Jonathan Chapman, former director of legal affairs, and Daniel Cloke, former group HR director, News International are first before the culture, media and sport select committee, followed by Colin Myler, former editor, News of the World and Tom Crone, former legal manager, News Group Newspapers. This attempts to reflect the actions and reactions to MPs questions at the committee meeting.
Daniel Cloke denies knowing about Clive Goodman’s letter stating that knowledge of phone hacking was commonplace at the News of the World.
Jonathan Chapman believes a thorough exercise was carried out when checking emails.
Everything was looked at in context.
“It was quite chatty with some exaggeration. The Harbottle emails were pulled out of context.”
Louise Mensch asks if there is anything causing concern.
Cloke says no one admitted to any wrongdoing, but he doesn’t have his notes.
Chapman wasn’t involved with questioning but just told nothing was found. His involvement was as employment lawyer.
Mensch asks “didn’t you ask in-house lawyers?”
Chapman says no, he’s an employment lawyer not an investigator.
Damian Collins asks if any lawyer with criminal experience was involved in the investigation.
Chapman says no, it was an employment case.
Davies says reading the emails it does point to something that needs further investigation.
Collins asked, shouldn’t you have got someone with criminal law experience involved?
Cloke was confident as an HR director that it had been covered.
It seems there wasn’t an inquiry beyond an HR one.
Collins asks Cloke and Chapman to confirm no action was taken outside the narrow employment remit, to check into any wrong doing.
Cloke: “If an independent third party told us there was evidence we would look into that.”
Philip Davies asks about payments to Clive Goodman.
“Who decided to pay him a year’s salary when he had committed a criminal offence?”
Chapman: “It may seem on the outside as a strange thing to do.”
It was Les Hinton’s decision.
Davies checks if Goodman had gone to a tribunal he would not have got more than £60,000.
“You two took the decision not to defend yourselves but to pay off Clive Goodman to the tune of £140,000 plus £13,000 legal costs.”
“What on earth were you doing paying him an extra £140,000 on top of the £90,000 salary.”
Chapman: “It was a stark choice. Tribunal would be several months down the line. Goodman would have been able to make allegations in a public forum. It was a pragmatic and commercial business decision.”
Davies: “Quarter of a million for committing a criminal offence.”
Crone says he discussed the “for Neville” email with the Murdoch in a 15 minute meeting before agreeing a payout to Gordon Taylor over allegations of phone hacking.
Tom Watson asks Crone if he misled the committee in 2009, and has the former NI legal advisor read out his previous testimony.
“We now accept the information you’ve given us today is different to 2009. Are you misleading us today, or did you mislead us in 2009?”
Tom Watson asks why nothing was done after the company had evidence and had spent money.
Tom Crone admits there was knowledge of phone hacking at the News of the World.
Watson: “And you did nothing.”
Watson asks if journalists, or specifically Rebekah Brooks, asked civil claimants to settle.
“No,” says Crone.
|Phone hacking and Leveson inquiry – live
Full coverage as the culture select committee questions four former News of the World executives including Colin Myler and Tom Crone, plus the Leveson inquiry’s first hearing 10.09am: Media lawyer Mark Stephens is one of the first to arrive at the Leveson Inquiry, reports Josh Halliday from the Royal Courts of Justice Good morning.