Tuesday 12 December 2017

Video: Man attempts to attack Rupert Murdoch at hearing

A man is handcuffed and removed after attacking Rupert Murdoch at the Commons hearing
A man is handcuffed and removed after attacking Rupert Murdoch at the Commons hearing
James and Rupert Murdoch answer questions during the Commons committee hearing. Photo: PA

Independent.ie reporters

An intruder burst into the House of Commons committee hearing and attempted to attack media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

The demonstrator threw a plate with white foam on it at Rupert Murdoch while his son James was being questioned.

He was dressed in a check shirt and was handcuffed by police and removed from the room.

Mr Murdoch's wife Wendi and his son James jumped to his defence as the attack was launched as the final questions were being asked by MPs. Mrs Murdoch, who had sat behind her husband throughout his appearance before the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee, appeared to strike back at the assailant in defence of her husband.

The hearing was suspended for ten minutes following the incident.

Earlier, Rupert Murdoch told British MPs that he does not accept responsibility for wrongdoing at the News of the World.

He claimed: "I do not accept ultimate responsibility. I hold responsible the people that I trusted to run it and they people they trusted''.

He earlier said he was appalled when he heard that reporters had hacked into the voicemails of missing teenager Milly Dowler.

A contrite Mr Murdoch today appeared before MPs and declared: "This is the most humble day of my life".

Sitting alongside his son, James, the 80-year-old media mogul said that he was "more than prepared" to answer the questions of the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee into the phone hacking scandal.

The start of the keenly-awaited hearing in the Wilson Room of Portcullis House was briefly disrupted as some protesters were removed

James Murdoch, News Corp's deputy chief operating officer, opened by saying how sorry he and his father were to the victims in the News of the World phone-hacking scandal.

"It is a matter of great regret of mine, my father's and everyone at News Corporation. These actions do not live up to the standards our company aspires to everywhere around the world," he said.

"It is our determination both to put things right, make sure these things don't happen again, and to be the company that I know that we have always aspired to be."

James Murdoch told the committee the company acted "swiftly" as soon as it became aware of fresh evidence over phone hacking following a series of civil actions in 2010, particularly the case involving actress Sienna Miller.

It became apparent that more people than originally believed were victims of the practice, he added.

Mr Murdoch Jnr said: "Subsequent to our discovery of that information in one of these civil trials at the end of 2010, which I believe was the Sienna Miller case, the company immediately went to look at additional records around the individual involved, the company alerted the police and restarted, on that basis, the investigation that is now under way."

He said the company had apologised "unreservedly, which I repeat today," to phone hacking victims.

He added: "The company acted as swiftly and transparently as possible."

Asked by Labour MP Tom Watson whether he had been "misled" by senior employees, Mr Murdoch senior replied: "Clearly."

Mr Watson pointed out that former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks admitted in 2003 that police were paid for information.

Mr Murdoch senior said: "I am now aware of that, I was not aware at the time. I'm also aware that she amended that considerably very quickly afterwards."

Mr Watson said: "I think she amended it seven or eight years afterwards but did you or anyone else in your organisation investigate it at the time?"

Mr Murdoch replied: "No. I didn't know of it.

"I'm sorry, if I can just say something and this is not as an excuse, maybe it's an explanation of my laxity.

"The News of the World is less than 1% of our company. I employ 53,000 people around the world who are proud and great and ethical and distinguished people, professionals in their work.

"I'm spread watching and appointing people whom I trust to run those divisions."

Mr Yates said the Met turned over a "huge amount of staff", many on short-term contracts.

"There are numerous examples from numerous senior people, both within the Metropolitan Police and Metropolitan Police Authority, where people who are known to those people have been employed on a short-term basis and some have even become permanent employees. So it is not unusual."


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