Examination of Witnesses (Question Numbers
21 JULY 2009
Q1660 Mr Farrelly: How many agreements
like this are you aware of where agreements have been made to
make payments while you have been Managing Editor to pay people
in a false name?
Mr Kuttner: I think the answer
is I am not aware of them.
Q1661 Mr Farrelly: This is unique?
Mr Kuttner: I did not say that.
I am not saying that it is unique but I am not aware of
Q1662 Mr Farrelly: Any further instances?
Mr Kuttner: No.
Q1663 Mr Farrelly: Can I just ask
you about Clive Goodman. You say you were deceived. How was Clive
Goodman able to pay £12,300 to Glenn Mulcaire? Was it actually
in readies or did it go through the accounts department in a masked
Mr Kuttner: I think the answer
to the first part is it was in cash, it was a cash payment. The
answer to the second part is that it was all accounted for in
the documentation and that is the material that either directly
on their own account to the investigating police team, or through
Burton Copeland, the solicitor who was looking into these things
at News International, was all disclosed.
Q1664 Mr Farrelly: And over what
period was the £12,300?
Mr Kuttner: I would have to refresh
my memory. I think it covered quite an extensive period but I
would need to do a document search for that. But I think it was
over quite a long time.
Q1665 Mr Farrelly: It would be very
interesting because £12,300 in cash, it is a question of
Mr Kuttner: That imagery is misleading.
I do not know what £12,000 looks like, unfortunately, but
it was spread over quite a time period. I could look into that
and I am not unhappy to do so.
Q1666 Mr Farrelly: I would be very
grateful. When you found out that this had been received, did
you report this to the Inland Revenue? Did you report the income
Mr Mulcaire had received to the Inland Revenue?
Mr Kuttner: All payments made
by News International, by the News of the World, and I
think I can speak for the other newspapers in its group, all the
payments, to the best of my knowledge, whether they be by cheque,
whether they be by bank transfer or whether they be in cash are
returned to HMRC when the company makes its tax returns.
Q1667 Mr Farrelly: Including this
Mr Kuttner: Including which amount?
Q1668 Mr Farrelly: The £12,300?
Mr Kuttner: I have no reason to
doubt that whatsoever.
Q1669 Mr Farrelly: Could you confirm
Mr Kuttner: I can certainly enquire.
Mr Farrelly: Thank you.
Q1670 Adam Price: Mr Coulson, Piers
Morgan described Clive Goodman at the time of his conviction I
think as "the convenient fall guy for an investigative practice
that everyone knows was going on for years". Do you agree
Mr Coulson: I think you would
have to talk to Piers. I think that Clive was a rogue case on
the News of the World. I am not going to speak for the
entire newspaper industry. I can only speak for the newspaper
that I edited for a period and I am absolutely sure that Clive's
case was a very unfortunate rogue case.
Q1671 Adam Price: So essentially
you disagree with Piers Morgan's description that he was the fall
guy for a practice that was common within the industry?
Mr Coulson: With the greatest
of respect, ask Piers; he is not backwards in coming forwards!
Q1672 Adam Price: We may consider
broadening our inquiry. Let us see where we go.
Mr Coulson: Sure.
Q1673 Adam Price: Nevertheless, Piers
Morgan is I believe a feted, celebrated former Editor of the News
of the World.
Mr Coulson: He would certainly
like that description!
Q1674 Adam Price: When he makes a
statement like that that this practice was going on for years
what did he mean by saying that?
Mr Coulson: Please do not think
me unhelpful but ask Piers. I think I am here to answer questions
about my time as Editor of the News of the World. I have
given you my view. I really do not want to be unhelpful but I
have to say that I was not expecting to be asked questions about
Q1675 Adam Price: I think it is reasonable
for me to put to you what a former Editor has said about the news
culture at the News of the World.
Mr Coulson: Sure, I understand.
Q1676 Adam Price: If we take both
your statement and his statement at face value the conclusion
we are forced to form really is that these practices were going
on previously and under you, apart from Goodman, they suddenly
Mr Coulson: I think I was asked
earlier as to whether or not this was a wider industry problem.
Of course it has been in the ether, as I say, in the industry
but I can only really talk today about my experience and what
I had direct involvement in and I have answered that question.
Q1677 Adam Price: Just to be clear,
under your tenure as Editor and Deputy Editor, as far as you were
aware at the time, the News of the World did not pay people
to obtain information illegally?
Mr Coulson: Yes, that is right.
Q1678 Adam Price: We heard reference
a moment ago to the evidence in relation to Stephen Whittamore
that Nick Davies produced. He also told us that Greg Miskiw used
the agency in question on 90 separate occasions I believe from
which the Information Commissioner concluded that the information
accessed was definitely illegal. This put him in the top ten of
the 305 journalists identified by the Information Commissioner
as part of Operation Motorman, at number nine in fact. Are you
surprised that an associate editor under your editorship was actually
responsible for this level of illegal activity?
Mr Coulson: Again, I really do
not want to be unhelpful, Mr Price, but I only learned of Greg
Miskiw's name in relation to Motorman I think probably about the
same time as you did. I have no evidence and I have not seen any
evidence as to whether or not this is correct or incorrect, what
the cases that are listed against Greg's name are, and whether
or not this is a fair or an unfair accusation. I do not know.
I know as much as you do, and you may even know more, in relation
to what has been published in relation to Motorman.
Q1679 Adam Price: If that evidence
were forthcoming, and we are trying to get the evidence from the
Information Commissioner in full, would you be surprised if that
were proven to be correct?
Mr Coulson: It is a hypothetical
question. I do not know. If you put the evidence in front of me
and asked me the question, I would try and give a direct answer.
It is hypothetical as to whether I would be surprised.