6 May 2013

Stuart Hall: BBC announces ‘freestanding’ investigation

The BBC announces a “freestanding investigation” into the conduct of veteran broadcaster Stuart Hall, who has admitted indecently assaulting 13 girls.

A BBC spokesman announced that the investigation would take place because of a “potential conflict of interest” concerning Dame Janet Smith, the judge heading up the BBC inquiry into the culture at the corporation during the years that Jimmy Savile worked there.

The conflict of interest is that Dame Janet knows Ray Colley, who worked with Hall at the BBC in Manchester.

“In light of a potential conflict of interest with Dame Janet Smith there will be a freestanding investigation covering Stuart Hall’s conduct at the BBC which will feed into her review,” the spokesman said. “This work will be led by a different individual appointed by the BBC.”


At the start of May, Hall pleaded guilty to assaulting 13 girls, the youngest of whom was nine, between the 1960s and the 1980s. He could now face jail, and was called, by the chief prosecutor in the action against him, an “opportunistic predator”.

On Sunday Lord Patten, chairman of the BBC Trust, admitted that the corporation may face compensation claims from Hall’s victims.

Asked on the Andrew Marr Show whether the BBC would be liable, he said: “I imagine so, but that will be a matter for the lawyers and conceivably the courts.

“I think it would be incredible to be able to do that (estimate the cost of compensation) now because first of all what needs to happen is that we need to be able to get a grip on what happened and of course, in the meantime, co-operate with the police.

“It’s a different case from the Savile case because the main person who is alleged to have committed these crimes – who has committed these crimes, he has owned up to some of them – is actually alive.”

The Dame Janet Smith Review said in March that it had been in contact with around 450 people and has had over 275 telephone conversations with witnesses. In-person witness interviews have taken place with 80 witnesses, a number of whom were subject to inappropriate sexual conduct by Jimmy Savile.