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 →
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 →
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.
I’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.
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)
An 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.