From Nick Davies, who I've had the pleasure of spending the last eight months with at the phone hacking trial
Rupert Murdoch has been officially informed by Scotland Yard that detectives want to interview him as a suspect as part of their inquiry into allegations of crime at his British newspapers.Tough for me to say more while there are two indictments the jury are still considering (against Goodman and Coulson over paying Royal Protection police for internal palace phone directories). But Mr Ceebs has a great piece about the costing of the trial so far, coming soon
It is understood that detectives first contacted Murdoch last year to arrange to question him but agreed to a request from his lawyers to wait until the phone-hacking trial was finished.
The interview is expected to take place in the near future in the UK and will be conducted "under caution", the legal warning given to suspects. His son James, who was the executive chairman of News International in the UK, may also be questioned.
News of the police move comes after an Old Bailey jury found Murdoch's former News of the World editor Andy Coulson guilty of conspiring to hack phones, but acquitted his former UK chief executive Rebekah Brooks on all charges.
The verdict on Coulson also means that Murdoch's UK company is now threatened with a possible corporate charge, while the media owner also faces the prospect of a dozen more criminal trials involving his journalists as well as hundreds more legal actions in the high court from the alleged victims of phone hacking by the News of the World.
The British Press is now in a spin because they allege £100 million has been spent with the main defendant, Rebekah Brooks, being found not guilty on all charges.
This figure is totally confected, but I cannot reveal more till the full verdicts are in
I happen to think this is justice, because the evidence was lacking (for various reasons) in her criminal case. The jury had be to 'sure she must have known' about phone hacking during the 3 years of her editorship of News of the World. They weren't. Though given the Milly Dowler story was written containing her voicemails, and Glenn Mulcaire was paid $150k per annum, there's little doubt as a competent editor she 'should' have known.
But unlike Andy Coulson, there is no surviving call data from that era. From his editorship at News of the World we have much more data since the arrest of Mulcaire and royal reporter Clive Goodman in 2006, and about 12 months of call records which show 1,500 hacks, half from News International itself.
Coulson's guilty verdict makes him the sixth person of the original eight arraigned to be found guilty of phone hacking.
Mr Ceebs has a point about costs.
The Misrepresentation of the Hacking Trial Verdicts
The Trial of the century is mostly over, barring a couple of charges and the press would have it that Everyone has walked away apart from Andy Coulson and that the CPS has thus failed utterly in bringing a malicious prosecution against a group of upright citizens who should never have been there in the first place, on top of this they are claiming that the Crown have spent through lawyers and police a total of £30 million on an unnecessary trial.
This argument will be pushed by a whole selection of papers in the next few days as it is in their interest. If the charge can be shown to be spurious then much of the justification for the reforms suggested by Lord Leveson are obviously unnecessary.
However there are several details that the magicians of the press don’t want you to look at while they trot out their card trick.
Firstly they seem to be forgetting the selection of Journalists that have pleaded guilty before the trial began. Of those originally tried and due up before the judge we have Neville Thurlbeck, James Weatherup, Greg Miskiw, and Glenn Mulcaire who all pleaded guilty before the case came to court so rather than Just one we actually have five guilty verdicts
Another missing guilty plea we have from the middle of the trial is that of Dan Evans, another former reporter who appeared and gave evidence.
In total so far we have six former Journalists and Editors at the News of the World found guilty or admitted their guilt rather than just one as is being reported, and it is possible that that number could increase by one as the final verdicts are brought in by the Jury, but that is something that the jury are yet to decide on and we shouldn’t draw conclusions.
As to the £30 million pound cost of the police action, this amount is actually spread across several trials, covering several police operations (elveden, weeting, and others) if we separate the police cost of just this trial it actually comes to only £19 million,
The Full £30 million has so far resulted in the trails of and conviction of several figures who work in police, prisons and hospitals as an example we have April Casburn a former Detective Chief Inspector jailed for offering to sell information to the News of the World, We also have Bettina Jordan barber, from the Ministry of defence, convicted for selling stories to the News of the World, Richard Trunkfield, a former prison officer and that’s just a start of the list. There are also a pharmacist from sandhurst, police constables, and this is just the ones where reporting restrictions have been lifted
Of the convictions that we know about, there are a minimum of fourteen so far, however this is probably yet to increase as convictions linked to as yet unheld cases become public knowledge. And their relevance is no longer concealed “for legal reasons”