Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Hacking trial: Andy Coulson found guilty, Tommy Sheridan gets the satisfaction that one of the people who brought him down in politics may face a term in prison, given there are allegedly 3,500 victims, prison seems to be a real possibility for David Cameron’s former director of communications

Dear All

Today is a red letter day for Tommy Sheridan.

The bubbly will pop and the cheers will ring out loud in Cardonald, Glasgow.

Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson who worked for David Cameron has been found guilty of conspiracy to hack phones.

What this also shows is that we live in a corrupt society where people close to the top of the political elite are very much tainted.

Some people think they are above the law.

Coulson was on trial along with others including ex-News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks.

She was cleared of all charges in the phone-hacking trial.

But not Coulson!

The prime minister has apologised and said hiring him was "the wrong decision".

Many people flagged up Coulson but Cameron simply ignored than citing something along the lines of people getting a ‘second chance’.

Coulson wasn’t just any old spad; he went on to become director of communications for the prime minister.

David Cameron’s full sorry ran to:

"I am extremely sorry I employed him. It was the wrong decision and I am clear about that. I take full responsibility for employing Andy Coulson. I did so on the basis of undertakings I was given by him about phone hacking and those turn out not to be the case. I always said that if they turned out to be wrong I would make a full and frank apology and I do that today".

I suppose the next question is will Coulson face a prison sentence?

Given he was found guilty of a charge of conspiracy to intercept voicemails and given there are allegedly 3,500 victims.

A prison sentence cannot be ruled out, this case is a real pity, News International, and News of the World brought some great stories of corruption to the public domain and exposed many people, I suppose it is odd that their last great scoop should be themselves.

Royals, celebrities and victims of crime were among those whose phones were hacked by the News of the World.

News of the World was closed by its parent company, News International, in July 201, many innocent people lost their jobs; all they did was their job.

When it closed after something like 168 years, a great paper closed, ruined by scandal.

What made this story so toxic that it couldn’t be buried was the hacking of the mobile phone of murdered Surrey teenager Milly Dowler in 2002.

When her phone was hacked, her parents were given false hope that she was still alive, the public anger over this ensured that at some stage this would go to trial.

So, where does today leave Tommy Sheridan?

Well happy for a starter, Coulson maybe spending time behind bars, Sheridan may get compensation but on the important issue of him clearing his name, he isn’t out of the woods yet.

Coulson guilt doesn’t clear him.

And the argument; ‘I was exposed by ‘bad’ people; while I was doing ‘bad’, ergo I am innocent’ doesn’t hold water legally, morally or ethnically.

Sheridan confessed to a room full of people, there is video evidence, multiple witnesses in different location unconnected to each other. Even if you subtract the evidence of Coulson, Sheridan’s still stuck. Previously he was told his case is ‘unarguable’ by Appeal judges.

Sheridan’s case in my opinion rests on the fact he doesn’t like the verdict.

Finally, his situation reminds me of this:

Coordinator: Crucifixion?
Prisoner: Yes.
Coordinator: Good. Out of the door, line on the left, one cross each.
[Next prisoner]
Coordinator: Crucifixion?
Mr. Cheeky: Er, no, freedom actually.
Coordinator: What?
Mr. Cheeky: Yeah, they said I hadn't done anything and I could go and live on an island somewhere.
Coordinator: Oh I say, that's very nice. Well, off you go then.
Mr. Cheeky: No, I'm just pulling your leg, it's crucifixion really.
Coordinator: [laughing] Oh yes, very good. Well...
Mr. Cheeky: Yes I know, out of the door, one cross each, line on the left.

And who doesn’t like getting their leg pulled!

Yours sincerely
George Laird

The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University 

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