Let’s not forget that Rebekah Brooks was a victim too. Goodness me, yes…

How could we dispute the Murdoch press’s reporting of the outcome of the hacking trial?


Beside the Thames in Wapping, the tide of victimhood turns. Following last week’s Southwark Crown Court verdicts, the Murdoch titles would have us believe that the person whose rights were shamefully violated was not a murdered schoolgirl, but a “vindicated” former chief executive of News International.

The conviction of one News of the World editor, Andy Coulson, is lightly glossed over as a virtual irrelevance in favour of castigating those responsible for prosecuting the one, Rebekah Brooks, who was acquitted. The Sunday Times devotes not only a full page to wondering aloud why Brooks was ever brought to court, but also a leader. “Mrs Brooks insisted on her innocence from the start, and said she was being subjected to a witch hunt,” it proclaims, as if outraged by the police’s impertinence in not taking a suspect’s word on trust. “The jury’s verdict goes a long way to bearing her out and gives the lie to those who believed phone hacking was endorsed at senior level by News International.”

No one would be so arrogant as to dispute a verdict, of course, though a certain newspaper took the trouble yesterday to remind us that it can be fallible. And so to the report in the same Sunday Times about a mock trial – conceived by the real judge who presided, and featuring real barristers – designed to illuminate flaws in the jury system. Peculiarly, it starred Alan Johnson MP, as an armed robber who stole £68,000 from a betting shop.

A dozen separate juries watched the identical trial on video, so The Sunday Times relates, and 10 of the dozen acquitted. This outcome, says Johnners, “showed that even though I was as guilty as hell, they had to be sure beyond reasonable doubt to convict me, and that is very difficult”. So it is.

One admires the newspaper’s mischievousness in juxtaposing that with its self-righteous cant about Mrs Brooks and her “witch hunt”, and appreciates its timely reminder of the distinction between proving the absolute innocence of a defendant and the prosecution’s failure to convince a jury of the certainty of the accused’s guilt.

At least Cameron is consistently cack-handed

Say what you like about the Prime Minister’s form on foreign battle fields, but acknowledge his consistency. With Jean-Claude Juncker, just as when he personally associated himself with the initiative to bring the World Cup to England, Two-Votes Cameron persuaded precisely one other nation (Hungary) to his way of thinking.

The cap is also doffed to Jeremy Hunt for dismissing those who did support Juncker as “cowards”. It isn’t every day you can praise the Health Secretary for speaking with expertise, least of all about the NHS, but he opines on personal courage with the authority of the braveheart whose reflex, on spotting journalists while on his way to a private dinner with Rupert Murdoch, was to hide behind a tree.

READ MORE: What is David Cameron playing at? His anti-EU stance is totally irresponsible

Andy Coulson and the second-chance saloon

A delight, as ever, to find William Hague cleaving precious moments from Brangelina’s company to grace Andrew Marr’s BBC1 show from his Chevening retreat. Yesterday, he was inevitably invited to comment on David Cameron’s hiring of Andy Coulson.

“Sometimes,” said the Foreign Secretary, parroting the line to take, “you give someone a second chance.” We will return to this matter, and try to understand the second-chance saloon distinction between breaking the law and being fitted up by it, if Andrew Mitchell is not recalled to the Cabinet in the forthcoming reshuffle.

READ MORE: Hacking trial: The Establishment is dead. Long live the Establishment

Even white noise is better than Andy Townsend

At the risk of labouring the point, something must to be done about Andy Townsend, who retains the post of ITV’s premier football co-commentator he inherited from Ron Atkinson. Which target audience Mr Townsend has in mind when he deploys the monotone to repeat what the commentator has just said about a piece of action is not clear, and we must leave it to a judicial enquiry to determine whether it is the blind or the insomniac.

It the meantime it cannot be beyond a developer to invent a piece of smart TV software that recognises his vocal patterns, and instantly replaces him with white noise, the radio news pips, nail scraping over blackboard, Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” or any other sound known to humanity, in time for next season’s Champions League.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Support Analyst - London - £22,000

£20000 - £22000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - Chel...

Learning Support Assistants-Nantwich area

£8 - £9 per hour: Randstad Education Chester: We are currently recruiting for ...

Primary Teachers-Northwich area

£85 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Primary Teachers- Northwich Ar...

Primary Teachers-Northwich area

£85 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Primary Teachers- Northwich Ar...

Day In a Page

Read Next

The reactions to Renee Zellweger's face say more about us than about her

Emma Gannon
US Secretary of State John Kerry  

When only 4 per cent of those killed by US drone strikes are named members of al-Qaeda, it's hard to trust American foreign policy

Abigail Fielding-Smith
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London