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Leveson defends junior counsel in letter to MP

Lord Justice Leveson said Ms Patry Hoskins' role was "confined to the collation of facts" in the final stages of his inquiry. Credit: Lukas Coch/AAP

Lord Justice Leveson's letter responded to Conservative MP Rob Wilson, who had demanded the judge examine the relationship between Carine Patry Hoskins and David Sherborne.

Mr Wilson wrote to the Bar Standards Board requesting an investigation into the impact of the barristers' private relations on the role both played during the inquiry.

Lord Justice Leveson said it was "a matter for the Board to decide, what, if any, action to take", adding: "In the circumstances, I do not comment further."

But he unequivocally defended the role of Ms Patry Hoskins, who he said had "absolutely no input into any conclusions" reached by the inquiry.

Leveson: No conspiracy threat in barristers' relationship

Barrister David Sherborne and inquiry counsel Carine Patry Hoskins reportedly holidayed together while the inquiry was still ongoing. Credit: Ian Nicholson and Stefan Rousseau/PA Archive

Lord Justice Leveson has rejected claims that a previously undisclosed relationship between two of the barristers in his inquiry into press freedom threatened the legitimacy of its subsequent report.

The judge has said today in a letter that there was "simply no room" for a "breach of confidence or other conspiracy" as a result of personal relations between Carine Patry Hoskins, the inquiry's junior counsel, and barrister David Sherborne.

Leveson: Bloggers and tweeters must not be above the law

Lord Justice Leveson Credit: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire

Lord Justice Leveson has called for international cooperation to ensure that bloggers and tweeters are not above the law when it comes to illegal and unethical standards of journalism.

In an address as part of his Australian lecture tour, he warned there was a "pernicious and false" belief that the law did not apply to the internet.

He also said there was a chance that mainstream journalists might be tempted to break the law or infringe privacy "in order to steal a march on bloggers and tweeters".

Newspapers, he warned, may even move their bases overseas to dodge UK laws in the future.

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New laws for internet are likely, Leveson warns

Lord Justice Leveson has warned that internet gossip gives rise to the risk of 'permanent and disproportionate' harm being done. Credit: PA

Lord Justice Leveson said today that it was likely that new laws will need to be developed to protect people's privacy on the internet.

"While legal norms are in many respects capable of application to the internet, it is likely that new ones and new laws will need to be developed," he told a privacy seminar in Sydney.

He said that internet gossip that "names and shames" individuals risked "permanent and disproportionate" harm being done.

Leveson's justification for role of state in press regulation

There is an emerging division in the coalition over the issue of having a statutory under-pinning for a system of press regulation.

The Prime Minister admitted he was "wary of any legislation which has the potential to infringe free speech and a free press".

Here is what Lord Justice Leveson says on the matter:

There are many forms of statute law which already restrict the activities of the press, whether in terms of their organisation, competition or activities up to and including in limited cases what it may or may not be lawful to publish (race hate, for example).

On the face of it, these statutory restrictions are legitimate and proportionate exercises in democratic lawmaking, balancing competing public freedoms and goods ...

But to contend that no statutory reform could be so is to push the argument far beyond any reasonable statement of principle.

Ultimately, there is no necessary connection between statutory underpinning of a regulatory system ... on the one hand, and state censorship on the other, nor in my view is there some sort of slippery slope gliding from the first to the second.

– Leveson report
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