Did Nobody Really Know Phone Hacking was Illegal? | Chris Brace

Another guest post by Chris Brace, AKA Mr Ceebs

In this week’s Mitigation statement by Mr Langdale on behalf of Andy Coulson, a long held point of evidence has come out that nobody realised that phone hacking was illegal. The implication has been that the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act and the Computer Misuse act were some trifling little pieces of law, that nobody realised would actually apply to Journalists.

Here’s the relevant quote from Peter Jukes’ recording of the trial, found here 

“There are some features of this sorry affair which should be mentioned” says Langdale in terms of mitigation for Coulson.

“No one in the newspaper industry seems to have realised… interception of voicemail messages was illegal” says Langdale of 2000-2005

“It is a great pity it was not appreciated at the time” says Langdale of hacking “that it did not entail the commission of criminal offence”

“Mr Coulson took a cautious approach… and frequently sought and relied on legal advice” says Langdale. He also cites Surrey Police

But is that argument really tenable? Was RIPA something that had managed to avoid the finest Legal minds that Fleet Street possessed? Continue reading