Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'No Evidence the Press Routinely Breaks the Law'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'No Evidence the Press Routinely Breaks the Law'

Article excerpt

Byline: Tom Harper

THE judicial investigation into the press was today accused of operating in an "Alice in Wonderland meets Catch-22 world" by the Government's information watchdog.

Christopher Graham rejected sustained criticism of his role as a regulator and told Lord Justice Leveson that he had seen no evidence that Fleet Street was routinely breaking the law.

In heated exchanges with counsel for the inquiry Robert Jay QC, he said his organisation had "raised the alarm" in 2006 about newspapers illegally accessing private information but no one had acted on his warning. The watchdog produced a report which disclosed that most papers had used the private investigator Steve Whittamore, who was convicted of unlawfully obtaining personal data.

Mr Jay repeatedly asked him why the apparent malpractice had not been acted upon by the Information Commissioner since the report in 2006. Mr Graham replied: "We are in an Alice in Wonderland meets Catch-22 world when the Information Commissioner, having sounded the alarm, then is asked by the inquiry to find out what is going on. …

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