Wednesday 26th February
The lamest defence in the world; I didn’t even know it was illegal. Rebekah Brooks, who some might say was an educated woman, used this in her phone hacking trial. She did admit that she thought it was distasteful and at the lower end of the moral spectrum (whatever that means), but she didn’t know it was actually illegal. After all it was so commonly used by the Sun and News of the World reporters that it had become completely acceptable, as was paying the Police for information and a whole host of dirty tricks to get stories. But the real crime, whether or not Rebekah knew what she was presiding over, was the destroying of peoples lives.
You could argue that Celebrities who court and use the press to enrich themselves are asking for it, and I personally find this Celebrity culture we are immersed in pathetic and self-serving, however nobody deserves their love-life to be revealed in all its gory detail, or the fact that they may be Gay, or another level that they may in the past have committed a minor crime which is now dredged up for our delectation.
Then there is the question of responsibility. Rebekah was the editor of the News of the World, she was supposed to be the final decision-maker about what went into print, and as such she had a responsibility to ensure that the stories wee true (very rarely) and that they had been obtained legally and fairly (even rarer). Her second defence that she knew nothing specifically about phone hacking is simply silly. She should have known that phone hacking was going on, just as she should have known that it was illegal.