The Sun today compares the decision to seek a retrial of four of its journalists accused of improperly paying public officials for stories to the failure to act against most jihadis who have returned to the UK from Syria.
It's a rum comparison, but the Sun's sense of grievance is understandable. We don't seem to have seen a great deal of balance in matters relating to the Press since the hacking scandal erupted in 2011.
The Leveson inquiry and police investigations focused heavily on the Murdoch papers, but the Independent splashes today on the suggestion that phone-hacking at the Mirror group may have been worse than at News International.
It is generally accepted that hacking all but stopped with the imprisonment in 2007 of Clive Goodman and the private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, but the High Court was told last week that it may have continued for a further four years at the MGN.
Last year the Metropolitan Police were found to have used the anti-terrorist legislation RIPA to uncover journalists' sources. Promises of a tightening of the code governing the use of the act turned out to mean a requirement to "note" when people whose data were being checked worked in areas of confidentiality, such as journalism, the law, medicine. The consultation period for this change ended this week.
Also this week, the Guardian reported that its Edward Snowden material shows that the security services regard journalists as "dangerous" and in the same league as terrorists and computer hackers.
It seems, therefore, an opportune moment to offer - without comment - the following snapshot:
- The Leveson inquiry into Press standards cost £5.4m
- The police operations arising from the hacking scandal have cost £40m
- That includes more than £11m on Operation Elveden, which is investigating payments to public officials
- Prosecutions of journalists since 2011 have cost the CPS more than £4m
- Setting up a new regulator under the royal charter has cost £900,000
Journalist trials completed since 2011
- Four journalists have been jailed after being convicted of or admitting phone hacking
- Three journalists have been given suspended sentences after admitting phone hacking
- Two journalists have been found not guilty of phone hacking
- One journalist was given a suspended sentence after being convicted of handling a stolen mobile phone
- One journalist was found not guilty of handling a mobile phone
- One journalist was given a suspended sentence after being convicted of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office (paying a prison officer)
- Six journalists have been cleared of illegally paying officials
- Seven journalists face retrials on payments charges
Journalists accused of paying officials
- Chris Pharo, Ben O'Driscoll, Graham Dudman and Jamie Pyatt of the Sun are to face a retrial after a jury failed to reach a majority verdict on charges that they illegally paid public officials for stories. Their colleagues John Edwards and John Troup were cleared of the charges against them. All six were cleared of taking part in a "grand conspiracy" and Pharo, O'Driscoll and Dudman were also found not guilty on other counts.
- Four more Sun journalists are on trial at the Old Bailey on similar charges. Geoffrey Webster, deputy editor, Fergus Shanahan, executive editor, Duncan Larcombe, royal reporter, and former chief reporter John Kay all plead not guilty.
- One News of the World reporter has been found guilty of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office by paying officials; Clodagh Hartley of the Sun was cleared of that charge.
- John Troup, John Edwards and Nick Parker of the Sun and Tom Savage of the Star have been cleared of aiding and abetting such misconduct. Vince Soodin of the Sun faces a retrial after a jury failed to agree in his case last year.
- Rebekah Brooks was cleared of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office at the phone hacking trial last year. The jury failed to reach a verdict on similar charges against Andy Coulson and Clive Goodman and they will be retried before Judge Saunders at the Old Bailey in June. Dan Evans, who admitted all charges against him and gave evidence for the prosecution in the hacking trial, is the only journalist to have pleaded guilty to a charge relating to paying officials.
- Six News International journalists (Neil Millard, Tom Wells, Neil Wallis, Anthony France, Brandon Malinsky and Ryan Sabey) and two from the Mirror group (Greg Box-Turnbull and Graham Brough) have been charged in relation to payments to officials and are awaiting trial.
- Mirror Group Newspapers apologised in the High Court this week after settling with ten claimants who complained that their voicemail had been hacked and personal information accessed by the Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Sunday People. The court was told that eight other claims would go to trial next month. The claimants' barrister said that these were "representative" cases.
- The Independent reported today that the court had been told that up to 41 journalists had used office phones to hack mobiles in what was a "widespread and habitual" practice between 2001 and 2008. The paper reports David Sherborne QC as saying that Alan Yentob's phone had been hacked 300 times, with different journalists accessing his voicemail several times a day for five months - although no article was ever published.
- Mr Sherborne said 108 articles published in the three papers had been linked to hacking, and that these could be the "tip of the iceberg".
- One former Sunday Mirror journalist has admitted phone hacking and been given a suspended sentence.
- Four Sunday paper executives from the Mirror group (Tina Weaver, James Scott, Mark Thomas and Nick Buckley) were arrested in March 2013 and are still on police bail.
- Piers Morgan, who was Daily Mirror editor from 1996 to 2004, was interviewed under caution in December 2013. He has not been arrested. Richard Wallace, who succeeded him and was Mirror editor until 2012, was interviewed under caution in March 2013.
- Jules Stenson, former News of the World features editor, has admitted phone hacking. Neil Wallis, the paper's former deputy editor, has denied a similar charge and will go on trial in June.
- Five News of the World journalists (Andy Coulson, Greg Miskiw, Neville Thurlbeck, Ian Edmondson and Clive Goodman - in 2007) have served prison sentences after admitting or being convicted of phone hacking; two others (James Weatherup and Dan Evans) have been given suspended sentences.
- Two News of the World journalists (Rebekah Brooks and Stuart Kuttner) have been cleared of phone hacking
- One Sun journalist (Ben Ashford) was found not guilty of handling a stolen mobile phone
- One Times journalist (Patrick Foster) accepted a caution in relation to computer hacking
- One News of the World journalist (Alex Marunchak) is on police bail in relation to alleged computer hacking
- Three News of the World journalists (Andy Coulson, Bob Bird and Douglas Wright) are awaiting trial for perjury in relation to the Tommy Sheridan libel case.
- The Press recognition panel which is to monitor compliance with the royal charter on press regulation has been given £900,000 this financial year and is seeking an executive director, who will be paid up to £120,000. Sir David Wolfe, chairman of the panel, gave the figures to a Lords committee last week. No newspaper or magazine has signed up to be regulated by this body.
- Sir Alan Moses, chairman of Ipso, told the same committee that his organisation would be "Leveson compliant" by this summer, but that it would not seek royal charter recognition because publishers being regulated by Ipso did not want anything to do with it. His organisation would work alongside the other regulator, Impress, because their aims were "identical".
- Rebekah Brooks received a £16m payoff when she resigned as chief executive of News International at the height of the hacking scandal in 2011.
- News Corp's legal costs as a result of the scandal have been estimated at about £350m
- News Corp shares were trading at $16 when the scandal broke. In 2013 the company was split in two - 21st Century Fox and News Corp - and existing shareholders given four Fox shares and one new News Corp share for every four old News Corp shares .
- Fox shares are trading today at $34 and News Corp at $15. This means that someone with 100 old News Corp shares worth $1,600 in 2011 would now have a holding worth $3,825.
- The old News Corp's value dropped by $7bn to $41bn in the week the scandal broke. Fox is now worth $71bn and News Corp $8bn.