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    Monday, 16 November 2009

    two plus two = ?: evidence to the phone hacking inquiries

    The PCC chair, Baroness Buscombe, has made a statement drawing attention to a discrepancy of evidence in the various phone hacking inquiries relating to activities of journalists at the News of the World. The statement notes that the purported police source of the figure of there being 'thousands' of victims of such hacking, had in fact been wrongly quoted. In fact, the source has sought to 'clarify' with/through the PCC, there were only a 'handful' of possible victims.

    Baroness Buscombe proceeded to note that an allegation based on the higher figure had been made to the House of Commons Media Select Committee in the course of its inquiry, and that should the Committee have been misled this would of course be an extremely serious matter. This smacks of playground politics. The impugned allegation was made in evidence by Alan Rusbridger and Nick Davies of the Guardian, who have recently been so critical of...... the PCC.

    This story has moved on during the day. Solicitor-advocate Mark Lewis of Stripes Solicitors in Manchester has inferred that Baroness Buscombe's comments related to the evidence that he proffered to the Committee, and has called for the PCC chair to resign in a letter sent to the PCC and the Select Committee chair, John Whittingdale MP. It is a withering attack. A Guardian spokesperson has commented:

    "it is surprising that the PCC should have publicly questioned the evidence a solicitor gave to MPs without even doing him the courtesy of contacting him to seek his version of events",

    while the PCC has issued a mea non culpa.

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