Stephen Glover: The editor of The Times must learn the lessons of the News of the World

Media Studies: Had the judge known the facts, he might have referred the case to the police

Tomorrow the editor of The Times, James Harding, is due to appear before the Leveson Inquiry a second time. I suspect he will be pretty nervous. When he appeared before the inquiry three weeks ago he appears to have been somewhat economical with the truth concerning a case of email hacking at his paper. The Times also stands accused of withholding important information from a High Court judge in 2009.

The background to this story is a touch involved. In June 2009, The Times decided to identify the policeman behind an anonymous and widely read blog called NightJack. Why it should have done so is not obvious. NightJack lifted the lid on life on the beat. It had even won the Orwell Prize. Many would say that it shone a light on normally shady corners, but The Times thought it put the confidentiality of victims of crime at risk.

Not unnaturally, the author of NightJack wanted to remain anonymous, and so the matter came up in front of our old friend Mr Justice Eady. The Times won. NightJack was unmasked as Detective Constable Richard Horton of Lancashire police. His blog was closed down by his superiors, and he was disciplined. All this may have been to the paper's discredit, but it had done nothing improper. Where it went wrong – and this is the crucial point, if you are beginning to nod off – was in not telling Mr Justice Eady that DC Horton's identity had been established by a young Times reporter called Patrick Foster hacking into his email.

On 17 January, James Harding, editor of The Times, appeared in front of Lord Justice Leveson. In what seemed a commendable spirit of openness, he told the inquiry that he had disciplined Mr Foster for accessing the email account by giving him a written warning. What he failed to mention, however, was that at the time of the hearing before Mr Justice Eady the newspaper knew illegal hacking had been used to establish DC Horton's identity, but did not inform the learned judge. This information was vouchsafed by Mr Harding in a letter to the Leveson Inquiry a week after his appearance.

Is this serious? The Guardian and the Daily Telegraph think so. They have been running lots of pieces about it, no doubt partly out of a pardonable wish to discomfort a rival. It is certainly an important story. The Times should not have published an article partly based on email hacking (I say "partly" because it is asserted that Mr Foster used additional legal means to establish DC Horton's identity) and it should not have kept Mr Justice Eady in the dark about its means of discovery. If he had known, he would have presumably thrown out the case, and might have referred the matter to the police.

But, although I am as keen on a witch-hunt as the next man, I can't work myself up into a very high state of indignation. Perhaps this is a fault in me, and others may take a different view. I deplore The Times's decision to unmask NightJack, and deprecate the methods it used. On the other side of the ledger, Mr Foster no longer works for the paper, having been dismissed for unrelated reasons, and no one has revealed any other instances of email hacking at The Times.

Nonetheless, Mr Harding is undeniably in a pickle. He reportedly spent much of last week closeted with advisers preparing for his appearance tomorrow. If he is to keep his job, he will have to show that he was not party to the misleading of Mr Justice Eady. Whoever was must take the rap. The lesson of the far more serious and ramifying phone-hacking scandal at The Times's former sibling, the News of the World, is that doing nothing makes things worse.

 

Should Guardian still see the bigger picture?

Experience has taught me that re-designs usually grow on you. In fact, I have already got used to The Guardian's recent re-ordering of its deck chairs, which was occasioned by a need to save money.

But I am perplexed by one thing – the paper's retention of its centre picture spread across two pages. It is often an arresting feature, but it seems more of a luxury in a slimmed-down paper that has lost some of its comment space. A big picture may be cheaper than words, but the pages are still expensive newsprint, and could be used for more down-to-earth journalistic purposes.

 

Bankers are not the only undeserving ones

Sly Bailey, chief executive of Trinity Mirror, is reportedly on holiday in Barbados, and may therefore be unaware of the latest expression of investor anger at her enormous pay packet. She has pocketed around £12.5m during her nine years at the helm, during which time the company's share price has fallen nearly 90 per cent. If she were a banker, the Daily Mirror would be up in arms, the more so as it was announced last week that there will be a further 75 redundancies at the group's national titles.

s.glover@independent.co.uk

News
people
News
people And here is why...
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsWelsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
News
i100
Sport
footballLatest scores and Twitter updates
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
Life and Style
The spring/summer 2015 Louis Vuitton show for Paris Fashion Week
fashion
Voices
voices
Sport
Ronaldinho signs the t-shirt of a pitch invader
footballProof they are getting bolder
News
William Hague
people... when he called Hague the county's greatest
Extras
indybestKeep extra warm this year with our 10 best bedspreads
Life and Style
health
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

SEO Executive

£24 - 28k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Technical SEO Executive to join one ...

Research Analyst / Insight Analyst

£25k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Research Analyst / Insight Analyst to joi...

RTB/ Programmatic Campaign Manager

35,000 - 50,000: Sphere Digital Recruitment: Our client is the world's largest...

Head of Marketing - Acquisition & Direct Reponse Marketing

£90000 - £135000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing (B2C, Acquisition...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad