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Friday 6 March 2015

Fleet Street Fox - Not Waving But Drowning

Following my observation that a Sunday Mirror headline topping an article with her name on the by-line had been displayed by the BBC News At Ten with a piece on Phone Hacking, Susie Boniface, aka Fleet Street Fox, has been persuaded to comment. And, to no surprise at all, her response has been severely adverse. However, and here we encounter a significantly sized however, she does not address the points raised well.
Susie Boniface

It’s bollocks” she said, dismissively, before going on to explain “Several stories with several bylines, which were obscured. Bylines don’t show shared knowledge”. That the bylines were not visible is irrelevant. Her name was on “Lucy Falls Into Arms Of Acrobat”, about Lucy Benjamin, who has successfully sued Trinity Mirror for hacking her phone. She appears to suggest the Fawlty Towers Manuel defence: “I know nothing”.
Ms Boniface also invokes the spirit of Diana, Princess of Wales in her defence as she tells “There are 3 names there. It wasn’t my story; I did hardly any work on it and wasn’t in [the] same place as the other 2”. Yes, there were three people in that byline, and so it was a bit crowded in there. Did she not look at the resulting story and ask how the cost of Ms Benjamin’s drinks bill could have been stated with such accuracy?
But soon we get to the Main Event, where she tells “Criminals are often reluctant to tell people they’re committing crime. Unwelcome to discover later that they were”. I’ll take that as an admission that the Lucy Benjamin article was, at least partly, the result of illegal activity. And, having secured that admission, let’s move swiftly along to another story with Ms Boniface’s name on the byline, that concerning newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky.
While she protests “I didn’t know and I didn’t benefit - you’re just tasked to knock a door on someone else’s tale”, the Kaplinsky story has so many angles that should do more than arouse suspicion that it is difficult to see why no questions were asked about it. How did the hacks and snappers know she would be in that particular South London cafe? Did Ms Boniface see that as some kind of fortunate coincidence?
She claims it “didn’t effect me”. So no questions as to how the “tearful confession” of Ms Kaplinsky was reported with such certainty. None as to how the hacks knew that her then partner was in France when he took the call. All that Ms Boniface can do is to conclude that “The only time that’s been judged was the NOTW trial - jury found editor did not know”. And that’s not quite true, is it?
Rebekah Brooks was found Not Guilty. But Andy Coulson got guilty. And, something Ms Boniface may usefully ponder, the hacks - like Clive Goodman and Neville Thurlbeck - ended up pleading guilty, given the evidence against them. Susie Boniface is not in the position of Ms Brooks. She was a mere foot soldier. 

Ultimately, though, what matters is not any one person’s opinion, but what the law enforcement authorities decide to do. I would not like to be in her shoes right now.


AndyC said...

I think you will find that the 'I know nothing' defence pre-dates Fawlty Tower's Manuel, as it was the usual response of Sgt Shultz, whenever that stalwart of 'Hogan's Heroes' was asked about some embarrassing event that had occurred on his watch.

Anonymous said...

She & Dan Evans apparently sat next to each other on the Sunday Mirror, on the one table given over to reporters. And yet she completely failed to notice he was hacking phones on an industrial scale. Which is lucky.