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Leveson inquiry: LIVE twitter and news from journalists that reported on McCanns story

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Leveson inquiry: LIVE twitter and news from journalists that reported on McCanns story

Post by Guest on 21.12.11 10:17

Leveson inquiry: jailed Daily Mirror reporter to give evidence on press standards

Former Daily Mirror financial reporter James Hipwell who was jailed for purchasing cheap stocks before recommending them to readers will give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry today.


8:15AM GMT 21 Dec 2011


James Hipwell received a six-month prison sentence in February 2006 for pocketing nearly £41,000.


He mentioned the stocks in the Daily Mirror's City Slickers column and then quickly sold them as values soared.


Mr Hipwell claimed in July that journalists at the Daily Mirror and other newspapers hacked phones.


Publisher Trinity Mirror insists that its journalists work within the criminal law and the Press Complaints Commission code of conduct.


The inquiry into press standards, which after today will break until January 9, will also take evidence from three journalists who wrote about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann from Portugal in 2007 for the Daily Express, Nick Fagge, Padraic Flanagan and David Pilditch.


In March 2008 Express Newspapers paid £550,000 libel damages and printed front-page apologies to the missing girl's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, over a series of articles falsely alleging they were responsible for their daughter's death.

Prime Minister David Cameron set up the Leveson Inquiry in July in response to revelations that the News of the World commissioned a private detective to hack murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler's phone after she disappeared in 2002.

The first part of the inquiry, sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, is looking at the culture, practices and ethics of the press in general and is due to produce a report by next September.

The second part, examining the extent of unlawful activities by journalists, will not begin until detectives have completed their investigation into alleged phone hacking and corrupt payments to police, and any prosecutions have been concluded.

Piers Morgan was dragged into the 'Slickergate' scandal when it emerged that he had bought £20,000 of shares in Viglen, a technology company owned by Sir Alan Sugar, one day before it was tipped by the City Slickers column.

His shares doubled in value when the company announced it was moving to set up an internet business.

After an internal investigation, Mr Hipwell and colleage Anil Bhoyrul were fired but Mr Morgan was cleared of any wrong doing.

But the fall out didn't stop there. The Daily Mirror was accused of a "cavalier culture" by the Press Complaints Commission and Mr Morgan was forced to apologise.

In 2004, the two City Slickers were charged with conspiring to illegally inflate share prices for their own benefit.

Mr Bhoyrul pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 180 hours community service but Mr Hipwell denied the charges and faced trial in 2005.

He was found guilty and sentenced to six months' imprisonment.
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Re: Leveson inquiry: LIVE twitter and news from journalists that reported on McCanns story

Post by Guest on 21.12.11 12:06


• Watch the Leveson Inquiry testimony live here


Latest

11:53 Pilditch describes the pressures of writing stories for which there is great demand on scant reliable information.


You feel uncomfortable writing stories when you are put in a position that you can't do what you normally do, to be certain that what you are doing is fair and accurate... [but] you couldn't just not write a story.


11:48 The inquiry hears that Portugese journalists were in contact with senior officers and a third party dialogue was used to stand up stories or develop lines. This enabled an "accurate insight" into the investigation into Maddie's disappearance.


Twitter: T Portilho-Shrimpton - Pilditch: we were looking at Portuguese newsp every day and that would give you a starting point of what sort of lines you'd be pursuing


11:44 Pilditch's initial sources are listed as resort workers, holidaymakers and ex-pats but the police refused to help.

You would get a whole load of witnesses giving you a similar description and you go to the police with it and they can't tell you anything.

11:40 He says working in Portugal - where it is illegal for the police to speak about stories - was "like Doctor Who, being transported into an Orwellian nightmare". He added that you could not cover the story which was "in everybody's interest" but couldn't cover it because you couldn't get to the truth.

Twitter: weissnicht - #leveson Press got the information from #mccann not from the police.

11:38 The opening topic for discussion is the Madeleine McCann story. Pilditch's first visit to Portugal, as an Express reporter, was for six weeks on a story that he said was "uniquely challenging


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/leveson-inquiry/8934976/Leveson-Inquiry-live.html





tweets from Mark White sky news.........



skymarkwhiteMark White

Pilditch says despite the difficulties in getting new McCann lines out of Portugal "you couldn't just not write a story" #Leveson
6 minutes ago





skymarkwhiteMark White

Pilditch says due to the secrecy of Portuguese justice system, it was virtually impossible to properly verify McCann stories #Leveson
8 minutes ago




skymarkwhiteMark White

Pilditch says they had to use Portuguese police interpreter and local journos as sources in absence of official briefings re McCanns
10 minutes ago




skymarkwhiteMark White

Pilditch says they had to establish lots of different contacts to help corroborate story angles which police wouldn't confirm #Leveson
15 minutes ago



skymarkwhiteMark White

Pilditch says the McCann story was a very difficult and confusing story to cover because Portuguese police weren't allowed to talk to press
18 minutes ago


skymarkwhiteMark White

Pilditch says there was a lot of pressure to produce McCann stories, there was newspaper and tv journos from all over the world there
20 minutes ago




skymarkwhiteMark White

Express and former Mirror journo David Pilditch now giving evidence to #Leveson He worked on the McCann story in Portugal

21 minutes



**********************************************



It seems from the above tweets, that no information or leaks were coming from the Portuguese police!!
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Re: Leveson inquiry: LIVE twitter and news from journalists that reported on McCanns story

Post by Guest on 21.12.11 12:25

12:07 Robert Jay asks whether Pilditch was responsible for a headline on his story. He clearly says "no". The inquiry hears it is never the journalist.

12:04 He describes the role of Clarence Mitchell, the McCanns' official spokesman, who...

...commented on every story and often in quite strident terms that this was part of a black propaganda campaign and there was no evidence to support what the police were saying.

12:00 He adds that the McCanns' spokespeople were telling journalists what the police were asking them in dealing with them as a type of suspect.

11:59 He tells the inquiry that the McCann's status of arguidos meant that they could be subjected to much tougher questioning, according to what he was told by Portugese lawyers.


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/leveson-inquiry/8934976/Leveson-Inquiry-live.html
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Re: Leveson inquiry: LIVE twitter and news from journalists that reported on McCanns story

Post by jd on 21.12.11 12:30

On the issue of DNA.....Why does he not say that there were 15 out of 19 markers found. In Portugal 16 is needed for court, in the UK 14 is needed for court! The chance of 2 DNA samples belonging to different people if the results of the forensic analysis shows a 15:19 match is miniscule!

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Re: Leveson inquiry: LIVE twitter and news from journalists that reported on McCanns story

Post by Guest on 21.12.11 12:46

SkyFixer69James (Jim) Old
Gerry #McCann told the #LevesonInquiry journos started to pass-off gossip as fact when the inquiry stalled and there was nothing to report.
6 minutes ago




SkyFixer69James (Jim) Old
Jay and #Leverson are trying to suggest that he attached undue inferences to snippets of info, but Pilditch is not buying it.9minutes ago

wow




SkyFixer69James (Jim) Old

Pilditch is unapologetic about what he wrote on the #McCanns Everything he filed is what the police and others were saying at the time.11 minutes ago

wow



SkyFixer69James (Jim) Old

Pilditch now being quizzed on a #McCann story he DID write. Jay accuses him of using "heightened" and "loaded" language in it.
27 minutes ago




SkyFixer69James (Jim) Old

Pilditch: my bit was knocked out of the story. The only bit that survived the cut was my name.
30 minutes ago



SkyFixer69James (Jim) Old

#Leveson : You didnt read the story before it went out in your name? Pilditch says it was mostly written by Nick Fagge who'll be up shortly.

32 minutes ago




SkyFixer69James (Jim) Old

Pilditch being asked about defamatory story in the Express re the McCanns with his name on it. "I didnt really write this story".

34 minutes
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Re: Leveson inquiry: LIVE twitter and news from journalists that reported on McCanns story

Post by Guest on 21.12.11 12:54


SkyFixer69James (Jim) Old

There's now a debate going on as to whether this is appropriate and within the scope of the #LevesonInquiry
1 minute ago


»


SkyFixer69James (Jim) Old

Sherborne wants to hit Pilditch with some questions which have come straight from Kate and Gerry McCann. #Leveson
3 minutes ago
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Re: Leveson inquiry: LIVE twitter and news from journalists that reported on McCanns story

Post by jd on 21.12.11 12:54

This Leveson trial inquiry makes me puke

Its all about the mcscams...whitewash...why is an inquiry asking questions sent in from the mcscams?

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Re: Leveson inquiry: LIVE twitter and news from journalists that reported on McCanns story

Post by Guest on 21.12.11 13:01

It does look rather one sided, this the latest from telegraph.........


Latest


12:56 James Dingemans QC, counsel for the Daily Express, has expressed his concern that the inquiry is being "highjacked" and turned from its "inquisitorial" nature into one which is increasingly "adversarial", with journalists being given questions for which they are not prepared.


12:43 Both Leveson and Jay are suggesting that what was written after Madeleine'e disappearance was not true but Pilditch is insistent that it was thought to be true at the time.

Leveson says: "It's all fluff, there's nothing to it."


aaaah
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Re: Leveson inquiry: LIVE twitter and news from journalists that reported on McCanns story

Post by jd on 21.12.11 13:12

Leveson called anything against the mcscam version (where there is not a single shred of evidence to support an abduction), and I quote "tittle tattle"

he also failed to say that it is infact officially a missing persons case not abduction as there is no evidence of one

Anyone smell a huge coverup going on here

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Re: Leveson inquiry: LIVE twitter and news from journalists that reported on McCanns story

Post by Guest on 21.12.11 13:13

Leveson has just said, something like..

I think everyone is agreed there is not foundation at all that the McCanns were involved in any way in inappropriate conduct in relation to their missing daughter

wft




w_nichtweissnicht

#leveson sympaties for #mccann..YES we have noticed!
6 minutes ago


»


nataliepeckNatalie Peck

#Leveson: Everyone is agreed that there is no foundation at all for allegations McCanns invoked in disappearance of Madeline.
8 minutes ago
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Re: Leveson inquiry: LIVE twitter and news from journalists that reported on McCanns story

Post by jd on 21.12.11 13:23

Don't know if you noticed but before asking a question, they said 'we agree that this is an abduction and the mccanns have a missing child so...." (or words to this effect), Immediately this kills the argument & puts Pilditch in a position that he is a monster (very crafty)... Pilditch should have said that we have no proof of an abduction and this is only your theory which you based purely on the words of the mccanns so don't start a question from a base that it is fact of an abduction because it is not

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Re: Leveson inquiry: LIVE twitter and news from journalists that reported on McCanns story

Post by Smokeandmirrors on 21.12.11 13:31

So the PJ files were all completely fictitious then? The inconsistencies all a figment of over active imaginations, the dogs were barking mad, Lee Rainbow, Amaral, Pat Brown just a bunch of old meanies and so on.

Oh, wahtever

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Re: Leveson inquiry: LIVE twitter and news from journalists that reported on McCanns story

Post by Cheshire Cat on 21.12.11 13:34

Smokeandmirrors wrote: So the PJ files were all completely fictitious then? The inconsistencies all a figment of over active imaginations, the dogs were barking mad, Lee Rainbow, Amaral, Pat Brown just a bunch of old meanies and so on.

Oh, wahtever

Yes. We dreamed it all.
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Re: Leveson inquiry: LIVE twitter and news from journalists that reported on McCanns story

Post by Smokeandmirrors on 21.12.11 13:47

Less like a dream and more like a nightmare about the end of justice, common sense and free speech. And ignoring of gigantic elephants in the room (if you look their way they'll Carter Ruck you).

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Re: Leveson inquiry: LIVE twitter and news from journalists that reported on McCanns story

Post by Guest on 21.12.11 14:03

Read paragraphs 25 - 26 and 27 of David Pilditch witness statement

Paragraph 24 is even more interesting. wow

http://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Witness-Statement-of-David-Pilditch.pdf
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Re: Leveson inquiry: LIVE twitter and news from journalists that reported on McCanns story

Post by Guest on 21.12.11 14:19

That's right, everything was approved and arranged via Clarence Mitchell.
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Re: Leveson inquiry: LIVE twitter and news from journalists that reported on McCanns story

Post by Cheshire Cat on 21.12.11 14:31

candyfloss wrote:Read paragraphs 25 - 26 and 27 of David Pilditch witness statement

Paragraph 24 is even more interesting.

[url=http://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Witness-Statement-of-David-Pilditch.pdf
http://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Witness-Statement-of-David-Pilditch.pdf[/quote[/url]]
It was only months later, in July 2008 that Portugal’s Attorney General formally closed the
investigation into Madeleine McCann’s disappearance. Under the Portuguese system, the
authorities released the official police file - more than 10,000 documents including
photographs, official reports and witness statements including those of the McCanns.
Through the release of those documents and subsequent Jegal actions in Portuga! it is now a
matter of public record that the reports I was writing between September 2007 and January

2008 were truthful and accurate,
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Get this to Dr Amaral!

Post by Cheshire Cat on 21.12.11 14:33

IN THE MATTER OF THE LEVESON INQUIRY
WITNESS STATEMENT OF DAVID HAMILTON PILDITCH
I, DAVID HAMILTON PILDITCH, Journalist, of The Northern & Shell Building, 10 Lower
Thames Street, London, EC3R 6EN, WILL SAY AS FOLLOWS:
I am a General News Reporter at The Daily Express. make this statement in response to a
request of the Leveson Inquiry (the "Inquiry") to the solicitors for Express Newspapers dated
25 November 2011 with regard to the circumstances surrounding the publication of articles
in The Daily Express between September 2007 and January 2008 about Drs McCann.
B, I confirm that alt matters in this statement are true and, unless I specify to the contrary are
based upon my own knowledge and a review of the relevant documents Where matters are
not within my own knowledge, I state the source and believe the same to be true.
C. For convenience, I have reproduced as subheadings the questions asked of me in the 25
November 201 1 letter.
Introduction
1, By way of introduction, I have been a journalist for 26 years, I started at a local newspaper,
the Esher News and Maili where I spent three years and was formally trained by the
National Council for the Training of Journalists.
2. I worked for several years at Cassidy and Leigh, a national news agency. In 1995 I joined
The Daily Mirror as a news reporter, before moving in 2003 to The Daily Express,
For Distribution To CP’s
I was the first Daily Express reporter to arrive in Portugal following the disappearance of
Madeleine McOann in May 2007, I spent six weeks in the country on my first visit, and over
the course of the next nine months until February 2008, 1 was there a total of six times.
Question 1: What was the evidential basis for each of the stories you wrote in relation to
the McCanns, identifying (in each case) precisely the information on which you based
each of them?

It became apparent in the days after arriving in Praia da Luz that covering the,
disappearance of Madeleine McCann was going to be uniquely challenging, Under
Portugal’s secrecy of justice laws it is illegal for anyone to publicly discuss the details of an
on-going police investigation. This means even the most senior detectives in charge of an
inquiry are not allowed: to speak to the press and the media. Quite frankly this was a
ludicrous state of affairs which made covering the story near impossible.
Even Kate and Gerry McCann, who were anxious to put out appeals for information, were
made aware that speaking: about the case could lead to a term of imprisonment of up to two
years:
6. This lack of official co-operation between the police and the media, in my view, fatally flawed
the investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance from day one.
.
In this country the relationship between the police and the media is probably at its closest
during a missing person inquiry. In the absence of any substantial leads the police rely on
the public to provide information of possible sightings or people acting suspiciously, This
helps ensure the police have as much information as possible available to them.
8. In Portugal, there were none of the basic strategies or systems that we would expect to be
put into place in an investigation of this kind.
9. As Gerry McCann pointed out in his statement the lack of formal dialogue between the
Policia Judiciaria (P J) and the public was incredibly frustrating for everybody involved.
10. In the critical early hours and days after Madeleine McCann disappeared there were no
public appeals. It took a number of days before police released details of the clothes
Madefeine was wearing when she disappeared - and that was only done under enormous
pressure from the international media.
11. Again under pressure from the media, the police held a series of press conferences in the
early days after Madeleine’s disappearance which turned out to be farcical because no
useful information was forthcoming.
12. A detective from Lisbon who specialized in investigating art thefts was brought in as a media
liaison officer. Unfortunately he refused to confirm or deny any information that was put to
him and was unable to give any guidance either on or off the record. In short, his
appointment was a complete waste of time
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13. As in every case, my stories were compiled using numerous sources of information. In my
time in Portugal I interviewed witnesses, many locals connected with businesses, resort
workers, holidaymakers and ex-pats - a number of whom became contacts and regular
sources of information,
14. 1 incorporated copy filed by the Press Association and independent news agencies based in
Britain and abroad, along with copy filed by colleagues back home - members of the
McCanns’ families were releasing information and photographs to help the search.
15. The McCanns themselves I~ad various people representing them, In the early stages a
spokesman was appointed by the holiday company the family had travelled with.
Subsequently there were two Foreign Office officials who helped them one of whom was
Clarence Mitchell.
16, In September 2007, after the McCanns returned to Britain, Mr Mitchell was taken on by the
couple as their official spokesman.
17. I have written a great many stories about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann since
May 4 2007, I have also written hundreds of other stories relating to a huge range of
subjects and issues, It would be impossible to forensically examine a series of stories
written four years ago and explain precisely where each fact was sourced from. However,
when reports were followed up from Portuguese newspapers and TV networks that is clearly
spelled out in my stories.
18. The McCanns were always approached to comment on stories through their spokesman and
those comments were clearly attributed. An addition to quoting from Portuguese newspapers
and the Drs McCanns’ official spokesman I approached my own sources.
19. In their evidence the McCanns. referring to the press in general terms, said that many
stories had been "made up" and that they did not believe "police sources" were genuine. In
the case of every story I wrote, the police sources I quoted were genuine. I had three
sources in Portugal who provided me with information. Two were Portuguese journalists who
were in daily contact with the most senior officers investigating Madeieine McCann’s
disappearance. The third was a translator who worked for the Portuguese Police and
translating and interpreting in the Portuguese legal system.
20, The stories that have been selected in this file must be looked at in the context of how
events were unfolding on the ground during this time whe~7 the Portuguese police
investigation had reached a particular stage.
21. Despite the barriers thrown up by the Portuguese criminal justice system, I was able to
obtain an accurate and truthful insight into on-going developments within the police
investigation at that time. Indeed, by this point fn time, one of my contacts was informing me
of day-to-day developments as they were taking place and before they were being written
about in Portuguese newspapers. This enabled me to verify the accuracy of the information
I was being gwen. For example, I was told of a series of operations and searches that would
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[/size][/size]be taking place at particular times and on particular days- and was able to personally
wkness these events taking place,
22. Although I was confident of the veracity of: the reports I was writing, due to the secrecy of
justice laws they were impossible to prove, to any satisfactory legal standard, at that time.
The fact is that every newspaper, TV network or media organisation that reported on: details
of the investigation into Madeieine McCann,s disappearance were in the same boat.
23. Due to the restrictions of the Portuguese law; anyone who was unhappy about something
that had been written or said about them and wished to take legal action would almost
certainly have been successful. As a journalist this is a wholly unsatisfactory position which,
in my view, leaves news organisations at the mercy of potential litigants, They simply are
unable to defend themselves.
24. It was only months later, in July 2008 that Portugal’s Attorney General formally closed the
investigation into Madeleine McCann’s disappearance. Under the Portuguese system, the
authorities released the official police file - more than 10,000 documents including
photographs, official reports and witness statements including those of the McCanns.
Through the release of those documents and subsequent Jegal actions in Portuga! it is now a
matter of public record that the reports I was writing between September 2007 and January
2008 were truthful and accurate,
Question 2; what checks if any did you undertake or cause to undertake to verify the
accuracy of each of these stories?
25. All my stories were checked wi[h more than one source prior to publication, Once Clarence
Mitchell was appointed as Drs McCanns’ spokesman, it was agreed that all stories would be
bounced off him rather than the Drs McCann directly; This was strictly adhered to. On every
occasion, Portuguese :)olice refused to comment on grounds that the inquiry was subject to
judicial secrecy.
26. Leicestershire Police, the UK force handling the investigation, took the decision neither to
comment nor -unusually for a force involved in a high profile on-going inquiry - give off the
record guidance to journalists with story queries. Instead they referred all journalists to their
Portuguese counterparts - who refused to comment,
Question 3: Why did you not seek comment from the McCanns before these stories were
published?
27. On each occasion, I sought comment from Drs McCanns’ representatives,
Question 4: What legal advice, if any was taken in relation to these issues?
28. Upon filing each story it would have been viewed by the News Editor of the day and a
lawyer: it would then have been passed to a sub editor who would cut it to fit the required
space on the page and add a headline. As a news reporter I have no involvement in the
wording of headlines that accompany my stories, Though my involvement usualfy ends with
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the filing of my story the news desk, lawyer and sub editor are obviously free to contact me if
they have any additional queries or require me to make further checks.
Question 5: Please explain the nature of sub-editorial and editorial involvement in each
of the stories you wrote explaining in particular the steps they took to satisfy themselves
that the said stories were
accurate and that there was a public interest in their
publication. In each case, you are required to name the sub,editors and editors involved.
29. When I file a story f have no say over where it will appear in the paper, what prominence it
will be given or even if it will appear in the paper at all. I play no part in that decision.making
process. However, there is always frequent dialogue throughout the day between the
reporters on the ground, and the editors in the newsroom, particularly with regard to the
checking of stories and sources,
Conclusion
30. The disappearance of Madeleine McCann was an extraordinary and unique event. As a
news reporter with 26 years, experience I approached my coverage of Madeleine’s
disappearance exactly the same way as I did all the other major running news stories I have
covered during that time. My aim was - and always is - to interview witnesses, check out
information from sources, and speak to individuals, investigators and officials involved in an
attempt to discover the truth. The aspect that made the case truly unusual was the wall of
silence and lack of guidance to journalists from police both in Portugal and the UK,
31, In the absence of these critical sources or official comment that could be attributed to a
named police source or authority, I took steps to obtain the relevant information by the best
available route. ~ approached news/TV reporters who had solid contacts within the
Portuguese police for information on the investigation and relied on the services of Mr
Mitchell as a third party spokesman for Drs McCann.
STATEMENT OF TRUTH
I believe that th:~ facts stated in this Witness Statement are true.
DAVID Hh, MILTON PILDITCH
Dated: [ ] December 2011
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For Distribution To CP’s
D H PILD!TCH
December 2011
1st
INTHE MATTER OF THE LEVESON INiQUJRY.
WITNESS STATEMENT OF
DAVID HAMILTON PILDITCH
ose n b I arts ~::: ~: :~ c i i .,,:: ~:i:iii;
9,13 St Andrew Street
London EC4A 3AF
DX: LDE 493
Tel: (020) 7955 0880
Fax: (020) 7955 0888
Ref: AF/EXP9-95
1082948v6A

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Re: Leveson inquiry: LIVE twitter and news from journalists that reported on McCanns story

Post by Me on 21.12.11 14:37

What i want to know is would this Mccann questioning have been discussed if the McCann's had not given evidence, or is this simply as a result of their testimony?

If it's the former (that there would have been questions about the McCann's case irrespective of whether they gave evidence) then now it all makes sense to me why they invited themselves to Leveson.

Can anyone confirm?

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What is certain is that since the start of the investigation there were  incongruent and even contradictory situations concerning the witness statements; the telephone records of calls that were made and received on mobile phones that belonged to the couple and to the group of friends that were on holidays with them; the movements of people right after the disappearance of the little girl was noticed, concerning the state in which the bedroom from where the child disappeared from was found (closed window? open window? partially open window?) etc., and the mystery would only become even thicker due to the clues that were left by the already mentioned sniffer dogs. - The Words of a JUDGE in relation to the McCanns

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Re: Leveson inquiry: LIVE twitter and news from journalists that reported on McCanns story

Post by Cheshire Cat on 21.12.11 14:44

Didn't Mitchell say that the McCann stories were the result of lazy journalists rehashing Portuguese Newspaper stories over long boozy lunches?

Not the stories in the Express Mr Mitchell:


Cheshire Cat wrote:IN THE MATTER OF THE LEVESON INQUIRY
WITNESS STATEMENT OF DAVID HAMILTON PILDITCH
I, DAVID HAMILTON PILDITCH, Journalist, of The Northern & Shell Building, 10 Lower
Thames Street, London, EC3R 6EN, WILL SAY AS FOLLOWS:
I am a General News Reporter at The Daily Express. make this statement in response to a
request of the Leveson Inquiry (the "Inquiry") to the solicitors for Express Newspapers dated
25 November 2011 with regard to the circumstances surrounding the publication of articles
in The Daily Express between September 2007 and January 2008 about Drs McCann.
B, I confirm that alt matters in this statement are true and, unless I specify to the contrary are
based upon my own knowledge and a review of the relevant documents Where matters are
not within my own knowledge, I state the source and believe the same to be true.
C. For convenience, I have reproduced as subheadings the questions asked of me in the 25
November 201 1 letter.
Introduction
1, By way of introduction, I have been a journalist for 26 years, I started at a local newspaper,
the Esher News and Maili where I spent three years and was formally trained by the
National Council for the Training of Journalists.
2. I worked for several years at Cassidy and Leigh, a national news agency. In 1995 I joined
The Daily Mirror as a news reporter, before moving in 2003 to The Daily Express,
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I was the first Daily Express reporter to arrive in Portugal following the disappearance of
Madeleine McOann in May 2007, I spent six weeks in the country on my first visit, and over
the course of the next nine months until February 2008, 1 was there a total of six times.
Question 1: What was the evidential basis for each of the stories you wrote in relation to
the McCanns, identifying (in each case) precisely the information on which you based
each of them?

It became apparent in the days after arriving in Praia da Luz that covering the,
disappearance of Madeleine McCann was going to be uniquely challenging, Under
Portugal’s secrecy of justice laws it is illegal for anyone to publicly discuss the details of an
on-going police investigation. This means even the most senior detectives in charge of an
inquiry are not allowed: to speak to the press and the media. Quite frankly this was a
ludicrous state of affairs which made covering the story near impossible.
Even Kate and Gerry McCann, who were anxious to put out appeals for information, were
made aware that speaking: about the case could lead to a term of imprisonment of up to two
years:
6. This lack of official co-operation between the police and the media, in my view, fatally flawed
the investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance from day one.
.
In this country the relationship between the police and the media is probably at its closest
during a missing person inquiry. In the absence of any substantial leads the police rely on
the public to provide information of possible sightings or people acting suspiciously, This
helps ensure the police have as much information as possible available to them.
8. In Portugal, there were none of the basic strategies or systems that we would expect to be
put into place in an investigation of this kind.
9. As Gerry McCann pointed out in his statement the lack of formal dialogue between the
Policia Judiciaria (P J) and the public was incredibly frustrating for everybody involved.
10. In the critical early hours and days after Madeleine McCann disappeared there were no
public appeals. It took a number of days before police released details of the clothes
Madefeine was wearing when she disappeared - and that was only done under enormous
pressure from the international media.
11. Again under pressure from the media, the police held a series of press conferences in the
early days after Madeleine’s disappearance which turned out to be farcical because no
useful information was forthcoming.
12. A detective from Lisbon who specialized in investigating art thefts was brought in as a media
liaison officer. Unfortunately he refused to confirm or deny any information that was put to
him and was unable to give any guidance either on or off the record. In short, his
appointment was a complete waste of time
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13. As in every case, my stories were compiled using numerous sources of information. In my
time in Portugal I interviewed witnesses, many locals connected with businesses, resort
workers, holidaymakers and ex-pats - a number of whom became contacts and regular
sources of information,
14. 1 incorporated copy filed by the Press Association and independent news agencies based in
Britain and abroad, along with copy filed by colleagues back home - members of the
McCanns’ families were releasing information and photographs to help the search.
15. The McCanns themselves I~ad various people representing them, In the early stages a
spokesman was appointed by the holiday company the family had travelled with.
Subsequently there were two Foreign Office officials who helped them one of whom was
Clarence Mitchell.
16, In September 2007, after the McCanns returned to Britain, Mr Mitchell was taken on by the
couple as their official spokesman.
17. I have written a great many stories about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann since
May 4 2007, I have also written hundreds of other stories relating to a huge range of
subjects and issues, It would be impossible to forensically examine a series of stories
written four years ago and explain precisely where each fact was sourced from. However,
when reports were followed up from Portuguese newspapers and TV networks that is clearly
spelled out in my stories.
18. The McCanns were always approached to comment on stories through their spokesman and
those comments were clearly attributed. An addition to quoting from Portuguese newspapers
and the Drs McCanns’ official spokesman I approached my own sources.
19. In their evidence the McCanns. referring to the press in general terms, said that many
stories had been "made up" and that they did not believe "police sources" were genuine. In
the case of every story I wrote, the police sources I quoted were genuine. I had three
sources in Portugal who provided me with information. Two were Portuguese journalists who
were in daily contact with the most senior officers investigating Madeieine McCann’s
disappearance. The third was a translator who worked for the Portuguese Police and
translating and interpreting in the Portuguese legal system.
20, The stories that have been selected in this file must be looked at in the context of how
events were unfolding on the ground during this time whe~7 the Portuguese police
investigation had reached a particular stage.
21. Despite the barriers thrown up by the Portuguese criminal justice system, I was able to
obtain an accurate and truthful insight into on-going developments within the police
investigation at that time. Indeed, by this point fn time, one of my contacts was informing me
of day-to-day developments as they were taking place and before they were being written
about in Portuguese newspapers. This enabled me to verify the accuracy of the information
I was being gwen. For example, I was told of a series of operations and searches that would
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[/size][/size]be taking place at particular times and on particular days- and was able to personally
wkness these events taking place,
22. Although I was confident of the veracity of: the reports I was writing, due to the secrecy of
justice laws they were impossible to prove, to any satisfactory legal standard, at that time.
The fact is that every newspaper, TV network or media organisation that reported on: details
of the investigation into Madeieine McCann,s disappearance were in the same boat.
23. Due to the restrictions of the Portuguese law; anyone who was unhappy about something
that had been written or said about them and wished to take legal action would almost
certainly have been successful. As a journalist this is a wholly unsatisfactory position which,
in my view, leaves news organisations at the mercy of potential litigants, They simply are
unable to defend themselves.
24. It was only months later, in July 2008 that Portugal’s Attorney General formally closed the
investigation into Madeleine McCann’s disappearance. Under the Portuguese system, the
authorities released the official police file - more than 10,000 documents including
photographs, official reports and witness statements including those of the McCanns.
Through the release of those documents and subsequent Jegal actions in Portuga! it is now a
matter of public record that the reports I was writing between September 2007 and January
2008 were truthful and accurate,
Question 2; what checks if any did you undertake or cause to undertake to verify the
accuracy of each of these stories?
25. All my stories were checked wi[h more than one source prior to publication, Once Clarence
Mitchell was appointed as Drs McCanns’ spokesman, it was agreed that all stories would be
bounced off him rather than the Drs McCann directly; This was strictly adhered to. On every
occasion, Portuguese :)olice refused to comment on grounds that the inquiry was subject to
judicial secrecy.
26. Leicestershire Police, the UK force handling the investigation, took the decision neither to
comment nor -unusually for a force involved in a high profile on-going inquiry - give off the
record guidance to journalists with story queries. Instead they referred all journalists to their
Portuguese counterparts - who refused to comment,
Question 3: Why did you not seek comment from the McCanns before these stories were
published?
27. On each occasion, I sought comment from Drs McCanns’ representatives,
Question 4: What legal advice, if any was taken in relation to these issues?
28. Upon filing each story it would have been viewed by the News Editor of the day and a
lawyer: it would then have been passed to a sub editor who would cut it to fit the required
space on the page and add a headline. As a news reporter I have no involvement in the
wording of headlines that accompany my stories, Though my involvement usualfy ends with
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the filing of my story the news desk, lawyer and sub editor are obviously free to contact me if
they have any additional queries or require me to make further checks.
Question 5: Please explain the nature of sub-editorial and editorial involvement in each
of the stories you wrote explaining in particular the steps they took to satisfy themselves
that the said stories were
accurate and that there was a public interest in their
publication. In each case, you are required to name the sub,editors and editors involved.
29. When I file a story f have no say over where it will appear in the paper, what prominence it
will be given or even if it will appear in the paper at all. I play no part in that decision.making
process. However, there is always frequent dialogue throughout the day between the
reporters on the ground, and the editors in the newsroom, particularly with regard to the
checking of stories and sources,
Conclusion
30. The disappearance of Madeleine McCann was an extraordinary and unique event. As a
news reporter with 26 years, experience I approached my coverage of Madeleine’s
disappearance exactly the same way as I did all the other major running news stories I have
covered during that time. My aim was - and always is - to interview witnesses, check out
information from sources, and speak to individuals, investigators and officials involved in an
attempt to discover the truth. The aspect that made the case truly unusual was the wall of
silence and lack of guidance to journalists from police both in Portugal and the UK,
31, In the absence of these critical sources or official comment that could be attributed to a
named police source or authority, I took steps to obtain the relevant information by the best
available route. ~ approached news/TV reporters who had solid contacts within the
Portuguese police for information on the investigation and relied on the services of Mr
Mitchell as a third party spokesman for Drs McCann.
STATEMENT OF TRUTH
I believe that th:~ facts stated in this Witness Statement are true.
DAVID Hh, MILTON PILDITCH
Dated: [ ] December 2011
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D H PILD!TCH
December 2011
1st
INTHE MATTER OF THE LEVESON INiQUJRY.
WITNESS STATEMENT OF
DAVID HAMILTON PILDITCH
ose n b I arts ~::: ~: :~ c i i .,,:: ~:i:iii;
9,13 St Andrew Street
London EC4A 3AF
DX: LDE 493
Tel: (020) 7955 0880
Fax: (020) 7955 0888
Ref: AF/EXP9-95
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Re: Leveson inquiry: LIVE twitter and news from journalists that reported on McCanns story

Post by Guest on 21.12.11 14:58

Question 2; what checks if any did you undertake or cause to undertake to verify the
accuracy of each of these stories?



25. All my stories were checked wie source prior to publication,[color=darkred] Once Clarence
Mitchell was appointed as Drs McCanns’ spokesman, it was agreed that all stories would be
bounced off him rather than the Drs McCann directly; This was strictly adhered to.
On every
occasion, Portuguese :)olice refused to comment on grounds that the inquiry was subject to
judicial secrecy.

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Re: Leveson inquiry: LIVE twitter and news from journalists that reported on McCanns story

Post by Guest on 21.12.11 15:06

Question 2: What checks if any did you undertake, or cause to undertake, to verify the accuracy of each of these stories?

25. All my stories were checked with more than one source prior to publication. Once Clarence Mitchell was appointed as Drs McCanns’ spokesman, it was agreed that all stories would be bounced off him rather than the Drs McCann directly; This was strictly adhered to. On every occasion. Portuguese Police refused to comment on grounds that the inquiry was subject to judicial secrecy.



Call Mitchell in now and question him direct !!!!
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Re: Leveson inquiry: LIVE twitter and news from journalists that reported on McCanns story

Post by Guest on 21.12.11 15:13

14:56 A final word from Lord Justice Leveson, who has asked for any participant who is concerned about the credibility of witnesses to let him know in writing:


Fairness remains the watchword I'm trying to apply to all.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/leveson-inquiry/8934976/Leveson-Inquiry-live.html


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Re: Leveson inquiry: LIVE twitter and news from journalists that reported on McCanns story

Post by Cheshire Cat on 21.12.11 15:35

candyfloss wrote:14:56 A final word from Lord Justice Leveson, who has asked for any participant who is concerned about the credibility of witnesses to let him know in writing:


Fairness remains the watchword I'm trying to apply to all.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/leveson-inquiry/8934976/Leveson-Inquiry-live.html



Looking at news reports I see that only a few selected quotes, that support the McCann's, are being selected from the Express Journalist Witness statement. Nevermind, the more important quotes will be tweeted around the world!
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Re: Leveson inquiry: LIVE twitter and news from journalists that reported on McCanns story

Post by Gillyspot on 21.12.11 15:46

They surely will big grin

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Kate McCann "I know that what happened is not due to the fact of us leaving the children asleep. I know it happened under other circumstances"
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