29/01/2004

Probe launched over leaking of Hutton Report

Lord Hutton has today ordered an inquiry into how the conclusions of his report found their way onto the Sun's frontpage ahead of its official publication.

In a statement today, Lord Hutton said that he had "put in train an urgent investigation" into how the Sun's political correspondent Trevor Kavanagh managed to get his hands on the report.

Twenty-four hours prior to the report's official publication at 1.30pm yesterday, the six parties involved in the inquiry - the government; the BBC; Dr Kelly's family; the Speaker's Counsel; 'Today' journalist Andrew Gilligan; and 'Newsnight' journalist Susan Watts – were handed advance copies of the report.

The probe will consider the handling of the copies and will also include the handling of the report by the Inquiry itself and by the printers. The report was sent to an undisclosed location for printing on January 19.

The Solicitor to the Inquiry, Martin Smith, will establish an audit trail of copies of the report and those who had access to them before its publication, Lord Hutton's statement said.

"In the light of the outcome Lord Hutton will review what further steps he might take," it concluded.

The Sun's Trevor Kavanagh has said that the report was given to him by a trusted source, but he refused to reveal who that was.

(gmcg)

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