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“It has happened because a group of people have indulged in illegal activity and the checks and balances that should have been in place in any newsroom, or any business for that matter, have failed.”

The Leveson inquiry is examining media ethics and could suggest a new regulatory regime for the press.

Dozens of prominent people are lined up to give evidence about alleged media intrusion into their private lives, including actor Hugh Grant, Harry Potter creator JK Rowling, actress Sienna Miller and Formula One boss Max Mosley.


Jill Lawless can be reached at: