Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks face Operation Elveden charges, Coulson says he will fight the charges, the alternative is prison time, serious stuff indeed!

Dear All

The phone hacking scandal which was initially thought to be the work a ‘rogue’ reporter has flourished into something much bigger than anyone could ever imagine.

Ex-News of the World editor Andy Coulson and ex-News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks are to be charged in connection with payments to police and public officials.

Coulson and Brooks were well known to David Cameron; although he had nothing to do with it, with friends like them ‘who needs enemies?’

For Cameron this is particularly toxic since Coulson was picked to be his Downing Street communications chief.

Right in the heart of government!

As well as Coulson and Brooks, journalists Clive Goodman and John Kay and MoD employee Bettina Jordan-Barber also face charges according to the CPS.

Coulson, denies the allegations.

Operation Elveden is the Met Police investigation into corrupt payments, if money has been paid, surely people at the NOTW must have known this was a rod to hell they were walking on?

I mean how could they not know?

Mr Coulson, Mr Goodman, Mrs Brooks and Ms Jordan-Barber are to be charged with conspiring to commit misconduct in public office.

If convicted someone will be going to prison, this won’t be community service, this will be jail time and years.

In a statement, Andy Coulson said he was "extremely disappointed" by the CPS's decision.

He said:

"I deny the allegations made against me and will fight the charges in court."

Given the situation he now finds himself, he has little choice but to fight, if he was to plea guilty, his lawyer would have advised that it would be jail.

This is a high profile case and people are watching closely.

Alison Levitt, principal legal adviser to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), said:

"All of these matters were considered carefully in accordance with the DPP's guidelines on the public interest in cases affecting the media. This guidance asks prosecutors to consider whether the public interest served by the conduct in question outweighs the overall criminality before bringing criminal proceedings."

So far 52 people have been arrested as part of Operation Elveden which would tend to show that a culture existed beyond mere investigative journalism.

In Scotland, Tommy Sheridan found himself in prison because of a court case with the News International crowd. He must be tickled pink of how far Coulson has fallen since he gave evidence at his trial. Sheridan spent a good deal of time in prison and emerged to seeing his political reputation in tatters.

Although there is much talk about Sheridan appealing I would find it hard to believe that any appeal would be successful on his part. The issues of multiple witnesses and a videotape remain even if you subtract the evidence of Coulson at the Sheridan trial.

It seems that the pressure is on Coulson and Brooks, the great pity of the phone hacking scandal is that despite the wrong doing, the NOTW exposed a lot of people who needed to be exposed. Sadly the lines got blurred and poor judgment was the order of the day. Getting a story at any price was the order of the day.

And now a lot of people are wondering what their future holds.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University 

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