BBC IN NEW SAV­ILE COVER UP

Se­nior staff al­lowed to cen­sor in­quiry ev­i­dence about them­selves

Midweek Sport - - NEWS - By JON LIVESEY jonl@sun­daysport.co.uk

THE BBC is at the cen­tre of an­other ‘cover-up’ storm af­ter it was claimed em­ploy­ees have been per­mit­ted to cen­sor crit­i­cism of their han­dling of the Jimmy Sav­ile scan­dal.

This week will see the publi­ca­tion of a po­ten­tially damn­ing report fol­low­ing an in­quiry into how the Beeb ran its probe into the late, dis­graced paedo TV pre­sen­ter.

Headed by Nick Pol­lard, a former head of Sky News, the re­view fo­cuses on why a News­night in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the Sav­ile abuse claims was scrapped. It’s spawned thou­sands of pages of state­ments from wit­nesses, which are thought to con­tain crit­i­cisms of sev­eral mem­bers of staff.

How­ever, ac­cord­ing to sources, 19 Beeb em­ploy­ees – many of whom are con­demned in the report – have been al­lowed to cast their eyes over the tran­scripts and GET RID of the bits they don’t like.

Storm

Fur­ther­more, it is al­leged that the BBC even of­fered to give the mem­bers of staff up to £3,500 each so they could pay lawyers to help them redact the ref­er­ences.

If ev­ery one of them has taken up the of­fer, the BBC will have to shell out £66,500 of li­cence-pay­ers’ money.

The rev­e­la­tions are likely to bring re­newed flak to the Beeb, which has had to weather the Sav­ile storm for the past six months.

A BBC in­sider said: “All those who have given ev­i­dence were be­ing of­fered the op­por­tu­nity to look at the ev­i­dence of oth­ers and to redact oth­ers’ ev­i­dence.

“They were of­fered £3,500 worth of le­gal ex­penses in or­der that lawyers could go through the ev­i­dence.

“It is ab­so­lutely stag­ger­ing that you’re al­lowed to redact some­one else’s ev­i­dence if you don’t like it. The fact that some­one on the end of crit­i­cism can dis­tort what was said about them seems bizarre.”

Ac­cord­ing to the source, the state­ments were held in rooms in an un­named BBC build­ing in Lon­don last week, so that the em­ploy­ees and their lawyers could in­spect them for per­sonal crit­i­cisms and re­quest for them to be deleted.

Stag­ger­ing

Some big names were said to be among those sin­gled out for blame be­fore cer­tain cen­sures were re­moved from tes­ti­monies.

Mean­while, it is un­der­stood that Peter Rip­pon, who stood down as News­night ed­i­tor amid the furore in Oc­to­ber, is still col­lect­ing a £150,000 salary de­spite hav­ing no of­fi­cial post at the cor­po­ra­tion.

The source added: “What I find stag­ger­ing about this is that not a sin­gle per­son has been sacked.

“No­body has lost their job.”

Former Top Of The Pops host Sav­ile is ac­cused of sex­u­ally as­sault­ing scores of women, many of them un­der the age of con­sent, be­fore his death in 2011.

A BBC spokesman said: “The BBC has of­fered a small capped amount in le­gal fees to those who wish to make le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tions on the Pol­lard ma­te­rial that we will pub­lish.”

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