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.
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”.
The trial of six reporters and executives accused of unlawfully paying police officers and soldiers for stories heard that paperwork linking Mrs Brooks to the allegedly unlawful payments had gone missing.
Charlotte Hull, the newspaper’s former news desk assistant, said that Mrs Brooks only signed off contributor payments over ¡Ì1,000 paid through bank transfers but approved all cash payments regardless of the amount. She said: “Any cash payment had to be approved by the editor.”
Mrs Brooks was editor from 2003 to 2009, when she was succeeded by her deputy, Dominic Mohan. The allegedly unlawful payments were made between March 2002 and January 2011.