Sky News chief apologises to Leveson Inquiry for misleading hacking claim

Sky news’s John Ryley today apologised to the Leveson Inquiry for mistakenly claiming the station had never intercepted communications.

At the end of a one-and-a-half hour questioning by junior counsel David Barr, Ryley, head of news at the station, said that a letter submitted to the Inquiry by Sky News denying intercepts had solely been concerned with phone-hacking. Last month, the station admitted to hacking emails in two investigations relating to  “canoe man” John Darwin and fugitive couple Martin and Lianne Smith.

Separately today, broadcasting regulator Ofcom announced it would be investigating Sky News’s email hacking.

Ryley said Sky News would in future “pretty much rule out” unlawful behaviour by journalists, but added that any requests to carry out subterfuge would be recorded in writing.

Lord Justice Leveson had earlier reminded Ryley that while communications interception may have been carried out in the name of public interest, no prima facie public interest defence existed in the Computer Misuse Act.

The hearings continue this afternoon, with media owners represented by Evgeny Lebedev for Independent newspapers and Aidan Barclay for the Telegraph group.

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