So if the others are innocent
Who did he conspire with?
Andy Coulson, the ex-News of the World editor and erstwhile spin doctor to Prime Minister David Cameron, has been found guilty at the Old Bailey in London of conspiring to hack phones. Former News International boss Rebekah Brooks was cleared on all counts of hacking into voicemails, bribery and perverting the course of …
Much as I would like, "incompetence" is not on the statute books as a crime. The legislative bodies probably omitted it for several reasons:
1) Prisons could not handle the volume of offenders
2) Incompetence was considered a given for anybody in high office (Peter Principle and all that)
3) Sir Humphreys actually prefer incompetent ministers
I was considering a "joke" icon, but then reread the post and thought the better of it. Now I will get my coat
I've been following the case as closely as possible via news websites and Private Eye. On that basis I'm not surprised she's been found not guilty of the phone hacking charges, but I'm frankly amazed that she, her husband, PA and the NI head of security were cleared of perverting the course of justice. I wouldn't be surprised if the Crown don't appeal those charges.
"Brooks wasn't found guilty of conspiracy to pay public officials when she said that's precisely what she did do"
Indeed, but think about the bigger picture here.
If it's accepted by The Powers That Be that what Brooks/Wade said to Parliament was/is true, i.e. she did e.g. pay Metropolitan Police officers for information, then there is potentially a consequent implication that members of the Metropolitan Police may have been appearing to act corruptly.
Bring that kind of thing out in court and where does it all end?
We can't have the reputation of the Metropolitan Police dragged through the courts like that, surely?
"We can't have the reputation of the Metropolitan Police dragged through the courts like that, surely?"
Of course we can't.
It would be almost as unthinkable as (hypothetically, obviously) having a senior Met officer perform an "investigation" into phone hacking, finding nothing, and then soon afterwards, on retiring from the Met, accepting a job working as a columnist for Murdoch.
"Really? The boss of news international didn't know how the editor of one of her papers was getting their stories? Well... maybe she really is innocent... i can't believe i actually wrote that :P"
A poor choice of words.
I think the word the jury were looking for was compartmentalised
She knew about the "product," she was able to prove she never asked where it came from.
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There would be a number of high profile police and CPS careers riding on the outcome of this case; don't think for a second they didn't do everything they could to collect all the possible evidence against her.
If Coulson hadn't gone down you would have seen some early retirements from the Met, for sure. As it is, there's a large number of acquittals for such a lengthy and expensive investigation and trial. Questions will still be asked.
"a number of high profile police and CPS careers riding on the outcome of this case; don't think for a second they didn't do everything they could to collect all the possible evidence against her."
I think you may have that exactly back to front.
Brooks has already admitted, long before the trial and also in public, to (illegally?) paying for information from the Met.
At least one former senior member of the Met and of the Association of Chief Police Officers Limited is now a Murdoch employee (having previously been responsible for an "investigation" into phone hacking which found nothing of note. Well fancy that.)
If Brooks had been found guilty, she'd likely have taken large chunks of the Met down with her, and the police knew that. Maybe their evidence was adjusted accordingly?
Coulson was safe to convict as he'd not been doing so much dodgy dealing with the police,
References readily available.
Maybe I'm a bit of a conspiracist (too much X Files, Shadow Line and House of Cards), but someone must have known that the Milly Dowler phone hacking accusations would just be a convenient straw man that would divert attention from the very real corruption going on long enough for the people to forget about the shady stuff after the outrage faded.
Plus, as @DrPizza tweeted: if Andy Coulson could be found guilty under existing law, then why do we need new laws to regulate the press?
Brooks has not been found innocent. She IS innocent. It sticks in my craw to say it, especially after the witch hunts against innocent people that occured under her watch. But the principle must stand that it is the job of the prosecution to prove guilt, rather than the defence to prove innocence. Hence innocent unless proven guilty.
She IS innocent.
The jury are instructed that they must be sure of a defendants guilt beyond "all reasonable doubt". My reading of the evidence is that in Brooks' case there was no "smoking gun" in relation to the phone hacking charges, but that the prosecution were arguing there was compelling reasons to assume guilt on the basis of her behaviour. It was alleged that this behaviour amounted to an attempt to pervert the course of justice in collusion with her PA, her husband and the head of security at News International.
I strongly recommend that people check the coverage in Private Eye for a good summary of the evidence presented in court. Personally I found it compelling with regard to the attempt to pervert the course of justice, but that thanks to the arguably botched evidence gathering by the police there was not enough evidence to convict on the phone hacking charges. As an example of how the police actions seem to have been inadequate, on first attempting a search of the NI offices in the aftermath of the Guardian's revelations, they allowed NI staff to intimidate them into leaving without having conducted a thorough search.
"Brooks has not been found innocent. She IS innocent. It sticks in my craw to say it, especially after the witch hunts against innocent people that occured under her watch. But the principle must stand that it is the job of the prosecution to prove guilt, rather than the defence to prove innocence. Hence innocent unless proven guilty."
She has been found NOT GUILTY (beyond reasonable doubt) and therefore must be presumed innocent. Whether she is truly innocent or not we can't say; not if they want to avoid a libel suit anyway but interestingly if that happened I believe they would only have to prove that she was guilty on the balance of probabilities not beyond reasonable doubt.
You do - this is it.
This would be a very different country if there was a "we think you're guilty, we can't prove it, but we're going to assume you are anyway." option - much as I am surprised myself that Rebekah Brooks was found innocent, unless and until the prosecution is shown to have messed up somehow there just isn't the proof (and maybe not even then) to show Brooks did it.
To my mind, that makes her a pretty reckless editor, running stories without knowing the provenance of them (would El Reg's team care to comment on the generally-held wisdom of that?) but there you go...
Apparently Cameron is due to issue an apology for having hired Coulson in the first place. It's just a pity that we probably won't be getting something similar with respect to him hiring Ian Livingston as trade minister and giving him a seat in the house of lords in late 2013 (*after* being forced to get rid of Coulson).
This is somebody who was closely involved in the Phorm/BT trials from 2006 to 2008 that intercepted the traffic of anything up to hundreds of thousands of BT customers.
Any apology is meaningless if the same mistake is made again and again...
but she sure had to pay a steep price for it and I don't mean legal fees.
Her life and morals have been laid bare, much as the News of the World did every Sunday, and undoubtedly there must be some strains in her marriage.
There is on bright side ... she is likely no longer on Cameron's Christmas Party list ... where a slime gets to show his worst.
"Her life and morals have been laid bare, much as the News of the World did every Sunday, and undoubtedly there must be some strains in her marriage."
I hope there are. I really hope she's been shattered by this. It would be nice to think that she'll now understand what her rag did to a lot of innocent people and will change her attitude accordingly, but I rather think she'll just spend the next couple of years stropping round in moral outrage, refusing to believe she isn't whiter than white.
What goes around comes around.
So called phone hacking were endemic to the UK news paper sector not only at News of the World but the Sun and the Daily Mirror and Coulson wasn't the only one involved. They also got most of their scoops using information from the PNC provided by friendly ex-policemen who were well compensated. Hacking of e-mails, confidential medical records, arrest records etc., everything was for sale.
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