30 April 1999
Submissions by the BBC
2. It appears from the outline argument submitted to us in advance of the hearing, and from the course of the argument at the hearing itself, that there was and could be no objection to the production to the Inquiry of documents embodying information that the BBC and Mr Taylor have in their possession relating to Bloody Sunday ("informative material") insofar as that material does not, also, contain material tending to identifying Mr Taylor's confidential sources ("source material"). The real issue was whether Mr Taylor and/or the BBC should be ordered to produce source material.
3. We propose to postpone our ruling on the question of production of source material until after we have received all the informative material, which is not also source material. This is because we cannot rule out the possibility that the content of such material may be relevant to the balancing exercise that we shall have to perform under Section 10 of the Contempt of Court Act of 1981.
4. Accordingly, we require the BBC and Mr Taylor to provide to us all the informative material relating to "Bloody Sunday" which is not, also, source material. The material which we require will include:
(1) material that is, in the view of the BBC and Mr Taylor, already in the public domain;
(2) completed transcripts of filmed interviews of people who were not interviewed against an assurance that they would not be identified; or who have waived any right of confidence they might have;
(3) transcripts of filmed interviews of persons who were interviewed against an assurance that they would not be identified - redacted to such extent (and only to such extent) as is necessary to ensure that the transcript, as redacted, does not tend to identify the source;
(4) the contents of Mr Taylor's notebooks and notepads. Insofar as those contents contain information from persons who were not interviewed against an assurance that they would not be identified, the notebooks and notepads should be produced in full, unless to do so would reveal some other person as the source of information given in confidence. In the latter case, the same type of redaction as is referred to in (3) should be made. Insofar as the notebooks and notepads contain information from persons, who were interviewed against an assurance that their identity would not be revealed, a similar redaction should, also, be made.
As to (1), we do not wish to put the BBC or Mr Taylor to unnecessary trouble. We expect that most of the material that they have and which they believe to be in the public domain, is material that the Inquiry has as well. But the material in the public domain is sizeable and we cannot assume that the Inquiry already has all the material to which the BBC and Mr Taylor are referring. We suggest that, in the first instance, they list the material that they have in this category in order that the appropriate check can be made. There may be equally effective, but different, means of ensuring that there is no such material in the possession of the BBC/Mr Taylor which the Inquiry does not have. We would be prepared to accept any reasonable means of achieving the desired end.
5. The documentary programme "Remember Bloody Sunday" was preceded by a long article in the "The Sunday Times" of 26th January 1992, entitled "Bloody Sunday: An Open Wound". This article contained information gathered from Mr Taylor's researches. A chapter headed "Bloody Sunday" in Mr Taylor's book, "Provo's: The IRA and Sinn Fein" also contains material relating to Bloody Sunday. The material to be produced to the Tribunal should include informative material, which is not also source material, from the researches made for those two publications. We understand that the same body of research led to all three publications. But, if there is any distinction between the three, that is not a reason for not producing the relevant material in respect of all of them. In addition paragraph 7 of Mr Taylor's statement indicates that he took over a project that had already begun, although he did not use any of the existing research. The material to be produced should include that research (redacted as necessary).
6. The material, to which we have referred to above, is material to which Section 10 of the 1981 Act does not apply. The Inquiry's request for information has been outstanding since 30th August 1998. In those circumstances, we are justified in imposing a short time scale for the production of the material. We require it to be produced by Monday 17th May.
7. We propose to circulate the material, once received, to the interested parties. We may invite them to make any brief further submissions, in the light of that material, as to whether or not we should order disclosure of sources. Since, by definition, the material will not identify sources, there cannot be any grounds for failing to publish it.