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Leading phone hacking lawyer calls Government's closure of Leveson Inquiry an 'astonishing abandoned promise'

A leading lawyer for victims of phone hacking has called the Government’s closure of the Leveson Inquiry into press standards an “astonishing abandoned promise”.

Culture Secretary Matt Hancock announced today that the “terms of reference” for Leveson Two had “largely been met” and that reopening the inquiry would not be the right way forward.

But Steven Heffer, head of media and privacy at law firm Collyer Bristow, which has defended more than 200 victims of phone hacking in the past seven years, said: “It is astonishing that the government is abandoning it promises to victims of the phone-hacking scandal.”

Collyer Bristow acted for all of the core participant victims in part one of the Leveson Inquiry, including actors Hugh Grant and Sienna Miller, politician Dame Tessa Jowell and the McCann family.

In January, phone hacking claims against News Group Newspapers, publisher of The Sun titles, were settled in the High Court to nine victims including actor David Tennant and former athlete Colin Jackson.

Heffer said the cancellation of Leveson Two was a “huge disappointment” to the victims.

“In 2012, David Cameron made personal promises to the victims of press abuse that the government would implement Leveson,” he said.

“It is a huge disappointment to them that this government has now dropped that completely.

“At the time of Part One of the Leveson Inquiry, the Government accepted that the system of press regulation was badly broken. Precious little has changed since then, but the government is now content to walk away without fixing it.

“Part Two of Leveson should have been a crucial part of examining unlawful actions by media organisations, and improper relationships between journalists and the police. Instead, the whole affair will be swept under the carpet.”

Max Mosley, the press reform campaigner who was one of those represented by Collyer Bristow during Leveson One, said the Government’s decision was a “disgrace”.

It came on the second day of large-scale coverage by the Daily Mail of revelations from Mosley’s past, including a “racist” political pamphlet bearing his name as publisher in 1961 and the accusation that he lied about its existence at a High Court privacy case in 2008, which he strongly denies.

Mosley said in a statement: “I will not be deterred from pursuing what is right and nor should those who have campaigned for Part Two of the Leveson Inquiry.

“The Daily Mail and other sections of the press have always been very worried about what Part Two will reveal and furious about anyone who has campaigned for it.”

He added: “The claim that everything was dealt with in the criminal trials is nonsense. Only a small part of what went on was revealed. The criminal trials were concerned solely with whether certain individuals who worked at the News of the World had committed specific offences.

“I think that significant evidence of corporate criminality and other wrongdoing would emerge if the conduct of newspapers was properly investigated.

“There are also serious questions about the relationships between senior police officers, top newspaper executives and certain politicians. Those are not necessarily criminal but need to be made public so that much-needed reforms can take place.

“Powerful press interests should not have significant influence over our police and it’s time to end their unhealthy power over government.”

In a letter to the Home Secretary and Culture Secretary, dated 23 January, Sir Brian Leveson said he “fundamentally disagreed” with the Government’s view that the second part of the inquiry is not necessary.

He said: “I have no doubt that there is still a legitimate expection on behalf of the public and, in particular, the alleged victims of phone hacking and other unlawful conduct, that there will be a full public examination of the circumstances that allowed that behaviour to develop and clear reassurances that nothing of the same scale could occur again: that is what they were promised.”

The New Media Association heralded the closure of the inquiry, saying in a statement: We welcome the Government’s announcement today that the Leveson Inquiry will be formally closed and that it will seek to repeal Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act at the earliest opportunity.

“The consultation response showed overwhelming public support for the work of newspapers and their importance to our democracy.

“Both these measures would have disrupted and destabilised the news media industry at a time when it is already grappling with the huge challenges of funding the provision of high quality journalism in the digital environment.”

However, the campaign group called on the Government to get rid of “even more damaging” clauses in the Data Protection Bill.

Theresa May has promised to overturn clauses added by peers which would force newspapers to pay legal costs for data protection claims whether they win or lose in court.

The NMA said: “It is now vital that similar, but potentially even more damaging, anti-press clauses in the Data Protection Bill are removed and we look forward to working with Government on its review into the press industry.

“We will find real, tangible solutions that create a sustainable future for journalism which the public expects and demands.”

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  1. mishkajacksonz1 … twitter .. including media police political international fraudulent rings who thought they could disguise mass rape with dodgy UN campaigns dodgy referendums political circus’ abuse break every human rights law there is hijack internet gag shaft & laugh & spin spin spin, use movies PR marketing to disguise mass rape, all the ‘victims’ of leveson 1 ARE violators and use mental health to be even sicker where govts commit fraud make thier own story from my life story to protect fraudulent rapists, they get sicker and eviler . mxenaj.blogspot.co.uk – they ‘bury’ you so they can rape you and funnily enough agree with the death penalty cos thats what they do to myself – kill you off – to protect fraudulent rapists and they get eviler, think Dowler but a billions times worse cos Ive worked with them socialised with them and they pillage my victim impact statement and convince themselves my life is thier ‘idea’ while they groom and rape and shaft and laugh and lie and scheme – pillage VIS and cry copyright – this is over a decade, a DECADE and longer that they’ve orgasmed on being fraudulent rapists, they rape & rape & laugh & laugh, my section is pretty spectacular, I was arrested and sectioned for an assault that never happened and the police decided to make thier own shit up like ‘Putin & Obama flew over the star wars set and planes falling out of the sky and I’m a clairvoyant with special power thats different to paranoid schizophrenia’… ahhhh… no.. did they? Then brothers was murdered by nazis in 1990 and there was a ‘cascade of murders’ they insist never happened but in fact did its searchable and theres even a movie about it which I’ve not seen as they take my brothers death, my life, massacre, being victim of THEM being sick fraudulent rapists who insist Im not the deceased sister living in the UK as they used my email address to commit fraud and rape my life while pillaging mocking using abusing patronising antagonising. I was also working as an extra when I found out they had ‘undercovers’ at a wedding in Dunedin re brothers murderer (trounson) in NZ they then decided to use movies music as an excuse to be rapists and use name as an excuse to be rapists, trounson means to ‘bash’ ie: rape for ratings using myself for entertainment while joking and ‘Blue planet was trounced’ etc , i am a victim of many many things and victim ‘support’ is getting laughed at and shafted used abused BY govt agencies FOR being victim of THEM being fraudulent rapists who use any means possible to contain that they nicked my life make my life about themselves and insist im not victim cos theyre fraudulent rapists who supplied me TO rapists FOR raping and playing political rapey games… they get eviler… and eviler …. and eviler

    mishkajacksonz1 (twitter)

    mxenaj.blogspot.com my life – that got hijacked intercepted and mass raped used for rapey games, games. bets, jokes, comedy & entertainment

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