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Leveson inquiry: DPP faced \'pushback\' to proposed email probe

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Arab Today, arab today Leveson inquiry: DPP faced \'pushback\' to proposed email probe

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The director of public prosecution,s Keir Starmer QC, told the Leveson inquiry today that he experienced "a degree of pushback" against his proposal to further examine the so-called For Neville email in 2009. Starmer told the inquiry that he "was concerned as to whether there had been other suspects" and that after seeing the email in 2009 he "was a little concerned that that didn't correspond which what I'd understood to be the position only two or three days before." He said he went on to carry out "a series of phone calls" with the then-commissioner of the Metropolitan police and former assistant commissioner John Yates, and agreed to meet Yates on the following Monday morning to discuss the matter. "There was a degree of pushback against my suggestion there should be a reinvestigation or further examination of the For Neville email," Starmer said. "To the best of my recollection Yates said it was not new, it has been seen before and thus I took from that that he didn't consider at that stage there was any point for investigating the For Neville email." Starmer told the inquiry that said while there was "a degree of pushback" to his initial suggestion for further investigation, Yates did agree to discuss it further on that Monday which Starmer said "seemed quite sensible". At the meeting Starmer said that Yates again shared his view that "none of this was new material". "I was concerning myself with stuff which had been seen at the time and, in his view, seen by counsel." But Starmer said he "wasn't inclined to leave it there" and that "the sensible thing for me to do was to formally ask Perry [David Perry QC, leading counsel in prosecution of Glenn Mulcaire and Clive Goodman] questions" about if he saw the email at the time, and if not, what he made of it now. "Rather than pursue my invitation to Yates to reopen the investigation, to which he was pushing back to some extent, the next best option was to go to Perry for some further advice." He said he did not experience any pushback from Perry, who also gave evidence to the Leveson inquiry earlier today. Looking at to 2011 Starmer said he felt "frustration and concern" at "what appeared to be emerging from the Sienna Miller action". Starmer said this "cast some doubt on what I assumed to be the position" and that he "felt I'd been in that place too many times". "Even though it was, would be more resource-intensive, a more wide-ranging examination was necessary, at least to reassure me about the position." He added that "at that stage I thought nothing less than a root and branch review of all the material that we have and the police have is now going to satisfy me about this case. "And that's why I indicated in fact to Tim Godwin, who I think was then Acting Commissioner, that I had for my part reached the view that we could no longer approach this on a piecemeal basis looking at bits of material and we really had to roll our sleeves up and look at everything." At a further meeting with Starmer said he made it clear he "was determined to have full review of information". "To be fair to Yates he did not seek to block that approach and in the end agreed to it. By then I had reached a stage where I was really not in the mood to be dissuaded from my course of action." He added: "The review was begun, but 12 days later the investigation was reopened. My principal legal adviser, Alison Levitt, is in charge of the CPS team now advising the police in relation to the reopened and much wider investigation, and the view I formed is that the review can't be completed until we've reached decisions one way or the other whether anybody should be charged, and I certainly wouldn't want to be publishing any review before that stage has been reached."  

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