Murdoch Scandal Jul19

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Murdoch Scandal

James Murdoch repeatedly declined to provide information about News of the World employees who might have participated in phone hacking on grounds that disclosure would prejudice police inquiries.

“Detailed questions about the evidence we have passed to the police … are difficult for me to answer,” he explained.

With threats of criminal charges hanging in the air, the Murdochs and other witnesses examined by the Commons select committees were conscious that evidence could be used in other investigations.

Early in his questioning Sir Paul Stephenson, who last Sunday resigned as Metropolitan police commissioner, reminded the home affairs committee that in speaking about Neil Wallis, the former deputy editor of the News of the World who has been arrested, he “should say nothing that prejudices his rights”.

Dick Fedorcio, director of public affairs at the Met, who runs the force’s media relations, pleaded at the start of his session for consideration because he was facing other investigations. “I’m keen to be open and helpful to the committee,” he stated, “but … a couple of hours ago I was informed I had been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. I have not been able to take legal advice.”

Keith Vaz, chairman of the committee, however, cut him short: “All of our witnesses have been referred to the IPCC. That didn’t stop the commissioner [answering questions]. We can take evidence from whoever we want … until they have been charged.”

Witnesses could have tried to avoid “incriminating” responses to questions on grounds that under article six of the European convention on human rights they were entitled to a fair trial.

via Rupert Murdoch: scandal questions ‘difficult to answer’ | Media | The Guardian.

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