Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rose West Qc Heads Hacking Inquiry

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rose West Qc Heads Hacking Inquiry

Article excerpt

Byline: Joe Murphy Political Editor

THE man who prosecuted Rose West was today put in charge of the inquiry into the phone hacking scandal with the power to summon witnesses who will be questioned on oath.

Lord Justice Leveson will have the authority to call leading figures from Rupert Murdoch's News International empire as well as politicians and senior policemen.

He was the barrister who led the case against West, Britain's most prolific woman serial killer, who was sentenced to life in 1995 for the murders of 10 women and girls including her 16-year-old daughter.

The independent statutory inquiry was announced this afternoon by David Cameron in the Commons. He told MPs that it was time to "confront" uneasy questions about the cosy relationship between political leaders, media bosses and police in the wake of the News of the World scandal.

The Prime Minister said: "There is a firestorm engulfing parts of the media, parts of the police and indeed our political system's ability to respond."

In another day of fast-moving developments: The crisis for Mr Murdoch went global, with calls in the US Senate for a probe into claims that 9/11 victims were targeted for hacking and a review of payments made by his Australian media arm.

Parliament united behind Ed Miliband's motion for Mr ?Murdoch to withdraw his takeover bid for BSkyB --although the Prime Minister was not expected to stay for the debate.

Government ministers could be forced to disclose high-level meetings with media editors and executives under new transparency rules.

After a week of struggling to keep up with the torrent of revelations including the hacking of Milly Dowler's phone and those of 7/7 victim's relatives, Mr Cameron sought to regain the initiative by dramatically beefing up the inquiry and widening its scope far beyond the News of the World.

His choice of judge was expected to be praised widely. As Brian Leveson, QC, he was an outstanding prosecutor whose most famous success was in leading the team of lawyers against West.

He will be in overall charge of a separate panel of experts in media, politics and the law who will inquire into press regulation, media ethics and the influence of powerful proprietors. …

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