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Monday 6 July 2015

Last Screws Hacker Sentenced

After the Lord Mayor’s parade, as the saying goes, comes the man who sweeps the streets. So it was today for former Screws features editor Jules Stenson, last in the long line of less than distinguished Murdoch retainers to be sentenced for their part in the borderline criminal enterprise that was the UK’s best-selling newspaper before the chief Mafioso put it out of its misery four years ago.
There was no live-Tweeted trial: that Stenson, as Mr Justice Saunders observed, had decided to ‘fess up and plead guilty ”and not to try his luck with a jury demonstrates courage and some remorse for what he has done”. Stenson broke down “in tears of relief” as he realised that his four month sentence was to be suspended for 12 months: he would therefore be spared following Andy Coulson to Belmarsh.

Outside the court, he was contrite: “I just want to reiterate my apology to victims of hacking. It was wrong and it should never have happened and I have to bear the responsibility for that … I would like to thank the judge for his compassion and in particular would like to apologise to staff at the News of the World, 99% of whom had no involvement in hacking and had their lives severely affected by the action that we, but primarily Andy Coulson, took. They did not deserve that”. That’s one big onion he’s holding.

The judge was yet more conciliatory: “Mr Stenson’s case is that he allowed himself to be drawn into phone hacking because he was put under pressure to produce stories by Mr Coulson and he was driven to use illegal means in order to avoid the sack”. He had to do it, you see, but he didn’t really want to. They made him break the law.
At this point, anyone who has followed Phonehackgate from its initial reporting by the Guardian back in 2009 (the first Zelo Street posts from that time can be seen HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE) will have experienced a loud screaming from their bullshit detector. Jules Stenson may claim now to have been an unwilling participant, but he was utterly unrepentant when he famously appeared on Newsnight in December 2011.

He was aggressive and determined as he sought to rubbish Nick Davies over the Dowler revelations, constantly suggesting that the Guardian reporting was somehow suspect, and that the Screws had been wronged. It was only when Davies called him out with “You’ve hired private investigators who have broken the law, haven’t you, Jules?” that Stenson began to waver. It got worse for the former Screws man.

His name, Davies confirmed, was “all over” the records of Steve Whittamore, busted for his industrial scale operation to gather data, much of it illegal. Stenson becomes evasive and defensive, yet still aggressive and in denial over the antics of the Screws and its fellow red-tops. Yet today he stood outside the court and played the victim, humble and apologetic, as if it would wash away the taint of his participation.

Jules Stenson was, and is, a bully and a coward. Contrition? Pass the sick bucket.


rob said...

Well now extra time and penalties have been handed down have we had the score verified by La Mensch yet or would she still be studying the replayed action?

Seems to be a difference of opinion between her (and other Murdoch acolytes) and the referee, sorry judge, as to the fairness of the press (those that bothered to attend that is) in its reporting of the "hacking trials".

Any chance of her receiving a less than golden boot?

Anonymous said...

"...in particular would like to apologise to staff at the News of the World, 99% of whom had no involvement in hacking and had their lives severely affected by the action that we, but primarily Andy Coulson, took."

And not a word for the victims.

And lest we forget, those victims extended way beyond the hacking victims. It included all the most vulnerable people in this country, the easy targets, the quarter of our population in poverty, the millions unemployed, the Hillsborough families, asylum seekers, those on benefits, and any politician who had the guts to lift his/her head above the parapet and face down Murdoch bullies and propaganda thugs. Bullies and thugs like Stenson.

I have nothing but contempt for him, even less for his self-pitying crocodile tears and the "workers" at the Screws who went along with that rag's propaganda when they knew very well what the intention was.

As for him being "forced to do" what he did.....what evidence is there for that piece of anodyne muck? What happened to what passes for his "conscience"?

It's a pity Stenson isn't rotting in the slammer with the others. But what else do we expect?

Andy McDonald said...

It'll probably be reported (if at all) as 'NOTW man walks free'.

foxytom said...

What is the total number of convictions now?