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Thursday 15 September 2016

Murdoch Sidekick NOT Exonerated

After the Commons committee report that found former Murdoch lawyer Tom Crone, and editor Colin Myler, had committed acts of contempt, there was also the case of former faithful lieutenant Les Hinton to consider. At first, the word was that he had been cleared, and so had not been shown to have done anything wrong. This was spun as a victory by the likes of the Sun’s non-bullying political editor Tom Newton Dunn.
Newton Dunn dutifully urges his Twitter followers to “look over there” as he claims “Delighted for @leshinton that the HoC's Privileges Committee has cleared him of misleading the Commons. Unfair slight for 5 years”. Except it hasn’t really cleared him. But this is not about factual analysis: what has to be done is that the outcome of the Committee’s deliberations must be spun as a victory for the Murdoch mafiosi.

Hence Newton Dunn telling “CMS Committee and Tom Watson accused of ‘sham trial and free-for-all character assassination’ by @leshinton”, and attaching not any kind of evidence, but Hinton’s own apologia, which conveniently dumps events five years ago on Labour MP Tom Watson, because he is one of those who caused Rupe and his pals significant discomfort, and also ensured the world knew They Done It.
What neither Hinton, nor Newton Dunn, wants is for anyone to make their own mind up about this story, and that may explain the lack of a link to the actual report. But here on Zelo Street we have no such problem with openness, and can therefore tell readers they can read that report right HERE. And the first observation in “Our Conclusion” as regards Les Hinton is “The evidence on this issue is not clear cut”.

Moreover, “Our overall impression of Les Hinton’s evidence in 2009 is of a deliberate strategy to provide accurate evidence, but only up to a point. That point was disclosure of
information which was already part of the public record. Beyond that point he did not
disclose … The failure to disclose tends to create a suspicion that Les Hinton’s answers were misleading and designed to be so; but for a finding of contempt there needs something concrete upon which to fix that contempt”.
And the Committee concludes thus: “Weighing all of the above, we consider that the evidence that Les Hinton misled the CMS Committee about the extent of his knowledge of allegations that phone hacking extended beyond Clive Goodman and Glenn Mulcaire to others at the News of the World does not meet the standard of proof we have set for finding of contempt (that the allegations are significantly more likely than not to be true). We make no finding of contempt on this issue”.

That, Tom Newton Dunn and fellow Murdoch spinners, is not exoneration, not “being cleared”. But having no more than “a suspicion that [his] answers were misleading and designed to be so” is not sufficient to make a finding of contempt.

So Hinton was given the benefit of the doubt. As such, he is in no position to start lecturing Parliamentarians on their conduct. He should keep quiet and consider himself fortunate.


rob said...

It was not a particular surprise that he was carted off to the US once the phonehacking scandal took off.

A similar insrance arose when Neil Wallis clainmed he had been cleared originally when the CPS decided there was not enough evidence to proceed to trial. But then why should facts get in the way of the Murdoch Mafioso when they and their own need protecting (to stretch their cred even further they also apparently knew nothing about Roger Ailes little foibles)?

For more adventures into factansyland see Donald Trump and FoxNews coverage of the US election.

Anonymous said...

"Except it hasn’t really cleared him."

Slippery word, "really."

In law there's either enough evidence to convict or not. In this case there wasn't. Ergo proctor sum in law he's innocent until proved guilty.

You can't have it both ways, Tim. Not according to the law.

That somebody is, in your opinion, a piece of lowlife is of no consequence.

It ill behoves you to accuse other people of "ranting" and being "bigots" when you forget the above.

Bob said...

James Murdoch has secret meeting with the P.M. - Government then reneges on part of BBC charter agreement. For the Murdoch mafia it's business as usual.

fan of Bob Loblaw Law Blog said...

@Anonymous 18:08, Please state where in the Privileges Committee report is Les Hinton 'cleared of misleading the Commons'.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 18.08. Never heard of Not Proven? This appears to be a suitable candidate for such a verdict.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous, 15th September at 21:08.

"Not proven" is in Scottish law, not English.

It's under question there too. As a starter, see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-35527022

foxytom said...

@Anymous. He was either exonerated or he wasn't? Which?

Damocles said...

Until next time, Mr Hinton and I'm sure that your track record will speak volumes for you.

Anonymous said...

To foxytom at 12:08.

He was neither "exonerated" or condemned.

Which is rather the point, legally speaking.

But I have no intention of continuing a sophist argument about a form of words. Or "clearing" Hinton. Until he's nailed legally that's just the way it is. Like it or not.

fan of Bob Loblaw Law Blog said...

@Anonymous 13:35, In that case, why post if you lack the means to present a reasoned justification for what Newton Dunn tweeted.

Anonymous said...

To Boblaw at 14:30.


Because the original "point" (see blog headline) was of "exoneration." Whereas, as demonstrated above, Hinton was (again) neither "exonerated" or condemned.

It wasn't and isn't a question of "justification" either.


fan of Bob Loblaw Law Blog said...

@ Anonymous 17:34, You didn't question the headline. You went hair-splitting over 'cleared' and absurd over 'ranting' and 'bully'.
Are you stating that your original post was to correct a heading that is factual?