Reporting restrictions are usually imposed on court proceedings for a good reason, and the post-trial revelations from the Saatchi, Nigella and Grillo sisters bunfight at Isleworth Crown Court provided one prime example, as it was disclosed that Young Dave’s attachment to Team Nigella came perilously close to collapsing the whole thing. But the real culprit gets off scot free – again.
Wouldn't want the Speccy to end up here
“It can now be reported that David Cameron's ‘unprecedented’ public backing for Nigella Lawson during the fraud trial of her former personal assistants came close to collapsing the case because it was considered ‘an abuse of process’. The prime minister had stunned lawyers when he gave a magazine interview in the middle of the jury trial, where he described the TV chef – the key prosecution witness – as a ‘very funny and warm person’ and said he was ‘a massive fan’” tells the deeply subversive Guardian.
The article then notes that Cameron was less effusive yesterday. “In the immediate aftermath of the verdict, the prime minister was asked if he was pleased and told journalists: ‘I've probably said enough about this, so I'll take the 5th’”. One wonders why the Prime Minister was so sanguine.
After all, it was not he who had reported his partiality in the dispute, but the Spectator magazine. And the interviewer was not some wet-behind-the-ears trainee, but editor Fraser Nelson, who, one might think, knew his contempt law and would therefore leave publication until after the trial ended.
At least the Speccy’s editor thought better this time of attempting humour as a way of deflecting criticism: he has been silent on the matter. It is the great paradox with Fraser Nelson that someone who is generally sound, even if one does not agree with his politics, can on occasion be either wilfully contrarian, or get what should be basic journalistic principles so horribly wrong.
The thought occurs that the next time Cameron is inclined to do the Spectator the favour of sitting in during the Prime Ministerial car journey from Downing Street to Beaconsfield Services, he may think better of it. And that would be bad news for a right-of-centre magazine.