Why Leveson is not totally shutting the Motorman files

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Lord Justice Leveson has said he won't allow a full investigation into the Motorman files.
Lord Justice Leveson has said he won't allow a full investigation into the Motorman files. Photo: ITV News

On the face of it Lord Justice Leveson has said he won't allow a full investigation into the Motorman files.

These are the files listing hundreds of journalists from many newspapers who asked a private investigator for potentially illegal information about celebrities, their families and others in the news.

But delve a little deeper into Lord Justice Leveson's ruling and it's clear he's not totally shutting the Motorman files.

LJ Leveson says when he saw who had been targeted and what information was being asked for, it's clear much of it was against the law, and any defence that it was in the public interest is "limited in the extreme."

He says he will accept information about any current journalists who are listed in the files, and if there is any specific or recent evidence of potentially illegally obtained numbers, addresses or other details that are still being used.

Names of journalists and targets won’t be published in full but by some form of initials.

Why is it important? Well Lord Justice Leveson sums it up by saying the information in these files shows, even more than phone hacking, the media culture and invasion of privacy, because it "undeniably extends beyond one title."

Phone hacking has tended to concentrate on News International.

As the ITV News investigation made clear, and Lord Justice Leveson accepts, many other newspaper groups feature heavily in the Motorman files and the trade in potentially illegal personal information.