11 Dec 2013

Has Dominic Grieve misled parliament over CPS libel deal?

In a Parliamentary Question tabled last week David Davis asked the Attorney-General, Dominic Grieve:”how many libel settlements and of what value the Crown Prosecution Service made in each year between 2007 and 2012?”

Yesterday Mr Grieve replied: “The Crown Prosecution Service made no libel settlements between 2007 and 2012.”

Many of us working within Channel 4 are greatly puzzled by this answer.

In 2008, as was widely reported at the time, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Chief Constable of West Midlands Police agreed collectively to pay £50,000 to Hardcash Productions and four other claimants who had been involved in making the Channel 4 Dispatches programme Undercover Mosque which was broadcast in Janaury 2007.

The DPP and the chief constable had alleged that the programme makers were guilty of either dishonestly or grossly recklessly editing film material used in the programme.

The DPP’s allegations were made in a press release published by the Crown Prosecution Service, the body which he supervises.

Fortunately justice was done, the falsehoods were nailed, and the DPP and the West Midlands chief constable also had to pay the legal bills of the Channel 4 team.  The £50,000 was given to a charity, the Rory Peck Trust.


Mr Davis again raised the matter is a Point of Order this lunchtime: “I am quite certain, because I know him so well, there is nobody less likely to mislead the house than the attorney-general , therefore he must be depending on information given to him by the CPS.

“If this House cannot count on the organisation that is supposedly committed to promoting justice in this country, to give us the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth; what can you do to defend us, Mr Speaker?”

Mr Grieve replied: “I think he’s absolutely right that the answer which I gave to him was based on information provided to me by the CPS.

“He has given me information which gives rise to  a question as to whether that’s accurate.

“I take that very seriously and the matter is being looked into urgently and of course when I have an answer for him I will ensure that it is not only supplied to him but also made available to the House.”

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