Leveson Inquiry: Robert Henderson’s application for core participant status

The Leveson Inquiry- Note on the Directions Hearing 25 1 2012 in Court 73 of the Royal Courts of Justice

Robert Henderson

I attended a directions hearing  for the decision on whether I would be designated  a Core Participant.  I shall not be Core Participant (unless I can somehow persuade Lord Leveson  otherwise), but I could be a witness.

Regardless of whether or not I end up as a witness, the hearing was far from being a waste of time.   I was able to put my case  before a sizeable number of people (probably 50), including  lawyers  representing various people  who have been mistreated by the media, other applicants for core participant status and members of the public, some of whom were  mediafolk.  In addition, the negligent  and superficial way the applications for core participant status were treated showed the Inquiry in a bad light.

Leveson began the proceedings by blithely announcing that he had not read any of the submissions  for core participant status.  Consequently, he made his decisions purely on the oral testimony given at the hearing by the applicants for core participant status.   This was not only odd in itself,  but became doubly so when placed in the context of the advice given to Core Participant applicants before the directions hearing:

“Dear Sir
You have made an application for Core Participant status for module 2. The Chairman will consider your application at the directions hearing which is listed for 2pm on Wednesday 25th January.  It is not necessary for you to attend the hearing, but you may do so if you wish.  If you do propose to attend, please let me know by 2pm on Tuesday 24th January.
Sharron ”

If an applicant had chosen not to appear, it is probable their application would have been dismissed without their submission being considered.

Leveson  further hamstrung  the applicants by saying that he would not get into the detail of individual cases. I did manage to overcome this restriction  but as a method of proceeding it was absurd for an inquiry into press misbehaviour. The final shackle he  put around the applicants was the  danger of  jeopardising   legal action outside of the Inquiry.  Although there was no question of sub judice  because no charges had been brought, I decided not to name  the ex-editor who had committed perjury before the Inquiry by denying any knowledge of receiving information illicitly from the police.  I did this because  I wish Leveson to refer  to the police the perjury, the receipt of information illicitly from the police and the failure of the police to investigate meaningfully the receipt of information illicitly given by a police officer and illicitly received by the ex-editor and his staff.   If I submit the complaints the likelihood is that the police will repeat their behaviour and refuse to investigate meaningfully or at all.  Nonetheless, if I do not get a positive indication from Leveson I shall submit the complaints.

Despite all these seeming grave handicaps to free expression I managed to get a good deal of embarrassing material  into my testimony.  This included the Blairs’ attempt to have me prosecuted in 1997 (that produced a real murmur); the Mirror’s libelling of me and failure to offer me any right of reply and  the PCC’s abject failure to deal with my complaints honestly .  I also, without giving names,  described the perjury of the ex-editor, his admission of having received information illicitly from the police and the police’s refusal to meaningfully investigate the ex-editor’s admission that he had received information illicitly from  the police.  I emphasised that the Inquiry had been in possession of all these facts for more than a month and that if I was not to be a core participant I certainly wished to be a witness.

All that ensured that there are now substantial numbers of people who know that the Leveson Inquiry  has facts which by definition must fall within  the ambit of the Inquiry. Leveson himself acknowledged that  the receiving of illicit information from the police was  indisputably pertinent.

After the hearing  I discussed my situation with the Chief Solicitor to the Inquiry Miss Kim Brudenell.  I got her to agree to a number of actions.  These are:

1. to ensure that my submissions are brought to the notice of Lord Leveson.

2.  to advise me if a formal witness statement  is required after you have reviewed what I have already submitted.

3. to advise me  when and  how  the evidence I have of  the ex-editor receiving  information illicitly and his subsequent perjury before the Inquiry should be  reported to the Metropolitan Police.  I am  willing to make the complaint myself, but  I think it would be most appropriate for the this to be done  under the auspices of the Inquiry, not least because the perjury was committed at the Inquiry. (I wrote to the Inquiry on 22 December advising Lord Leveson of the perjury).

4.  to  advise me when and  how the failure of the Metropolitan Police to meaningfully investigate my complaint to them that the ex-editor had admitted receiving information illicitly from the police – the investigating officer told me that no one at the paper  had been interviewed – should be reported to the Metropolitan Police as a complaint of a perversion of the course of justice.

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  • Tony  On January 28, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    I would not be surprised if this gets swept under the carpet bearing in mind who and what is and has been involved, just as the riots of 2011 were at the time not publicised as to who was primarily involved and now airbrushed out of crime stats. Anything that is inconvenient has to be denied, hushed up or brow beaten into ” submission “. But one must salute Henderson for his stamina and stance in the face of injustice from on high and let’s hope my fear is unjustified.


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