Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 December 2014

Singer Church added to hack probe

Charlotte Church is now among a group of 'core participants' in the inquiry into media ethics and phone hacking
Charlotte Church is now among a group of 'core participants' in the inquiry into media ethics and phone hacking

Singer Charlotte Church and former Crimewatch presenter Jacqui Hames have had their requests granted to be included in the inquiry into media ethics and phone hacking.

The pair were given the green light by Lord Justice Leveson, the judge overseeing the inquiry.

He also gave core participant status to television presenter Anne Diamond and an anonymous individual, known only as HJK.

Barrister David Sherborne, who represents a group of "victims", asked for Church and Hames to be added to the list of Core Participants (CPs) in the first stage of the probe, at a hearing last month.

The total group of victims who are core participants now stands at 53.

The group, represented by Mr Sherborne, already includes actress Sienna Miller, PR guru Max Clifford, serving MPs, and Christopher Shipman, son of serial killer Harold Shipman.

The first part of the inquiry will look at the culture, ethics and practices of the press and its relationship with the police and politicians. Core participants for this part also include former MPs such as Lord Prescott and Mark Oaten, as well as football agent Sky Andrew and Coronation Street actress Shobna Gulati.

But Rebekah Brooks, former editor of The Sun and the News of the World, and former chief executive officer of News International, was refused the status by Lord Justice Leveson previously. He said her involvement was more focused on the second part of the inquiry.

It has emerged the judge had refused an application from Surrey Police for CP status. The force's QC, John Beggs, had argued it should have been granted to them because they were involved in allegations of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler's phone being hacked - and her family had CP status.

Lord Justice Leveson said the Inquiry Rules 2006 "provide ample opportunity for the interests of those affected by evidence to be protected without necessarily granting core participant status".

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