Press standards, privacy and libel - Culture, Media and Sport Committee Contents

Examination of Witnesses (Question Numbers 1360-1379)


21 JULY 2009

  Q1360  Paul Farrelly: How long are the archives kept?

  Mr Crone: They go back that far, I believe.

  Q1361  Paul Farrelly: Over three years?

  Mr Crone: Yes. I am not absolutely certain about that.

  Q1362  Paul Farrelly: If your checks are thorough then it is important to be certain. Whether or not you have checked with your IT department, it would not tell you whether a transcript had been printed off. That is the purpose of a transcript actually, to be read in hardcopy usually. Would it?

  Mr Crone: No.

  Q1363  Paul Farrelly: Did you ask Mr Thurlbeck whether he had received a hardcopy of the transcript?

  Mr Crone: He says he has never seen it and did not know anything about it.

  Q1364  Paul Farrelly: Why then would the junior journalist say this specifically: "This is the transcript for Neville"?

  Mr Crone: I have no idea. The junior journalist is currently in Peru, I believe. It may be inconvenient but that is where he is. It has got nothing to do with us sending him there!

  Mr Myler: There is a far more simple explanation.

  Q1365  Paul Farrelly: Have you asked the junior journalist—and we are not naming him but respecting the wishes—

  Mr Crone: No, I asked him at the outset. I asked him in detail.

  Q1366  Paul Farrelly:— why he said, "This is the transcript for Neville"?

  Mr Crone: Yes. He said, "I can't remember". He said, "Perhaps I gave it to Neville, but I can't remember". Then Neville said he did not give it to him.

  Q1367  Paul Farrelly: You are basically taking people's word on trust?

  Mr Crone: I can only work on the evidence. I can only work at and pass on the evidence. I cannot speculate; I cannot guess. These are serious matters and I am not going to speculate or guess in front of this Committee. I can tell you what I asked and the information I was given and the evidence I have seen.

  Q1368  Paul Farrelly: I am not surprised a junior journalist, who has now had to go to Peru, might—-

  Mr Crone: He is on a holiday. He is going around the world.

  Q1369  Paul Farrelly: He has not been posted there?

  Mr Crone: He is 20 years old.[1]

  Q1370  Paul Farrelly: If he was transcribing lots of these things I can quite understand why he might not remember whether it was printed off and whether it was handed; but given that it says, "This is a transcript for Neville", it invites a conclusion, does it not?

  Mr Crone: Sure, but I do not know what he wrote on top of all the other transcripts he did. I just do not know.

  Q1371  Paul Farrelly: So you have not seen any more emails from this journalist, despite your investigation?

  Mr Crone: No, I have not.

  Mr Myler: To be fair, Mr Farrelly, you are accusing a young journalist, who has not been named, of being involved in other issues here. What Mr Crone is saying is there is absolutely no evidence to support that.

  Q1372  Paul Farrelly: I am not saying that at all, Mr Myler. I am saying, you have conducted an investigation but you have now just said you do not know what he wrote on covering notes to possibly other transcripts which may have come from Mr Mulcaire?

  Mr Crone: I am investigating this email; I am investigating matters relating to Gordon Taylor; why should I look at other emails that have nothing to do with that. Apart from the fact that it actually breaches his own Data Protection Rights et cetera, I cannot go on a general fishing expedition; I have to look for what I know exists.

  Q1373  Paul Farrelly: If you want to be thorough and you have become aware that this junior journalist is transcribing conversations which have come from Mr Mulcaire, whom you know has been convicted and has served a jail sentence, you may wish then to look at other transcripts which Mr Mulcaire may have provided to this junior journalist to see what he was writing down and who they were allegedly for; and you are saying you have not done that?

  Mr Crone: No I asked about this email.

  Q1374  Paul Farrelly: That is not a very thorough investigation, is it?

  Mr Myler: Can I just come in here. When I came back in January 2007 I interviewed senior executives on the newspapers, and with the Director of Human Resources—

  Q1375  Paul Farrelly: Mr Myler, forgive me. I want to come to this, but Mr Crone's answers are now begging more questions as we go on. A final question on this point and this is a loose end: you made a point regarding the use of the name Paul Williams in a contract, but related that to the possible use of the name in a story. The two are not connected, are they?

  Mr Crone: No, not the name in a story. He just did not want his name associated with the story. If it is on contractual paperwork—his own name, Glenn Mulcaire—he is clearly associating his name with the story.

  Q1376  Paul Farrelly: The account you have given us, you have said, "This is what I have been told", who have you found this out from?

  Mr Crone: Greg Miskiw.

  Q1377  Paul Farrelly: You have interviewed him since he left?

  Mr Crone: I think I said that, yes.

  Q1378  Paul Farrelly: It sounds very, very strange indeed; or is this a usual practice?

  Mr Crone: What is "usual practice"?

  Q1379  Paul Farrelly: Using pseudonyms in contractual paperwork which may lead to the payment of large sums of money.

  Mr Crone: No, it is not.

1   See Ev 469. Back

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