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.

Misinformed?

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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3 reader comments

  1. Neil Craig says:

    I see that all 3 people in that picture are white.

    Since Mr Crick denounced UKIP as racist because the cover of their convention programme was all white, he must, if in any way honest, have denounced the government as racist for the same reason. After all C4 is legally required to be “balanced” and they wouldn’t dream of breaking the law, even if the government wants them too as part of a totalitarian propaganda campaign against UKIP, would they.

    Inexplicably I am unable to see where Crick has made that accusation.

    Perhaps it is hidden on an inner page, as pictures of non-whites were in the UKIP document. If we cannot expect Mr Crick to have opened, let alone read, the document he was reporting to the country about, I trust I will be forgiven for not finding where, being an honest if misguided, fellow, Crick has publicly denounced the government as racist.

    No?

  2. Andrew Dundas says:

    Is there a difference between an out-of-court settlement and one that is imposed by a Court?

    1. Graham King says:

      The question refers to “settlements” which on any reasonable view must include out of court settlements. Has the AG returned to parliament to account for the incorrect information he gave?

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