The BBC has reopened its internal inquiry into broadcaster Huw Edwards after police determined that the News at Ten anchor had no criminal case to answer for allegations that he paid a young person for obscene photos.
According to a BBC spokeswoman, the company would focus on “fact finding,” with the corporation also expected to explore additional complaints of potential workplace misbehavior that are not criminal in nature.
According to the BBC, the focus would be on ensuring due process and a comprehensive review of the facts while “remaining mindful of our duty of care to all involved.”
Vicky Flind, a television producer, named Edwards as the suspended BBC broadcaster on Wednesday. She put an end to days of conjecture by revealing that her husband was the man in question and that he was receiving treatment for mental health concerns in a hospital.
The BBC is likely to consider new charges made by BBC News, which has sent an investigative reporting team to look into Edwards and the BBC’s Newsnight program, as part of its internal probe. They have documented concerns that Edwards made young BBC colleagues feel uneasy by using messaging apps.
Many BBC employees believe Edwards will never be able to return to the broadcaster, where he is the fourth-highest paid on-screen talent, earning £435,000 per year. One possibility is that the internal BBC inquiry concludes that he has a case to answer under his contract, even if his acts were not criminal.
The Sun stated that it would not run any additional charges against Edwards, but that it had given over a “dossier” of unpublished material compiled by its reporters “containing serious and wide-ranging allegations which we have received, including some from BBC personnel.
However, the paper is still grappling with the fallout from its original claim that Edwards had purchased sexual photographs from a 17-year-old, a possible criminal offense. The publication now claims that it never intended to allege illegal wrongdoing and that any allegations of criminal prosecution were produced by other media sources that misread its reporting. Despite the Sun releasing its own report about Edwards facing “years in prison,”
Edwards also used his Twitter account to like a post claiming that the Sun is now facing “the mother of all libel actions.
According to his wife, one of British television’s most recognized faces is “suffering from serious mental health issues” and is “receiving inpatient hospital care, where he’ll stay for the foreseeable future” as a result of the incident.
According to Flind, the claims “greatly worsened matters” for Edwards, who had suffered from serious depression in recent years. She went on to say that he would reply to the charges when he was well enough, and that he was “deeply sorry” that coworkers had been drawn into the matter.
In a front-page report, The Sun claimed that the presenter had paid a young man, now 20, for images. According to the tabloid, this began when the subject was 17 years old, which is a potentially significant criminal offense.
Scotland Yard officers have since concluded that there is no evidence to corroborate this allegation, leaving the Sun with issues about its reporting. Police in South Wales feel there is no criminal case to answer.
Although the young person’s lawyer apparently told the Sun last week that the narrative was “rubbish” and that no criminal behavior occurred, the tabloid did not publish this denial until Monday night.
On Wednesday night, the Sun disputed that any claimed criminality occurred in its report, stating, “Suggestions about possible criminality were first made at a later date by other media outlets, including the BBC.”
It went on to say that it will “cooperate with the BBC’s internal investigation process” and submit a “confidential and redacted dossier containing serious and wide-ranging allegations… including some from BBC personnel.”
Following his identification, leading BBC journalists and former colleagues rallied around Edwards. “I feel so sorry for everyone involved in this: for the Edwards family, for the complainants, and for Huw himself,” remarked veteran world affairs editor John Simpson. There were no criminal offenses committed, thus it is solely a personal tragedy for everyone involved. Let’s hope the press now leaves them alone.”
Jon Sopel, a former BBC North America editor, described the situation as “awful and shocking” and criticized some of the reaction to the charges.
Former Sun editor David Yelland said the paper had “inflicted terror” on Edwards and was now in a “crisis.”
In light of the recent reporting regarding the ‘BBC presenter,’ I am making this statement on behalf of my husband, Huw Edwards, after what have been five extremely difficult days for our family,” Flind, who has five children with Edwards, said in a statement. I’m doing this mostly to protect our children and to safeguard his mental health.
“Huw is dealing with serious mental health issues.” He has been treated for severe depression in recent years, as is well reported. The events of the last few days have made matters much worse; he has had another significant episode and is now undergoing inpatient hospital care, where he will remain for the foreseeable future.
“Once he is well enough, he intends to respond to the published stories.” To be clear, Huw was first informed of the charges against him last Thursday.
“Given the circumstances and Huw’s condition, I would like to request that the privacy of my family and everyone else involved in these distressing events be respected.”
“I know Huw is deeply sorry that the recent media speculation has affected so many colleagues.” We hope that our statement will put an end to that.”