Lord Justice Leveson has rejected a call from the Crown Prosecution Service and Metropolitan Police in which they asked to review evidence submitted to the inquiry and decide what information can be made public or shared with participants.
The joint submission made last month by the Met and the CPS expressed concerns that an individual who is later charged may claim the Inquiry breached their right to a fair trial, as evidence will be heard before criminal trials have occurred. As a result, the submission requested suggests that any document that the Inquiry wishes to disclose to other core participants or make public should first be shown to a nominated police officer, who would then be able to veto any information that might prejudice criminal proceedings.
Neil Garnham QC, representing the Met and CPS, told the Inquiry at a public hearing on 31 October that he was concerned not only that the Inquiry may risk prejudicing the criminal investigation, but also that, in reporting the Inquiry, the media might “go beyond fair reporting” and damage proceedings.
Leveson said he did not accept these concerns, stating in today’s ruling that adhering to the Met and CPS’s requests would “substantially increase the work that has to be put into adducing evidence before me” and may potentially “damage both the public perception of the Inquiry and its timeliness.” Leveson suggested he himself will decide what information might pose a risk to the criminal investigation.
The first hearing of the Inquiry will take place on 14 November, with victims’ evidence to be heard from 21 November. The Inquiry is likely to hear evidence from witnesses until February 2012.
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