The phone hacking trial: reaction and blogs
Andy Coulson guilty of conspiracy to hack phones
Jury failed to agree on two charges against Coulson and Clive Goodman of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office
Neville Thurlbeck, James Weatherup, Dan Evans, Greg Miskiw and Glenn Mulcaire have all admitted conspiracy to hack phones
Ian Edmondson is also accused of phone hacking, but is medically unfit and will stand trial at a later date
Rebekah and Charlie Brooks cleared of all charges
Stuart Kuttner, Mark Hanna and Cheryl Carter cleared of all charges
I take full responsibility for employing Andy Coulson, which I did on the basis of undertakings I was given by him about phone hacking and those turned out not to be the case. I always said that if they turned out to be wrong that I would make a full and frank apology and I do that today.
The Prime Minister was fulfilling a promise made to MPs after Coulson was arrested in July 2011, when he said:
“If it turns out that Andy Coulson knew about the hacking at the News of the World, he will not only have lied to me, but he will have lied to the police, a select committee and the Press Complaints Commission, and of course perjured himself in a court of law.
More to the point, if that comes to pass, he could also expect to face severe criminal charges.
I have an old-fashioned view about innocent until proven guilty. But if it turns out I have been lied to, that would be the moment for a profound apology. In that event, I can tell you I will not fall short.
My responsibilities are for hiring him, and for the work he did at Downing Street.”
*In fact, it was George Osborne who hired Coulson, and he, too, apologised today.
I think David Cameron has very very serious questions to answer because we now know that he brought a criminal into the heart of Downing Street. David Cameron was warned about Andy Coulson. The evidence mounted up against Andy Coulson. David Cameron must have had his suspicions about Andy Coulson and yet he refused to act.
We said long ago, and repeat today, that wrongdoing occurred, and we apologized for it.
This is just the newspapers looking after themselves...there are other equally worrying problems and most important and damaging of all is the incestuous relationship between top politicians and the Press
“For years the Murdoch press clung to the story that one rogue reporter was responsible for phone hacking. We now know this was a lie. Far from being an isolated incident involving a few ‘bad apples’, the trial has shown that the entire orchard was rotten.
The conviction of Andy Coulson has now confirmed that the crime of phone hacking was rife at Murdoch’s News International...
There’s a reason the developed vetting process exists, and similar services provided by private firms to organisations like the Tory party: it’s to take the subjectivity out of potentially risky or highly-sensitive appointments; it’s to ensure that two nice blokes like Dave and George don’t have to feel embarrassed asking their mate Andy whether he’s still receiving payments from his old employers, or whether he’s had a sexual relationship with any newspaper editors, or whether he’s telling the truth when he says he knew nothing about phone hacking.
I have no way of ever knowing what goes on in a jury room, but the jury has done the public a service. It is actually the perfect result. A massive **** you to the State and the Westminster Set’s attempts to settle scores and “teach the Press a lesson”, and a traditional “V” sign to the cappuccino warriors of the Guardianista faction. And with the conviction of Coulson, a huge dollop of seagull poo too on the head of Moon Faced Dave. That’s just fantastic.
David Cameron felt he had a shaky media operation, and by the time Andy Coulson had walked in the Conservative HQ door in July 2007, that was abundantly clear...
The hacking trial
Milly story 'nonsense'
£200k for an astrologer
'Keep strong' - Blair's
advice to Brooks
The cost so far
cost to News Corp of closure of News of the World, legal bills and compensation
claims against News International (now News UK) settled
"The internet has brought back tabloid sensibility to the American news media: it’s not being done by newspapers but by a new generation of snarky, revelatory and unashamedly trashy websites.
Tabloid stories will be with us as long as there is human curiosity about other peoples’ private lives. But the British tabloids have had their day"
- George Brock, head of journalism at City University, writing for The Conversation
"We now know that there was a long history of vehement denials, systematic cover-ups, and shameless attempts to discredit the Guardian’s search for the truth. These were followed by sob stories from those same newspapers about journalists being arrested at six in the morning...
Much more importantly, criminal activity was not even half the story of wrongdoing. The Leveson Inquiry detailed a morass of vile, intrusive, profoundly unethical, sometimes downright vicious, but non-criminal press behaviour. A coach and several horses were driven through the industry’s own code of conduct, and the industry did virtually nothing about it."
- Steven Barnett, professor of communications,
University of Westminster
"The hacking defence, wholly paid for by Murdoch, is said to be the most expensive in the history of British jurisprudence. It was an American-style defence, with captivating and theatrical lawyers overshadowing the Crown's straightforward prosecution. They did it only with great flair and style (the judge kept telling the prosecution to speak up and the defense to pipe down), but by addressing the complicated charges with inundating detail and great confusion. It was certainly the most dizzying defence that money could buy. Courtroom scuttlebutt had it that the defence was not only American in style, but that it was being directed from New York, that Murdoch himself was calling many of the shots."
- Michael Wolff in USA Today
pages of electronic index
files of evidence presented
pages of evidence
days of the trial
"It is also worth recalling, amid the condemnations of the indefensible hacking of crime victims’ phones, that every great journalistic story has also involved reporters breaking the rules and often the law. Even the Guardian’s top investigative reporter admitted hacking phones at Leveson – for ‘ethical reasons’, of course.
The entire debate about phone-hacking and press regulation has been based on the myth that the UK press has been too free and must be tamed. Now the tabloid-bashers are congratulating themselves that the redtops will have to be more ‘sober’ in the future.
"That would be a crying shame. In truth the press was not free enough, even before the latest crusade to regulate it began. There might be many imperfections in our press, in print and online. But nowhere in the world is the problem that the press is too free."
- Mick Hume, Spiked online
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