After reporting from the Old Bailey for over 15 months now, covering various hacking and misconduct trials, James Doleman provides an insight which you might not see in mainstream media coverage
If you only read Britain’s best selling tabloid newspaper you would think that the last 6 months of Sun journalists appearing in the criminal courts have led to a total vindication for the paper and its version of journalistic ethics.
It is true that since August 2014 three separate trials at London’s Old Bailey have found Sun reporters not guilty on various charges. Each acquittal was greeted with banner headlines in the paper proclaiming that the ordinary people on the jury had chosen to defend free speech against the police and the courts unjustly trying to silence the press. Yet a closer look at how each reporter defended themselves in court suggests there may have been other reasons for those jurys making their decisions.
There will be much more to say about this in due course, as news trickles out from the rampantly under-reported Kingston Crown Court trial of the ‘Sun Six’: but it should be noted that evidence about hundreds of missing signed cash payments from former Sun editor Rebekah Brooks, as well as details of the various Memoranda of Understanding between the Met and the Management and Services Committee set up by News Corp in 2011 is being adduced by the defence teams at Kingston
There Chris Pharo, Sun’s former head of news, former managing editor Graham Dudman, deputy news editor Ben O’Driscoll, picture editor John Edwards, and reporters Jamie Pyatt and John Troup are on trial.
The line of their lawyers, reported also in the Guardian and Independent, is clear: Sun journalists were “shopped’ to the police by the company, in order to avoid the threat of corporate charges. (See more from Court News below)
Meanwhile some breaking news from Jamie Pyatt’s police interview, read out in court today
Pyatt speaks of “being investigated by ourselves for something we’ve been told to do…They tell me what to do. I didn’t pay police officers
Pyatt police interview:contact with public officials, and payment to them, organised centrally through the news desk “I was told what to do”
An HMRC source paid over £17,000 for confidential information by a Sun journalist claimed to have received a full copy of the budget. The prosecution told the jury that it was a “grubby relationship based on greed”.