Friday, July 4, 2014

Andy Coulson is jailed for 18 months at the Old Bailey over phone hacking, Tommy Sheridan will probably be as pleased as punch as he gets some satisfaction against the people who destroyed his career

Dear All

Today’s big story is the Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson has been jailed for 18 months for conspiracy to hack phones.

The News of the World was a great newspaper and had a reputation for getting some of the biggest stories into the public domain.

When the paper had to be closed it was a real loss to British investigative journalism, the tipping point for closure was the Milly Dowler story.

Andy Coulson went on to become director of communications for Prime Minister David Cameron, despite warnings about him being made publicly.

David Cameron decided to take a chance because Coulson was part of the circle of friends that surround Cameron.

Now that Coulson has been found guilty at the Old Baileyhe has since admitted to making a mistake, he said he believed what he was told by Coulson regarding having no knowledge.

As well as Coulson, others have been found guilty, their sentences, all for conspiracy to unlawfully intercept communications, were:

Former chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck, 52, of Esher, Surrey - six months
Former news editor Greg Miskiw, 64, of Leeds - six months
Former reporter James Weatherup, 58, of Brentwood, Essex - four-month suspended sentence
Private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, 43, of Sutton, Surrey - six-month suspended sentence

Some of these people had additional sentences of 200 hours of community service.

So, today is a celebration for Tommy Sheridan who famously had a run in with the NOTW newspaper, now Coulson is being taken to Belmarsh Prison in south-east London.

Although Sheridan spent time in prison, he will no doubt be glad that Coulson is dubbed as well, that said; it doesn’t help Sheridan’s appeal. That is currently lodged with the SCCRC, and is highly likely that will fail to garner their support.

Asked about the jailing of his former communications chief, Dvaid Cameron said:

"What it says is that it's right that justice should be done and that no one is above the law as I've always said."

The Prime Minister doesn’t sound too happy about the verdict and possibly less happy that Coulson get 18 months.

Downing Street has officially said Mr Cameron had not spoken to Coulson since the guilty verdict.

This begs the question was he talking to him post leaving Downing Street?

Coulson had denied the charges against him but was found guilty of plotting to intercept voicemails between 2000 and 2006.

His lawyer had argued his client did not know the hacking on his watch was illegal.

Ignorance of the law isn’t a defence.

Also, given he has a legal department, why wasn’t it asked of them for an opinion.

I am not a newspaper reporter but even I know that hacking is illegal so his protestations although amusing are entirely spurious.

Mr Justice Saunders, said "ignorance of the law" provided no mitigation.

The judge said:

"The evidence is clear that there was a very great deal of phone hacking while Andy Coulson was editor."

18 months in prison, career ruined, reputation shot to shit and possibly unemployable in the media now.

On reflection he might ponder was it all worth it.

As Editor of the NOTW newspaper he add responsibility to the newspapers owners, the staff and even to the general public, he let everyone down!

As a kid I was a regular NOTW reader, it produced some of the greatest moments of press coverage in Britain, that closure was rather unfortunate in many ways.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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