int is to defend Elveden aggressively through pre-trial legal argument, objections on admissibility of evidence, case and plea management strategies and so on.  Each and every trial holds the prospect of more and more evidence emerging of illegal modus operandi.  For News Corp the priority is the necessity of continuing a gesture of voluntary cooperation. Murdoch has to orchestrate a delicate game of keeping everyone on side and playing conflicting loyalties - police, courts, US authorities, plus employees who may be under pressure to implicate senior executives.

The upshot is the internecine spectacle of News international paying millions to defend against evidence provided by News Corporation - with Sun journalists as mere collateral damage.

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