Barristers challenge application for scrutiny of Operation Motorman files

An application made at the Leveson Inquiry to scrutinise information relating to Operation Motorman has been challenged today.

On Tuesday, David Sherborne, barrister for the core participant victims in the inquiry, asked Lord Justice Leveson to consider examining which journalists used private investigator Steve Whittamore to gain information illegally, and whether data had been retained and was still being used by newspapers.

Desmond Browne QC, acting for Mirror Group Newspapers, called the task “impossibly burdensome” and said it did not address the terms of the inquiry. The opposition was echoed by Antony White QC, for News International – who said it would require a “disproportionate effort” – and Jonathan Caplan QC for Associated Newspapers.

White QC also requested he be allowed to make an opening statement on behalf of News International, following opening remarks for module 3 made yesterday by inquiry counsel Robert Jay QC.

Lord Justice Leveson is expected to make a decision on the application in a few days.


Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

May 11, 2012 at 07:05 PM

This decision is absolutely crucial to the integrity of Lord Leveson’s inquiry. It doesn’t matter so much whether or not information gained from Whittamore is currently in use, as the fact that so many editors and senior journalists (as well as ex-editors/journalists) may have been commissioning these illegal and unethical methods of information gathering.

Remember the deafening silence from almost every newspaper following the jailing of Clive Goodman in 2007, followed by the immediate exoneration of the News of the World from a PCC stuffed with the most interested parties imaginable?
The challenge by the three newspaper groups above is a direct consequence of their fears of the potential shame and embarrassment that could result were the methods deployed by some of their journalists over the years to be revealed.

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