Lord Justice Leveson to investigate press abuses

Jul 13, 2011
Tim Edwards

Man who prosecuted Rosemary West to head inquiry into press regulation and phone hacking

David Cameron has announced that Lord Justice Leveson will lead the inquiry into phone hacking and the regulation of the media. The prime minister said in a statement to the Commons that the inquiry will be in two parts.

The first part, expected to report back within 12 months, will be an investigation into the practices and ethics of the press, its relationship with the police and the failures of press regulation.

The second part will examine "the extent of unlawful or improper conduct at the News of the World and other newspapers".

Lord Justice Leveson will have the power to compel witnesses including newspaper reporters, management, proprietors, policemen and politicians of all parties to give evidence under oath and in public.

Sir Brian Leveson is best known for leading the prosecution of the serial killer Rosemary West in the 1990s. He is currently the head of the Sentencing Council for England and Wales.

Leveson is no shrinking violent when it comes to defying the press. He hit the headlines earlier this year when he defended another judge who fined a man who burned poppies during an Armistice Day event £50.

Newspapers and veterans' charities said the sentence was too lenient, but Leveson told the BBC: "[The judge] had to balance the insult caused to those who were respecting the two minutes silence against the right which we all have to express ourselves freely."

Perhaps ominously for the Sun, Leveson lived in Liverpool for 44 years before moving to London. The Merseyside city is famously hostile to the News International tabloid, where a boycott is still in place 22 years after it reported on the Hillsborough football disaster with a story headlined 'The Truth' which claimed drunken Liverpool fans had hampered rescue efforts.

Sign up for our daily newsletter