Leading article: Hacking avoids its day in court

 

Share
Related Topics

It is not hard to understand why many of the celebrities and politicians who had their phones hacked by journalists from News International have accepted out-of-court damages payments from Rupert Murdoch. It has saved them the time, money and stress that would have been involved in court hearings, from which details – lurid or otherwise – would have been laid bare for all to read.

When their legal actions began, the civil courts seemed the only recourse. The police had seemed alarmingly uninterested in their complaints – an attitude the Metropolitan Police now admits was a mistake. Then early compensation deals left the impression that the Murdoch organisation would be successful in burying the scandal. The whole thing, or most of it, would be swept under the carpet, and the extent of News International's misdeeds would never be known.

The Leveson Inquiry changed all that, providing the victims with a platform from which to air their grievances. And yesterday's settlements, in which the comedian Steve Coogan and the former footballer Paul Gascoigne were among those who agreed compensation, mean that the vast majority of the first wave of complaints against the Murdochs have now been dealt with.

News International will no doubt be pleased that a potential spate of court cases will not now bring more bad publicity and preoccupy its executives. Only the lawyers will be disappointed, as the prospect of more fat fees vanishes. But Mr Murdoch and his organisation have not escaped unharmed. The reputational damage is considerable, even if, as it appears, the pay-outs come in below £1m in total.

It must nonetheless be a cause for regret that the tasteless, immoral and downright criminal activities of the Murdoch journalistic culture will not be exposed in the same detail that they might have been before a court. Some of the hacking victims were, as Steve Coogan put it, "ordinary members of the public, sometimes vulnerable people with the most tenuous connection to news". They will not now get their day in court.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SAP Assessor

£26000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: SAP Assessor Job T...

KS1 and KS2 Primary NQT Job in Lancaster Area

£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education is urgently...

HR Advisor (Employee Relations) - Kentish Town, NW London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor (Employee Rela...

Derivatives Risk Commodities Business Analyst /Market Risk

£600 - £800 per day: Harrington Starr: Derivatives Risk Commodities Business A...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Daily catch-up: eurogloom, Ed in Red and Cameron's Wilsonian U-turn on control orders

John Rentoul
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering