View all newsletters
Sign up for our free email newsletters

Fighting for quality news media in the digital age.

  1. Media Law
December 1, 2014

‘Heavy-handed cops, gung-ho prosecutors and thin-skinned political rulers’ condemned by Kavanagh after Sun reporter’s acquittal

By Dominic Ponsford

Sun associate editor Trevor Kavanagh has condemned “heavy-handed cops, gung-ho prosecutors and our thin-skinned political rulers” for the prosecution of his colleague Clodagh Hartley.

Hartley was cleared of conspiracy to commit misconduct in pubic office last week after what Kavanagh describes as “a crippling sentence of two years, six months and a day on police and court bail”.

Kavanagh has noted that seven journalists have now been tried under the “catch-all” charge of conspiring to commit misconduct in public office after payments were made to public officials.

Only one has been convicted (a former reporter for the News of the World who cannot be named for legal reasons). But he said they are likely to appeal.

Kavanagh said: “Their alleged crimes amount to writing or paying for stories the authorities wanted kept under wraps.

“The cost to taxpayers is stupendous…The cost in wrecked private and professional lives is beyond calculation.

“And for what? The stories were all true. They were stood up. Nobody in the prison service, health service or HM Treasury ever complained to the police or to the newspapers involved. There were no leak inquiries.”

Content from our partners
Publishing on the open web is broken, how generative AI could help fix it
Impress: Regulation, arbitration and complaints resolution
Papermule: Workflow automation for publishers

The recent trials of journalists for payments to public officials have arisen because of evidence volunteered to police by News Corp’s Management and Standard’s Commitee in the wake of the hacking scandal.

Kavanagh said: “Why, if such alleged conspiracies were so serious, did newly zealous prosecutors not act much sooner?

“Why didn’t they look for evidence BEFORE it was handed to them on a plate?

“Was there perhaps a link with The Sun’s decision to stop supporting Labour? Or the bombshell revelations about MPs’ expenses?

“And why are public officials so darned special?

“Why is it a jailing offence, rather than a breach of employment contract, to brief the media without a line manager’s consent?”

 

Email pged@pressgazette.co.uk to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

Websites in our network