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Breaking the law 'can shed light'
A senior broadcaster has told the inquiry into press standards that there may be occasions when journalists have to consider breaking the law to "shed light" on wrongdoing.
But John Ryley, head of Sky News, told the Leveson Inquiry that such occasions would be "very, very rare".
Mr Ryley was speaking as the latest phase of the inquiry - overseen by Lord Justice Leveson - began in London.
He was asked when Sky News might consider breaking the law in pursuit of stories. "Journalism is at times a tough business," he said. "And we need at times to shed light into wrongdoing. There may be an occasion. It would be very, very rare."
Mr Ryley was probed about the occasion when one of his reporters hacked the email account of back-from-the-dead canoeist John Darwin. Darwin, 61, faked his own death in a canoeing accident in 2002 so his wife could claim hundreds of thousands of pounds from insurance policies and pension schemes.
The evidence discovered by North of England correspondent Gerard Tubb was handed to police and used in the successful prosecution of Darwin's wife Anne, 60, for insurance and pension fraud.
The Darwins, from Seaton Carew, near Hartlepool, were jailed at Teesside Crown Court in 2008 for the swindle, which deceived the police, a coroner, financial institutions and even their sons, Mark and Anthony.
The inquiry heard how Mr Tubb learned from a "source close to the prosecution" that an email account used by Mr Darwin was not going to be used as evidence. He accessed the account in June 2008 while working on a "court backgrounder" to go out at the conclusion of the trial.
"John Darwin had been using emails to go about his business in the five years that he had disappeared," Mr Ryley said. "Sources close to the prosecution made clear that they were not going to be following up on the emails."
Ten days after accessing the account, the findings were reported to the police, and the inquiry heard that the detail was "pivotal" in the case against the fraudsters.