There have been top level resignations at both the Metropolitan Police and News International. But what about the CPS?
I just asked ex-Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner:
“Mr Yates, you explained when we started our inquiry in September that CPS advice had constrained the Met’s investigation. Indeed, as late as July 2009 – and you said just now that one of the things you did then was check the CPS advice, although I believe that you told us before you did not seek new advice from them yourself – they told our sister DCMS committee at that time that the law meant:
‘To prove the criminal offence of interception the prosecution must prove that the actual message was intercepted prior to it being accessed by the recipient’
In light of that, do you think that there has been a fair allocation of blame between the police and the CPS?”
Mr Yates replied (from memory):
“No, I don’t … I feel as if I have been hitting my head against the proverbial brick wall trying to get this point across … anyone who doesn’t think that a police investigation is framed by the legal advice isn’t living in the real world.”
In my view the CPS legal advice, e.g. as stated above, was simply wrong. They seem to have just completely ignored section 2(7) of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act which clearly provides:
“the times while a communication is being transmitted … include any time when the system … is used for it in a manner that enables the intended recipient to collect it or otherwise have access to it” (my emphasis).
We are about to question the current and previous Director of Public Prosecutions. Will either of them take responsibility for the failings of the CPS in the way John Yates and Sir Paul Stephenson have at the Met?