Leveson: Guido should be denied 'oxygen of publicity'

The Leveson Inquiry is this morning considering whether to force political blogger Guido Fawkes to remove a copy of Alastair Campbell's witness statement from his website.

Lord Justice Leveson said he was 'absolutely not prepared'to allow Paul Staines, the man behind the Order-Order website, 'the oxygen of publicity".

Staines yesterday highlighted contentious elements in Campbell's evidence – which he claims were obtained legally – and provided a link to the 16-page document hosted on the website scribd.com.

Leveson said he was initially minded to publish Campbell's evidence on the Leveson Inquiry website.

'I am absolutely not prepared to allow the gentleman who has this statement on his website at the moment the oxygen of additional publicity so that all can see it there but nowhere else,'he said.

'So my view last night was that it should be published today, two days in advance."

The proposal was opposed by the QC for Daily Mail publisher Associated Newspapers, Jonathan Caplan.

He claimed that while the leak itself had been reported the contents of the statement had not been 'widely disseminated".

He was also concerned that Campbell's statement makes a number of serious allegations against organisations who would be unable to respond until he gives evidence on Wednesday.

Caplan was asked by Leveson to make submissions on what 'mechanisms'were in place to require the statement be removed from the web.

Counsel for the inquiry Robert Jay QC suggested Leveson could make an order under Section 19 of the 2005 Inquiries Act, but noted Staines would also need to be given the opportunity to make representations.

Leveson also made an order under section 19(2)(b) of the Inquiries Act intended to stop future publication of documents leaked from his inquiry.

The order reads in draft form: "No witness statement provided to the inquiry, whether voluntarily or under compulsion, nor any exhibit to such statement, nor any other document provided to the inquiry shall be published or disclosed, whether in whole or in part, outside the confidentiality circle comprising of the chairman, his assessors, the inquiry team and the core participants and their legal representatives, prior to the maker of the statement giving oral evidence to the inquiry or the statement being read into evidence or summarised into evidence by a member of the inquiry team as the case may be, without the express permission of the chairman."

Anyone who was 'potentially liable for breach of the order and can be referred to the High Court for appropriate action,'said Leveson.

'In that way, for the future, howsoever the document has come into the possession of the person who put it into the public domain, that person will potentially be liable."

Leveson said he intended to issue a notice under Section 21 of the Act requiring Staines to give evidence to the inquiry this week.

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