“Met forced to defend role in £100m hacking trial” thundered the Times this morning, that being the same Times that is owned by Rupert Mudoch, six of whose formerly faithful servants were found guilty as a result. But then the paper tells readers “Eight month hearing brought one conviction”, and at this point, the agenda becomes clear. Didn’t they have anything better to spend all that money on?
He wasn't the only one getting guilty
I mean, there are all those rapists and paedophiles out there, not to mention the hordes of Scary Muslims being battle-hardened somewhere in the Middle East before heading back to the UK to cause some kind of unspecified mayhem. And it wasn’t just the Met who were under the cosh: “CPS explains reason for hacking trial” was the Telegraph’s angle. Yeah, they wasted our money too!
It tells readers “Despite unprecedented resources being thrown at the three year investigation and eight month trial, five of the seven defendants, including former News of the World and Sun editor Rebekah Brooks, were cleared of all charges. But prosecutors and the police have insisted it was right to bring the case, which is estimated to have cost the taxpayer more than £45 million” [my emphasis].
Estimated? By whom? As Lisa O’Carroll of the deeply subversive Guardian has pointed out this morning, the total cost of the prosecution – which includes attributions for Operations Weeting, Sacha and Elveden, so accounts for Police expenditure as well as Counsel and expert witnesses – was just short of £1.75 million. Court staff will add rather more, but not that much more.
Rather less than £45 million, then
So someone is being distinctly economical with the actualité here. The “cost to the taxpayer” is nothing like the sum touted by the Tel. If anyone had to stump up serious money, it was the Murdoch empire, which bankrolled legal teams for all the defendants. The Crown, on the other hand, had to make do with rather less in the way of resources, as Peter Jukes pointed out earlier.
So that's who spent the most
As Peter notes, the whole prosecution team cost around £5,000 a week. Rebekah Brooks’ team alone cost ten times that. The falsehood and misinformation on costs has been bad: added to that is the inevitable “free press under attack”, this line being supplied by Stuart Kuttner, former Sun managing editor, and eagerly taken up by the Telegraph. And Kuttner’s old paper has made its own contribution.
Taking the biscuit? Full pack of Hobnobs, more like
“Miliband and his aides mistake the obsessions of Westminster, and the hysteria of Labour’s Twitter fan club, for the national conversation ... many normal people won’t know who Coulson is. They talk about the economy and immigration ... Ask a question about those, Ed”. The least f***ing subtle Look Over There you will see – until the next one. The message is clear: one, it was a waste of money.
And two, just don’t talk about it, right? So I will. You know how it is, Rupe.