Leveson condemns inquiry leaks


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The Independent Online

Lord Justice Leveson has criticised leaks from his inquiry, including this week's revelation that Scotland Yard loaned a horse to former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks.

The Metropolitan Police informed the Leveson Inquiry on February 14 that Ms Brooks "fostered" a retired police horse called Raisa between 2008 and 2010.

Details of the loan of the animal prompted fresh criticism that Scotland Yard was too close to News International.

Lord Justice Leveson warned today that he could restrict advance release of witness statements to core participants - people who have a significant interest in the hearings or may face criticism - if the leaks continue.

He said: "I am concerned to hear that over the last two days requests have been made to the Metropolitan Police for confirmation of details which suggest that there has been prior disclosure of the statements of some of the witnesses who are due to give evidence to this inquiry.

"I am disturbed about it, not only because leaks would constitute a breach of the confidentiality agreement that everybody has signed, but also because it runs the risk of disrupting the way in which this inquiry can proceed.

"I don't intend to seek to make inquiries as to these particular leaks.

"But if this continues I shall review the way in which I provide pre-warning to core participants of statements of witnesses."

Lord Justice Leveson did not specify which leaks he was referring to, but it is understood they include the story about the horse loaned to Ms Brooks.