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Friday 8 March 2013

Murdoch Is Served (92)

[Update at end of post]


All those pundits pretending that their pals did nothing wrong, and that the Police investigations were some kind of chilling and sinister move to stamp on the freedom of the press – inevitably held to involve Leveson, who is not involved – have gone a little quieter today, because reality has rudely intruded into their world. And all eyes are on the Central Criminal Court.

Presenting themselves to Mr Justice Fulford in Court 1 this morning are a serving Police officer, a prison officer, a former Police officer, an official from the Ministry of Defence (MoD), and a veritable bevy of journalistic talent from the Sun and Screws. The highlights are the presence of the twinkle-toed yet domestically combative Rebekah Brooks, and another appearance by Andy Coulson.

The supporting cast includes Sun chief reporter John Kay, and Screws Royal hack Clive Goodman, whose blatant eavesdropping set the whole sorry business in train. And despite protestations of irrelevance and innocence, there have already been three guilty pleas: two of these were Alan Tierney, formerly of Surrey Police, and prison officer Richard Trunkfield.

The former Police officer also pleading guilty cannot be named, as reporting restrictions are in place (a daft situation as he’s been named – no links, sorry – in the run up to his court appearance). How that plays out with his co-accused, a Murdoch hack, will be interesting. All three have owned up to taking bungs for information, and in all cases a four-figure sum was involved.

And how all of this impacts on the appearances of Brooks, Kay, Coulson and Goodman will be interesting. Moreover, this could herald the start of yet more cases coming to trial in short order: much of the disquiet from the Fourth Estate has been over folks being bailed and re-bailed without any end in sight. Today shows that the log-jam may have been broken.

While that is going on, though, what of the media coverage? Ah well. You know how that is going to play out. You won’t see anything in the Murdoch press. And those who grovel at the feet of the less than totally benevolent head of News Corp are also keeping schtum. So the serially clueless Tim Montgomerie, who we’ll consider later, has said nothing, as Rupe has just given him a job.

And the supposedly fearless rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog are also silent as the pleas are entered and the Murdoch empire sinks lower into the mire. Yes, the fearless cutting edge of the blogosphere has been bought off and rendered mute.

A lousy 4% trust rating, and fatally compromised. Another fine mess, once again.

[UPDATE 1835 hours: all four officials, including two who cannot be named for legal reasons (daft, given this was OK before today's hearing), have pleaded guilty today.

Andy Coulson, Clive Goodman and Rebekah Brooks have had their cases adjourned until next month.

However, John Kay has pleaded Not Guilty. This sounds interesting, as the impression was given that his case was tied up with that of one of those officials, who have all admitted their guilt.

Exactly how the Sun man is going to square that one it not known. No doubt there will be more later]

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