Warning over inquiry into phone hacking

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Televised coverage of the Leveson Inquiry into phone hacking could begin next month. Although broadcasting arrangements and a final legal framework are still being worked out, Lord Justice Leveson yesterday told a preliminary hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice that he wants to "get on".

But he also revealed that his inquiry still holds the potential to be prejudicial to other criminal proceedings related to illegal phone hacking at News International. He said the current police investigations could take "not weeks, not months" to conclude and admitted that Keith Starmer QC, the director of public prosecutions, remained concerned about the inquiry.

The singer Charlotte Church and the former presenter of the BBC Crimewatch programme, Jacqui Hames, have both delivered late applications to become "core participants" of the inquiry.

If the applications - which will be ruled on by Lord Justice Leveson - are successful, the total group of victims who are Core Participants in the inquiry will be 48.