Charlotte Church and Jacqui Hames added to hacking investigation

 

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The Independent Online

The singer Charlotte Church and former Crimewatch presenter Jacqui Hames have had their requests granted to be included in the inquiry into media ethics and phone hacking.

The pair were given the green light today by Lord Justice Leveson, the judge overseeing the inquiry.

He also gave core participant status to the television presenter Anne Diamond, an anonymous individual, known only as HJK, and Jane Winter.

Barrister David Sherborne, who represents a group of "victims", asked for Church and Hames to be added to the list of Core Participants (CPs) in the first stage of the probe, at a hearing last month.

The total group of victims who are core participants now stands at 53.

The group, represented by Mr Sherborne, already includes actress Sienna Miller, PR guru Max Clifford, serving MPs, and Christopher Shipman, son of mass murderer Harold Shipman.

The first part of the inquiry will look at the culture, ethics and practices of the press and its relationship with the police and politicians.

Core participants for this part also include former MPs such as Lord Prescott and Mark Oaten, as well as football agent Sky Andrew and Coronation Street actress Shobna Gulati.

But Rebekah Brooks, former editor of The Sun and the News of the World, and former chief executive officer of News International, was refused the status by Lord Justice Leveson previously.

He said her involvement was more focused on the second part of the inquiry.

Today, it emerged the judge had refused an application from Surrey Police for CP status.

The force's QC, John Beggs, had argued it should have been granted to them because they were involved in allegations of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler's phone being hacked - and her family had CP status.

Lord Justice Leveson said the Inquiry Rules 2006 "provide ample opportunity for the interests of those affected by evidence to be protected without necessarily granting core participant status".

The judge did grant CP status to the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), saying: "Journalists may well speak to the union when they would not speak to the Inquiry and a senior representative journalist will no doubt be able to put evidence together (whether or not it is necessary to protect every source) which could be of value."

Telegraph Media Group and Trinity Mirror also have the status.

PA