Thursday, 9 July 2009

Whose Law

The Guardian today has a story about criminality at the News of the World. In January 2007 a News of the World Journalist, Clive Goodman, was jailed for hacking into the mobile phones of three royal staff. We were assurred by the News of the World that this was an isolated incident involving am 'out of control' member of staff acting without the knowledge of its managers and indeed its owner Rubert Murdoch. However the Guardian has now claimed that:
  • The police investigation into the Goodman account discovered that thousands of mobile phones had been hacked into by private investigators working for the News of the World.

  • The police did not inform the victims

  • That the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to press any charges relating to these thousands of criminal acts.

  • That Gordon Taylor, the Chief Executive of the Professional Footballers Association, on hearing during the January 2007 case that his phone had been target sued the News of the World. During the case documents were disclosed which showed that this was not an out of control journalist but widespread and conducted with knowledge of NoW management.

  • Taylor was paid £700,000 damages and legal costs on the condition he signed a 'gagging clause'.

  • The High Court agreed to 'seal' the court papers effectively helping cover up the NoW's criminality.
This case illustrates how the criminal justice system treats crimes by the powerful very differently to those committed by ordinary people. The police, crown prosecution service and courts all worked to cover up thousands of serious criminal acts.

Rubert Murdoch's relationship with the law seems to be no different from the nineteenth century corporate criminal Daniel Drew who observed:
law is no such wonderful thing after all. Law is like a cobweb; it's made for flies and the smaller kind of insects, so to speak, but lets the big bumblebees break through. I showed him in this affair that I was the bumblebee. Where technicalities of the law stood in my way, I have always been able to brush them aside easy as anything.

1 comment:

  1. See this as an update