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Thursday 30 August 2012

Murdoch Is Served (80)


In July last year, News International (NI) lost legal manager Tom Crone to resignation. At the time, the Screws had just been closed, and there were other events in the Murdoch pantheon occupying the attention of other media outlets, and so not much investigation was made into his departure. David Allen Green in the Staggers spoke for many when he called the moveunexpected”.

But this morning Crone was back in the news: he was arrested early doorson suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications contrary to Section 1 of the Criminal Law Act 1977”. Conspiracy to intercept communications – and several counts of it – was what Glenn Mulcaire was charged with after the Royal Family made the complaint that started the ball rolling back in 2005.

So while Crone is duly interrogated – presumably with a fellow lawyer of his own choosing – at a Police station somewhere in south London, thoughts turn to the possible nature of his involvement. Being part of a conspiracy does not mean that he, or anyone else thus charged, was actually hacking or tapping phones: after all, look at the others already facing a court appearance.

Speak up folks, Rupe can't hear you

Former Screws editor (and chief spinmeister to Young Dave) Andy Coulson and the twinkle toed yet domestically combative Rebekah Brooks are up before the judge next month on charges relating to phone hacking, but no-one is suggesting that they were doing that particular deed. But Crone isn’t a hack or part of the editorial staff, so the reason for his arrest is yet more unclear.

Crone was there to advise. As far as is known, he had no executive role. So the only conclusion has to be that his interrogation is over what guidance may have been given to one or more of the Murdoch editors or their subordinates over matters that included phone hacking. And whatever that guidance may have been, it must have been deemed of sufficient substance to make him part of the conspiracy.

And it must have been documented somewhere. So the impression is given that when Trevor Kavanagh protested thatThe Sun is not a swamp that needs draining” he was being ever so slightly economical with the actualit√©. At this rate, there will be hardly anyone left of the senior staff that has not been at least arrested and questioned. Apart, of course, from just two people.

Those two names, of course, are Rupert and James Murdoch. Funny, isn’t it, that the crap sticks to everyone else bar Rupe and Junior? But not funny at all for Tom Crone, who may be looking at Very Little Future Work in his chosen field, and the possibility of following Coulson and Brooks to the Crown Court. Hardly the Midas touch that the Murdochs have nowadays, is it?

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