Today marks thirty years since private investigator Daniel Morgan was brutally murdered in the car park of a south London pub. It also marks the thirtieth anniversary of the search by his family, led by brother Alastair, for justice. Thus far, after several Police investigations and even the recent Panel Inquiry, that justice seems a long way from being done.
Daniel Morgan - murdered 30 years ago today
While the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel is due to report later this year, what those campaigning for justice really need in order to drive their efforts forward is the commitment by the Government to Part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry. Why so? Because the second part of Leveson - not, as some in the press establishment and their hangers-on have pretended, a new Inquiry or one revisiting the ground covered in Part 1 - would examine the relationship between press and Police. The Morgan case is one such area for consideration.
It is not the only matter that Leveson Part 2 might consider: for the Murdoch press, in particular, the spectre of Mazher Mahmood looms large over the inmates of the Baby Shard bunker. Several of Maz’ more creative journalistic efforts - often including “sting” entrapments of targets, and even inventing stories involving bomb plots and kidnappings - may soon result in a number of convictions being quashed as unsafe.
Maz and the rest of the Murdoch mafiosi co-opted the Police in many of his operations. He blatantly impersonated Police officers and other officials. He remained untouched until his dishonesty undid him during his efforts to not merely entrap singer Tulisa Contostavlos, but make the story watertight by tampering with the evidence. There is also the distinct possibility that Maz misled Part 1 of Leveson.
The interference in at least one of the Daniel Morgan investigations by the now defunct Murdoch Screws, in conjunction with Southern Investigations, the agency where Morgan had been a partner, would also be on the agenda of Leveson Part 2. SI became known for using the services of bent coppers. Were other newspapers treading the same path? That, too, is another reason that Leveson Part 2 must go ahead.
On top of all that, there was the high level contact between the Murdoch press and senior officers at the Metropolitan Police. How far up that organisation did the corruption reach? Why did the Murdoch press favour senior cops - like Andy Hayman - with well-paid columns? How far in the Met did the corruption that scuppered the Morgan investigation reach? All this would need to be investigated by Leveson Part 2.
And the spreading of the Dark Arts beyond the Screws would need to be examined, not least as there are more than 20 cases of alleged phone hacking progressing through the courts right now - concerning the Murdoch Sun. Many more have been laid at the door of the Mirror titles, with settlements being reached and compensation paid. But unlike what happened to the Screws, there have been no criminal charges. Why not?
Yet there are still those in the press establishment who are allowed, unchallenged, to claim that Leveson Part 2 is somehow unnecessary, a mere rehash of Part 1. Quite apart from this being in the “Oh what a giveaway” category, it does not stand even the most basic analysis: the terms of reference for both parts of the Inquiry are readily available.
Leveson Part 1 is simply “To inquire into the culture, practices, and ethics of the press”.
Leveson Part 2 is rather more complex, but falls under these summary headings:
“To inquire into the extent of unlawful or improper conduct within News International, other newspaper organisations and, as appropriate, other organisations within the media, and by those responsible for holding personal data”,
“To inquire into the way in which any relevant police force investigated allegations or evidence of unlawful conduct by persons within or connected with News International, the review by the Metropolitan Police of their initial investigation, and the conduct of the prosecuting authorities”,
“To inquire into the extent to which the police received corrupt payments or other inducements, or were otherwise complicit in such misconduct or in suppressing its proper investigation, and how this was allowed to happen”,
“To inquire into the extent of corporate governance and management failures at News International and other newspaper organisations, and the role, if any, of politicians, public servants and others in relation to any failure to investigate wrongdoing at News International”, and
“In the light of these inquiries, to consider the implications for the relationships between newspaper organisations and the police, prosecuting authorities, and relevant regulatory bodies – and to recommend what actions, if any, should be taken”.
Why those opposed to Leveson Part 2 pretend that this is mere duplication and raking over what has gone before, and otherwise resist moves to proceed to Part 2, I will leave to others to make their own conclusions.
And why the Morgan family and their supporters very much want Leveson 2 to proceed should, from a perusal of the case and those terms of reference, be blindingly obvious.
We know there is good reason for Leveson Part 2 to proceed. The least that the Government should do, thirty years after Daniel Morgan’s brutal killing, would be to cut through all the spin and bluster by the press establishment and its useful idiots - and green light the Inquiry, whoever chairs it.
There should not only be no acceptance of corruption involving the Fourth Estate, the Police, politicians and other public servants - there should be an equal willingness to investigate that corruption, root it out, and ensure it does not take root ever again.
Leveson Part 2 not only should, but must, proceed forthwith. End of story.