Following yesterday’s Zelo Street post on the Sunday Mirror by-lines shared by serial phone hacker Dan Evans and Susie Boniface, aka Fleet Street Fox, and the questions this inevitably raises about her potential knowledge of this particular Dark Art, information has been coming in showing that, while Ms Boniface has denied knowledge of the practice, she has explicitly condoned it.
The denial was certainly comprehensive: “I’ve never seen anyone hack a phone, never known anyone to be hacking phones, nor never been asked to hack a phone. Ditto paying coppers”. She confirmed that the first she knew of the practice was when Glenn Mulcaire was arrested. That denial was rather like Piers Morgan’s “I’ve never hacked a phone nor told anybody to hack a phone”.
Ms Boniface had the question put again recently, just before that Question Time appearance during which she excused the behaviour of Alex “Billy Liar” Wickham, also in response to a direct question from Dan Waddell. However, and here we encounter a significantly sized however, this has to be put alongside her previously stated approval of the Dark Arts – including phone hacking.
The Fleet Street Fox post which excused the practice has now been deleted, but the people at Sky News (“first for breaking wind”) have quoted it at length and verbatim, so we may see the thoughts of Ms Boniface on the matter. This was the same post in which she said of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales “the driver was drunk and the daft bint wasn't wearing a seatbelt”.
Moving right along from that failure to win friends and influence people, we find that, after passing all too brief adverse comment on the now-defunct Screws for hacking a dead schoolgirl’s phone, “those dark arts should continue to be practised”. So she didn’t know about it, honestly, but it’s OK to do it. In what circumstances, perchance? “I'd do it for a minor shagging story”. We’re not setting the bar too high, then.
Any other permissible instances? You betcha, says Sarah: “To catch a dodgy politician, expose corruption at the heart of FIFA, locate someone the cops can't find”. Given the law enforcement agencies can go to GCHQ if they need to, that’s one implausible scenario. But she excuses it with “You might not like it, it's a moral minefield and it comes down to personal judgement”. Really?
Do go on. “Journalists are expected by The Reader as much as their employers to do things no-one else would”. You mean to break the law? We’re back to the Hank Quinlan defence – that the end justifies the means. That’s not good enough. But what is crystal clear is that Susie Boniface has no problem with those in her profession hacking phones. She just never saw them at it.
Whether that defence survives being put to the test may prove interesting.