The editor of the Independent on Sunday, John Mullin, has been forced to explain his decision to publish a story about Andy Coulson that contained details from his witness statement to the Leveson Inquiry.
John Mullin apologised for the inconvenience to the inquiry into press standards on Thursday morning but stood by his decision to publish the story, revealing that Mr Coulson held News Corp shares while he was Mr Cameron's head of communications at a time when the Government was deciding whether to approve the company's takeover of BSkyB.
Lord Justice Leveson has ordered that no witness statements or document should be made public until they have been given in evidence at the inquiry.
The story was published on Sunday and included details that appear in Mr Coulson's statement, before his appearance at the inquiry into press standards today, breaching the order.
He said: "Nothing that appeared in our story did not come from the three sources that I have underlined."
In a written statement, he added: "As editor, I took the view that the information that Mr Coulson had a potential conflict of interest between his shareholding and his position as an advisor to the prime minister was of public interest."
Mr Mullin said in hindsight that it would have been easier if he had not read the statement he was shown.
"I think it's human nature that if you are presented with something and you're a journalist that you would read it. I think in retrospect it would have been much better all round had I not read that statement."
"From my point of view, I am an editor of a newspaper. We may not be the world's greatest newspaper, in fact we may not be the greatest newspaper in our own building, but we are good, honest journalists and we try and do our job as best as we can do it.
"This is an issue of massive public importance. The fact the inquiry is going on should not stop us from doing good, honest journalism as we go ahead.
"It was our misfortune that through good, honest, journalism, we got this statement after we had already substantiated the story."
He said he had not been handed the statement by any of the core participants in the inquiry, but would not reveal who had given it to him.
He said in hindsight he would have made some effort to contact the inquiry, adding: "But I would not want that to be taken as an acceptance that the decision I made on Saturday night was entirely incorrect."
On-duty police officers applaud as thousands of off-duty police officers march pass Downing Street in London as they take part in a protest march against proposed changes to their pay and conditions, in London, Thursday, May 10, 2012. Up to 16,000 police officers, who are banned from striking under law, donned black caps representing each officer expected to be lost under the Government's budget cuts as they took to the streets of London Thursday. (Photo credit: AP Photo/Sang Tan)
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Police officers and public sector workers march through central London during a day of protest across the country on May 10, 2012 in London, England. A reported 400,000 public sector workers across the country are taking part in a twenty four hour strike in dispute over government changes to pensions. (Photo credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Andy Coulson, former editor of the News of The World and former director of communications for the Conservative Party, arrives at The Royal Courts of Justice to give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry on May 10, 2012 in London, England. This phase of the inquiry into the culture, practice and ethics of the press in the United Kingdom is looking at the owners of various media groups. The inquiry, which may take a year or more to complete, comes in the wake of the phone hacking scandal that saw the closure of The News of The World newspaper in 2011. (Photo credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
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Syrians inspect damages at the site of twin blasts in Damascus on May 10, 2012. Two powerful blasts in quick succession rocked the Syrian capital at morning rush hour, killing and wounding dozens of people, state television said, blaming the attacks on 'terrorists.' (Photo credit: LOUAI BESHARA/AFP/GettyImages)
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