HL Deb 20 February 2003 vol 644 c193WA
Lord Patten

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Following the case of Mr Colin Skellet, whether they will set up an independent inquiry, under the chairmanship of a judicial figure, to examine the use of briefings by the police and Crown Prosecution Service given to the press at the time of arrest and to ascertain whether this procedure is prejudicial to the cause of justice, fair trials and the reputation of those against whom all charges are eventually dropped. [HL1559]

The Attorney-General (Lord Goldsmith)

The Crown Prosecution Service did not give briefings to the press at the time of Mr Skellet's arrest. It would be highly unusual for the Crown Prosecution Service to issue such a briefing. Police briefings are given from time to time but I tee no need for a judicial inquiry into such briefings. I do, however, keep under review the use of such briefings in particular cases, as part of my responsibilities in the area of contempt.