Sketch: Leveson shows judge's discretion on jaunt Down Under

Share
Related Topics

The arcane niceties of the tort of privacy would not normally pack the grand ballroom of Sydney's Shangri-La Hotel, but when the speaker is a man who has just spent 17 months dissecting the ethics of the British press, a large turn-out is assured.

Popping his head above the parapet for the first time since delivering his landmark report last week, Lord Justice Leveson this morning outlined some of his views on media regulation to a symposium on privacy organised by the University of Technology Sydney.

If the A$950-a-head (£620) audience was expecting insights into the thinking behind his 1,987-page report, they might have felt short-changed. "It may be that some of you are hoping that I will elaborate and take you behind the scenes of the inquiry," said the Appeal Court judge. "I'm afraid you are going to be disappointed."

It wasn't that he was indifferent to the storm unleashed by his report, it was because he regarded the report as a judgment, "and judges simply do not enter into discussion about judgments".

The speech was one of two which Lord Justice Leveson is to give while in Australia; next Wednesday he will talk about "news gathering in a time of change" at an event organised by the University of Melbourne. The two universities have paid his expenses for the trip, which will include a well-earned break for him and his wife, Lynne.

Their holiday destination is not known. Might it be the Great Barrier Reef, to swim with sharks – or would that seem too much like recent experience for the 63-year-old judge? Might it be Australia's Red Centre, a spiritual place where he could meditate on David Cameron's instant rejection of his report's central recommendation: a statutory body to regulate the press?

Wherever they go, it seems understandable that he should want to put as much space as possible between himself and the political row back home.

At the symposium, Lord Justice Leveson noted that the debate about press regulation was nothing new – it dated back to the late 19th century. He spent much of his address talking about the privacy implications of the internet – an area which his £5m report barely touched on. Recent events such as the Newsnight debacle demonstrated that "there is not only a danger of trial by Twitter, but also of an unending punishment, and no prospect of rehabilitation, via Google", he warned.

PM leaning towards royal charter

The Prime Minister is considering issuing a Royal Charter to underpin a new press watchdog as a way of giving the body official power without resorting to passing a controversial law.

Though it is one of a number of options still under consideration – including having the new body overseen by MPs or by a senior judge – it is understood that David Cameron is now leaning towards the choice of a Royal Charter.

A Royal Charter is issued by the Queen, granting powers to organisations or professional bodies performing unique roles in society, such as the BBC, the Bank of England and the Royal Society.

National newspaper editors said yesterday they had "unanimously agreed to start putting in place the broad proposals – save the statutory underpinning – for the independent self-regulatory system laid out by Lord Justice Leveson".

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

The Green Recruitment Company: Operations Manager - Anaerobic Digestion / Biogas

£40000 - £45000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Operation...

SThree: Experienced Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £40000 per annum + OTE + Incentives + Benefits: SThree: Established f...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Maintenance Person

£7 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care organisation take pride in del...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker

£7 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care organisation take pride in del...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Daily catch-up: How much difference does the wording of a referendum question make?

John Rentoul
 

An unelectable extremist who hijacked their party has already served as prime minister – her name was Margaret Thatcher

Jacques Peretti
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent