Those who saw my recent post about the release by the Leveson Inquiry of the Severance Agreement signed by News International’s Les Hinton and Andy Coulson, which marked the latter’s departure after the initial phone hacking cases, will have noticed that Paragraph 4.6 of that agreement provided for NI to pay Coulson’s legal fees in relation to any action following his service there.
Neil Wallis leaving the Police station
So far, so procedural, but later on came a Twitter intervention from Neil “Wolfman” Wallis – yes, the very same, the former deputy editor of both the Sun and Screws – protesting about the idea that there could be an outcry at the discovery that NI might be paying the legal fees of someone who had departed their service some years earlier. The exchange is shown below.
What is also shown is the remainder of the Twitter conversation, and the comment from me which joshes Wallis about the potentially less noble journalistic skills so aptly described by Nick Davies as “The Dark Arts”. Private Eye asserted some time ago that Wallis was the one whoplayed Piers “Morgan” Moron the voicemail that Paul McCartney had left on Heather Mills’ phone.
So I worked this into the Twitter reply. Those who have followed Phonehackgate will need no prompting to understand that Wallis’ reply – the single word “Harsh!” – does not amount to a denial that he had some involvement. Given that Wallis was also one of those arrested last year as part of the Met’s continuing investigation, that does seem a notable omission.
Sadly, as the rozzers are likely to be interested in anything that resembles an admission regarding the Mills voicemail, it’s doubtful that the Wolfman will confirm his involvement. But the Eye never got sued over their original claim, and, well, who knows?