Former Screws stalwarts Jules Stenson and Neil “Wolfman” Wallis have been charged with an alleged conspiracy to hack phones. The alleged conspiracy was “with former News of the World editor Andy Coulson, five other journalists from the paper, private investigator Glenn Mulcaire and ‘other persons unknown’ to illegally intercept voicemail messages”.
Wallis was not backward in coming forward with a suitably victim-playing response: “I am devastated that more than three years after my initial arrest, this has been brought against me. My family and I have already paid a huge price from the police’s very public attention”. There is something in this: he had already been bailed for around two years before a decision not to charge him. But there was more.
“Perhaps it is inevitable that after being such an outspoken critic of the collateral damage and pain caused by this endlessly vindictive and enormously costly investigation the ire has been turned on me for something that occurred at News International which I was not party to and have always said was wrong. Sadly, legal reporting restrictions prevent me commenting further on this sad day”.
And from that point there has been little comment, not even from the most outspoken of pundits. Nor will there be any further interventions on this blog until the forthcoming trial has concluded: as with the previous hacking trial, we know the contempt laws sufficiently well to keep schtum. There is also the need to give Wallis and Stenson a fair trial – as with their former colleagues.
This point of view has been, at least by implication, endorsed by the usual suspects: nothing so far from Richard Littlejohn, Rod Liddle, Kevin Maguire, Andrew Pierce, or even Quentin Letts (let’s not). But, as with the early days of the first hacking trial, someone – and perhaps her paper – thinks she’s above that sort of thing. Yes, it’s another self-promoting rant from Louise Mensch.
She has previous here, too.
As Jon Stewart might have said, two things here. One, they didn’t lose the case against Coulson and several others, and they are the ones on the charge sheet alongside Wallis and Stenson. And two, charging depends on a number of factors, none of which I’m going to go into here. And I’m not going to go into what information Ms Mensch may not be party to. Because some of us want to see a fair trial.
In the meantime, some of the rest of us would be well advised to put a sock in it.