Sunday, 4 July 2010

Transcript of Tony Legend Show with Mark Daly (BBC) Part 1

Tony Legend Show: BBC's Mark Daly v Robert Green

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View Part 4

First video (transcript beneath):

TL = Tony Legend
MD = Mark Daly

TL: This is Manchester video online dot com. Twenty-five minutes to nine right now. that was Junior Kelly with Corruption. Alright then, I’m joined now by Mark Daly from BBC Scotland ... and Mark, I appreciate you having the guts to come on and tell your side of the story so I’d like to first of thank you for your time and thank you for coming on the show tonight.

MD: Hi Tony, how you doing? Well yeah, thanks for having me on the show. Erm, I guess by way of an opening statement I just like to say that I didn’t have any intention of coming onto a program like this to justify my actions or the BBC’s actions. I have no wish to compound what is already an extremely tragic and very sad situation. However, over the weeks and months I’ve been, you know, a victim of a sustained barrage of abuse about mine and the BBC’s decision to drop this story, erm, which we did, no question about it, we did look at this story and we did drop so tonight I’ve come onto the program to explain my reasons for doing that.

Erm, I don’ know, there are some things I’m going to say tonight which probably won’t be that easy for some of the people in the studio to hear but I feel that my hand has been forced. I just hoped that erm, you Tony, erm give me a fair hearing and I’m very pleased that Mr Green is on the program as well to join in with the debate.

TL: Alright, let’s just start at the beginning if that’s alright. How did you first hear of Hollie Greg?

MD: Well, the story was passed to me and I’ll summarise very quickly how my involvement in this story began. I spoke to Robert Green and I spoke to Anne, and erm, I had a few conversations over a a few days and I asked for a selection of paperwork to be sent to me. I was told that there was a massive bundle of paperwork which is always good for guys like me. So I asked for this to be sent to me and it was sent, and on the face of it there was an extremely powerful story what you had was, erm, some (unintelligible) very serious allegations.

Now at the time we were looking to do a program about justice and how people with learning disabilities have problems accessing justice for precisely the kinds of reasons that you people are campaigning, that their not viewed as credible witnesses. This is an extremely important issue and one which the BBC thought that we would have a look at. What Hollie would have been was probably our chief case study. So on the basis of the evidence which we had, erm, it looked like there was some strong grounds to support Hollie’s allegation that she’d been abused by ... probably by somebody in her family. That was supported by a letter from a senior police officer and the fact that she had received compensation despite no charges being brought.

So on that basis alone there was a very strong program there. There were some other allegations about a wider paedophile ring, now ...I’ve been a journalist for a lot of years, erm, I’ve done programs about many things, paedophiles is one of them. I did a program called “Britain's most wanted paedophiles,” I’ve chased five ‘on the run’ paedophiles around Europe for months until they were finally back in police custody. I know quite a lot about the subject and I know that these things do happen and I know they happen in Britain and I know that some times they happen under our own noses, so I was prepared that these allegations could have some grounds, but the basis on the initial allegations, about the initial abuse carried out by somebody in her family – those allegations looked like they stood up. I some opening conversations with our lawyer about whether or not I would have enough evidence to confront this person and it looked like I probably did and on that basis I was given a provisional commission to make two programs, TV, half hour for Scotland and er, radio, half hour for Scotland.

Now you must understand that journalists look into dozens and dozens of stories every year. Some make it, most don’t. Some get commissioned and some get dropped mid way through a commission because maybe a story isn’t there or it’s not what they thought or other things come up, that’s just part of television.

So, what we then did...and you know, Robert you read the email out on this very program Tony, so erm, I’m not debating I never have done about the fact that there was a provisional commission to make a program on this case, so what next happened, I and my team travelled down to see Anne and Hollie, Robert Green was also there and, erm, we spent four or five hours talking to the family who, like I said at the time, I like very much and sympathise very much er...particularly all the paperwork which we’d asked for worked very very quickly, in fact almost as soon as we came out of the house we knew that there were problems, but you know, in a week or two we came to the conclusion that this was not a story that we could proceed with.

We knew that the vast majority of these allegations were unprovable and we were not in a position to pick and choose which allegations we wanted to believe, so we dropped the story. Now, Anne’s response, as was this is before you come back with questions, I’m sure you’ve got a few ...I took the precaution when I phoned up Anne, to erm...when I was telling her about this, er, my reasons for dropping the story, I took the precaution of secretly recording... not secretly...recording the conversation for (purposes?) and also recorded the conversation with Robert Green for not taking (purposes?) and with the BBC you can do that but you’re not allowed to broadcast that material, it’s just to protect you, for example if the case comes to court or something like that.

Now, as you know, both Anne and Robert have alleged that I told them that I had to drop this story because I was forced to by my bosses, because of pressure from the government, pressure from a legal company...a legal firm called ‘Levan McCray’(?) and that I was in fear for my job, therefore I had to drop this story. Now, that conversation did not take place. Those words were not spoken and I’m afraid that I have the recorded evidence to prove it. However, that didn’t stop Robert and Anne going around the country, going on various satellite television channels, online video stations and writing that in fact I had been forced to drop the story, that I was a journalistic coward and I was in fear for my job. Now I’m afraid that isn’t, that just isn’t true because I’m not in the business of shying away from big stories, these stories are what I do. I’ve taken on some of the biggest institutions in the country, government, police, erm..I do investigate paedophile stories, if I thought I could run this one I would have done and the suggestion that I or the BBC would have walked away from a story because it’s too big or we were too scared, it’s fanciful, it just is. It’s misguided and insulting, er if this story was what er I was told it was I would’ve been all over it and I’m afraid the evidence did not support it.
Now, I’ve got many, many other things that I want to say but I want to give you or Robert a chance to come in and er asked something.

TL: Well, I’ll just like to go...I’ve got an email here from Marcus Ryder, now Marcus is your editor, is that correct?

MD: That’s true

TL: Now, I’ve got a letter here, it’s to Mr Green, that’s Robert Green, it’s from Marcus Ryder, now he says in the middle of this: When Mark Daly told Anne that he could lose his job if he were to broadcast this story, clearly (?) behind this is that it would be careless and unprofessional to broadcast allegations which could not be proven – careless and unprofessional workers rarely keep their jobs and I understand that and that’s fair enough...

MD: That’s exactly what I said and then at the end of my conversation I said, look, if I was the kind of journalist that went around broadcasting allegations which I knew were unprovable, which I knew I could never find the evidence to back it up then, journalists like that won’t stay journalists for very long. Now, somehow in that explanation it’s gone from that to me being in fear for my job because I’ve been pressurised by my boss, the government and levy McCray, now those two things don’t just tie up Tony. Now I ask you Tony, as a journalist which you told me you are, does it ring true to you that a journalist who’s done the kind of work I’ve done would suddenly decide to walk away from a story because he was scared? If I’d been told by the BBC or the government that I must drop this story that I...

End of first video (second part in article above)