Half Time at the Phone Hacking Trial

Below is a reprint of my article for Independent Australia which appeared today, links and video courtesy of them. 

AT THE BEGINNING of the phone hacking trial in London, which began nearly four months ago, the judge, Justice Saunders, said:

not only are the defendants on trial, but British justice is on trial.”

He could have added, given the nature of the charges and the defendants, so too is the British media, which is second only to Australia in the English speaking world in its heavily concentrated ownership.

Now that we’re at a half time mark at the central criminal court of the Old Bailey, with the prosecution having made its case, and the seven defendants – including former CEO of Rupert Murdoch’s News International, Rebekah Brooks, and British Prime Minister David Cameron’s former press supremo, Andy Coulson – about to mount their defence, how has the legal struggle in court been reflected in the aerial warfare of the newsstands, airwaves and internet? Continue reading

UNREDACTED: Farrer’s Advice to News International – the Surveillance of Mark Lewis and Charlotte Harris

I held this back during the hacking trial for obvious reasons, but am publishing this now. Since Ian Edmondson has pleaded guilty to phone hacking, and the CPS has decided ‘no further action’ against Tom Crone, I can also unredact their names: IE were the initials next to SK in the first transcript: the second is transcript of a conversation between Julian Pike and Tom Crone.

The email release from the CPS of a legal note from Julian Pike, from Farrer’s and Co, briefing Rebekah Brooks and Colin Myler about the state of play in the civil phone hacking cases in January 2010, has caused me to revisit some of the other evidence of Julian Pike, both to the Leveson Inquiry and a parliamentary Home Affairs select committee, about this crucial phase in the legal timeline

Though Pike is not the subject of any know police inquiry, and any other sensitive names have been redacted, I’m still password protecting this post: any public links to previous Parliamentary or Leveson evidence could be deemed prejudicial

This brief timeline begins a year  after the sentencing of Mulcaire and Goodman in January 2007.   Colin Myler has taken over from Andy Coulson after his resignation, and Les Hinton leaving his job as CEO of News International to take of the job of Dow Jones publisher in NYC. But Clive Goodman is still pursuing a wrongful dismissal claim.  A note Pike made of phone call with Myler on 27 May 2008 was adduced by the Leveson inquiry: Continue reading

How the Kindness of Strangers crowd funded my Hacking Trial coverage

Now that my second crowd funding campaign has ended successfully, I’m fulfilling a promise to share the data from Indiegogo, and publicise (without naming individual contributors) the source of funding from across the world, the most effective social networking platforms and sharing tools. I’m not doing this to sound my own trumpet but because I know there are many people interested in how to raise money for journalism.

Mine was a very specific campaign, with a clear deadline set by the phone hacking trial, and a clear service to be delivered – live tweeting from the court. I suspect it might be harder to fund something less immediately topical and time dependent. On the other hand, most people paid for a service which was not exclusive, and others would be getting for free.

So follow me below the fold for the data.

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Trials and Tribulations of the Media on Trial & The case for the prosecution | The Drum

edis_0I’ve been asked on a number of occasions why I highlight the work of Martin Hickman and James Doleman in my blog, and why I nominated them to cover for me in my brief absence on Monday morning this week.

Because major figures in the British media are on trial at the Old Bailey there is, understandably, a lot of anxiety in the background. Are old scores being settled? Can the media be impartial about itself? The Hacking Trial is unique in this aspect, and any media coverage of it is bound to be met with suspicion.

So, for the sake of transparency, let me explain this. Martin and James are the only two other ‘freelancers’ I know in the court room. While every other journalist I have met there, whether from News UK or the BBC, is a person of integrity, who files every day an accurate report of what transpired in Court 12, they are subject to the running orders of the day. Their work is made prominent or not by factors outside their control. James and Martin, however, write up everything.

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Hacking Trial Live Tweets – 5 Feb

Wednesday 5 February 2014

Summary
The Last Day of the Prosecution Case
Court is sitting despite Underground Stirke
Further Prosecution documents are provided to the Jury
Witness – Operation Weeting Detective DC Oskiewicz
Prosecution Counsel questions DC Oskiewicz
Counsel for Andy Coulson cross examines
The Last Items of the Prosecution Case
Prosecution Counsel presents the final agreed facts
Agreed facts on archived and deleted emails
Witness Statement from James Shelley (Ministry of Defence Press Officer)
Further Prosecution evidence on the hacking of Brooks and Coulson
Emails between Rebekah Brooks and Ross Kemp
Letter from Rebekah Brooks to Andy Coulson
Further Admissions
The Prosecution Case Ends

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NI legal discussions and emails released in Phone Hacking Trial

The CPS has released 4 February 2014 – Bundle relating mainly to internal News International discussions in 2010. The bulk of this is a (rather poorly copied) note of legal meeting between senior executives and Farrer’s, NI’s lawyers at the time. A record of attendance from the civil case is included, as well as emails from Brooks to Martin Ivens, and to her from News Corp‘s Frederic Michel and Matthew Anderson.

It also seems to suggest a senior police officer and former senior police officer were also speaking to NOTW editor Colin Myler (picture HT Gaetan Portal)

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Brooks agreed £200,000 deal with Max Clifford to settle hacking lawsuit – Martin Hickman | Inforrm’s Blog

Reblogging some of Martin Hickman’s excellent coverage yesterday of the legal settlements News International made in 2010 to try to stem the flow of phone hacking information.

If anyone can give context and insight into this evidence, it’s Martin, whose book Dial M for Murdoch remains the second best book on the phone hacking scandal. (snark alert)

Mr Clifford was one of a small number of individuals named in court in 2006 who had their voicemails intercepted by the News of the World’s specialist phone hacker, Glenn Mulcaire.

After hearing that fellow victim Gordon Taylor had sued the NoW’s owners for compensation, Mr Clifford launched his own case which was proceeding through the courts in early 2010.

Continue reading

Hacking Trial Live Tweets – 4 Feb

Tuesday 4 February 2014

Summary
Witness – DC Richard Fitzgerald (Operation Weeting Detective)
Prosecution Counsel questions DC Fitzgerald
Witness – DS James Guest (Operation Weeting Detective)
Prosecution Counsel questions DS Guest
The Judge outlines the expected timeframe of the Trial ahead to the Jury
Counsel for Andy Coulson cross examines DS Guest
Witness – DS John Massey (Operation Weeting Detective)
Counsel for Andy Coulson cross examines DS Massey
Prosecution Evidence on News of the World Budgets
More Prosecution documents presented to the Jury
Peter Jukes explains break before the Defence Case opens
More Prosecution Evidence on proposed Max Clifford Settlement
DC Fitzgerald gives further evidence
Witness – DS James Guest (Operation Weeting Detective)
Prosecution Counsel has more questions for DS Guest
Counsel for Rebekah Brooks cross examines DS Guest
Witness – DC Andrea Fletcher (Operation Weeting Detective)
Prosecution Counsel has more questions for DC Andrea Fletcher
Counsel for Rebekah Brooks cross examines DC Fletcher
Witness – DI Steve McCabe (Operation Weeting Investigation Officer)
Prosecution Counsel questions DI McCabe
Witness – DI David Kennett (Operation Elvedon Detective)
Prosecution Counsel questions DI Kennett

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Hacking Trial Live Tweets – 3 Feb

Monday 3 February 2014

Summary
The Prosecution Case Continues
Peter Jukes not in Court for morning session due Play Writing commitments
Guest Tweeters – James Doleman (JD) and Martin Hickman (MH)
Witness – Dan Evans (Former Sunday Mirror and News of the World Journalist)
Prosecution Counsel continue to question Dan Evans
Jury not required on Wednesday and Tuesday due to Underground Strike Action
Witness – DC Nicholas Oskiewicz (Operation Weeting Detective)
Counsel for Rebekah Brooks cross examines DC Oskiewicz
Peter Jukes is Back in the Office
Witness – Dan Evans returns to the stand
Prosecution Counsel have a few last questions for Dan Evans
Counsel for Andy Coulson has more cross examination for Dan Evans
Witness – DC Richard Fitzgerald (Operation Weeting Detective)
Prosecution Counsel questions DC Fitzgerald

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Correspondents Report – Reporting from the frontlines of the phone hacking scandal 02/02/2014

dolemanAn interview with yours truly revealing the secrets of the annex – though I should have explained to Barbara that, these less busy days, most of us are allowed up in the main court, but for various acoustic, visual and social reasons, don’t exercise that choice.

ELIZABETH JACKSON: It\’s been a dramatic week at the phone hacking trial in London, beginning with an appearance by actor Jude Law, and ending on Friday with the testimony via video link of his former partner, Sienna Miller.

In between the two stars, a man whose name wasn’t well known until now, Dan Evans, took the stand.

Continue reading