|Jonathan King, not as Lord Justice Leveson|
Q: Darling, you've applied to be a 'core participant' in the Leveson Inquiry - I may have missed it, but what's the outcome? Or if there is no outcome, when will you know the decision?
JK: The outcome was pretty rapidly NO, I'm NOT a Core Participant Victim (not yet proved to be a hacking victim, in the fairly narrow confines of the Inquiry description) but will hopefully be called as a Witness in the next couple of months.
Q: Can you tell us the gist of what you'd like to say to Leveson? For instance, would you mention how Andy Coulson at the News of the World rigged a photo of you in a park to make it appear you were ogling young people?
JK: Very much - the "Pervert in the Park" doctored photo is prime evidence of how one single witness for the NOTW (Editor Andy Coulson), denying they did it, was enough to convince the head of the committee examining it at the PCC (Les Hinton - then boss of News International, owner of NOTW) that the paper had NOT breached the PCC code. The executive "meant" to be in charge of my complaint was Stephen Abell - now Chairman of the PCC. My evidence alone could shut down the PCC.
I believe my entire prosecution is incredibly illuminating to the Inquiry regarding the relationship between Police and Media. Whether GOOD (Crimewatch) or BAD - my case shows how a case can be constructed and get to a conviction with no evidence - just one person's word against another's. Likewise the fascinating "Matthew Kelly" incident, just days before my appeal was due to be heard. I've had first hand experience. For example - how precisely did The Sun hear about my arrest (they were at my front door within minutes)? And was a photographer really strolling through Hyde Park at just the moment I was there being interviewed for a TV show?
Q: What do you think of Leveson so far? Do you think the judge should be careful of saying over and over again that he thinks most of the journalism out there is good and valuable?
JK: I'm thoroughly enjoying the Inquiry. Leveson himself has won a JK Best Supporting Eyebrows Oscar. But yes, his determination to be fair at all points, whilst laudable, is also illustrative of how the law suffocates truth with boredom, even if it doesn't intend to. I fear that the Inquiry might err towards condemnation and restriction of the media where it needs to focus on how the whole system has been broken.
Q: Which witnesses have especially improved or damaged their reputation as a result of appearing at Leveson?
JK: I seem to feel differently to everyone else. I'm a fan of Kelvin's, so I'm biased. I thought Richard Desmond was very good and quite funny whereas Paul (Dolly) Dacre was mumbly, irritated, truculent and snappy. I'm glad Steve Coogan won all that money - maybe now he can afford a decent haircut. Talking of haircuts, virtually EVERY Editor has ghastly hair. Richard Wallace of the Mirror is tonsorially extraordinary. Hislop was fun. Waxie Maxie is clearly not a well man. He dressed for a funeral, kept chewing and gurning, shifting and looking uneasy. I fear he won't be with us for much longer; such a shame. He's kept us all entertained for so many years.
Q: Will Leveson make much of a difference in the end?
JK: I don't think the Inquiry was intended to. It was set up by Spoonface Cameron to make him appear (in the media) to be strong and forceful (bombing innocents in Libya wasn't doing it). I think Leveson himself has every intention of improving things and he can if he doesn't allow himself to be steered into the wrong direction. After all, the horrendous crime of giving the parents of a dead teenager false hope for a few weeks (can anyone explain why that is SO dreadful?) may shock us all (in the media) far more than the inefficiency of our civil servants but the broken system needs far more than a Band Aid and the media is the least of our problems. The millions of our tax monies spent on an Inquiry might have been better wasted prosecuting football managers or paying banker bonuses.
Q: And finally, what's the Inquiry room like? Any BO?
JK: Far smaller than one thinks, no smells or farts but lots of computer screens - apt. The Royal Courts however are glorious - I'll turn it into a hotel any day if they'll let me. It's wasted as it is. To think, my lips have now sipped from the same glass as Hugh Grant, Paul (Dolly) Dacre, Heather Mills and the McCanns! And my buttocks have graced the same seat as Neville Thurlbeck. Isn't life a fascinating parade of excitement.
Thank you so much for your time.