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A week of action in the UK courts in the ongoing Phone hacking saga The first step was a procedural step in the ongoing criminal cases against the so far named journalists including Coulson and Brooks over the hacking of Millie Dowlers phone, along with up to six hundred others.  Due to the judge involved having other cases on the same day, it was re-located from Southwark crown court to Number one Court at the Old Bailey . Now this court room is normally only used for Major Murder trials, so there is a suggestion that this move was to impress on the defendants how seriously the case was being taken (The more paranoid however were suggesting that this was all show and by rattling the chains it might allow the establishment to go soft on the defendants at a later stage). There was a selection of complaints from people over a reported disagreement between a couple of the defendants over who got the chair used by the notorious murderer Dr Crippen, but really it’s understandable Gallows humour when exposed to that place.

After much deliberation, that under UK contempt of court laws we are not allowed to know if we weren’t inside the courtroom, and even if we did we would not be allowed to repeat to help guarantee a fair trial. It was announced that the provisional starting date for the actual court case is  at the beginning of September next year, due partly to the complexity of the case, and the number of involved defendants. It is not unlikely that this schedule will slip further. Defendants could be ill, extra evidence might turn up, extra people could be added to the case. There are two people for example  who the Crown prosecution service didn’t charge, but didn’t dismiss the case against, The police were sent to add further evidence before the case was reconsidered.  If they are charged, it might be more economical to add them back in to this case, to save Jurors from being prejudiced by earlier results, and to save witnesses from having to deliver their evidence twice. It is not inconceivable that it will drag out for another twelve months, Leaving the court case running over from the end of 2014 to 2015. If the defendants then don’t plead guilty we could have  details  of their contacts with Government ministers revealed as the election campaign slips into high gear. With Cameron having employed Coulson as his press secretary, This could be the worst possible situation for the Conservative party.

Then at the end of the week we had  a case management hearing for the next block of civil cases this is taking place over four days and finishes today.  Some interesting things have come up, It turns out that there has actually been very little disclosure  from News International

News International denies allegation regarding phone hacking and stories | UK news | guardian.co.uk

He said the litigants were almost solely relying on information provided by the Metropolitan police, which has been disclosing notes made by the private investigator used by the News of the World to hack phones.

Tomlinson added that this information was limited to a few pages of notes and some call data, with virtually no information from News Group Newspapers, the News International subsidiary that published the now-closed News of the World.

"In terms of News Group disclosures between 2001 and 2005 we have a total disclosure of 12 emails," he said.

Rose again objected to the suggestion that the publisher was withholding emails, saying in the early 2000s, when the News of the World phone hacking took place, email inboxes had less capacity and emails were not kept as a matter of routine.

The News International argument seems unlikely for a variety of reasons. Firstly,  as a journalist, past letters and emails are the building blocks from which Future stories are built. You may not be able to build a story from this email here and now, but six months or a year down the line, something may pop up to confirm the story. Throwing out your materials seems to be an outrageous risk for a journalist.
A second reason is the claims about email capacity. If you look at a modern email inbox, as a rule of thumb a Gigabyte of email contains roughly 25,000 emails, however if you go back a decade,  this was before the explosion in HTML based emails, when the majority came as simple text files, back then the average email inbox would fit 175,000 emails in a Gigabyte, so an average throughout the years of roughly 100,000.

Now we know from Sue Akers evidence before the House Home Affairs committee and Lord Justice Leveson that the Metropolitan police has in its possession 12 Terabytes of data. Now a proportion of this data must be email, as we know that part of the investigation must involve the attempted deletion of email backups as was reported last year. If we take that to be 5% of the data held and the staffing levels of the four papers to be roughly equal, then we should, from a quick back of an envelope calculation  have roughly 50,000 emails available for each member of staff. It is hard to justify the handing over just 12 emails from this digital mountain.

Another  claim made during this court case is that there is an email that claims that every single major story over a two year period were a result of phone hacking, News international of course disputes this. Now from reading about the earlier ”highly significant email” this appears to be a separate documentary source.

News International denies allegation regarding phone hacking and stories | UK news | guardian.co.uk

An allegation that all major stories in the News of the World over a two-year period were a result of phone hacking has been strongly challenged by News International at a high court hearing.

During a case management conference at the high court in London on Thursday, Hugh Tomlinson QC, counsel for more than 170 individuals seeking damages for alleged phone hacking, said an internal News International communication suggested this was the case.

This court hearing  continued today with apparently some quite  intense argument between  The judge and  News Internationals Lawyer, the judge apparently becoming annoyed with some of the claims that  were made and the Legal manoeuvring being deployed. Hopefully this section will be brought to a conclusion shortly.

And finally we have another Court case rumbling into action.  And this one looks fairly explosive for the police. Detective Chief Inspector April Casburn  has appeared  in the preliminary stages as the first person prosecuted  under Operation Elveden, the investigation into corruption.
 Operation Elveden: April Casburn appears in court | Media | guardian.co.uk

One of Scotland Yard's most senior counter-terrorism officers has appeared in court charged with misconduct in public office after allegedly offering to provide information to the News of the World.

Detective chief inspector April Casburn, who works in specialist operations at the Metropolitan police, is accused of contacting the now-defunct tabloid newspaper on 11 September, 2010.

It is alleged that Casburn "wilfully misconducted herself to such a degree as to amount to an abuse of the public's trust in that office".

Casburn, 53, of Chelmsford, spoke only to confirm her name, address and date of birth as she appeared at Westminster magistrates court in central London on Monday.

It is alleged that when the police searched her house ,  that a pair of Classified documents marked Secret were found, and this has lead to a separate charge under the Official Secrets Act.

Now the Charges are related to information allegedly offered to the News of the World about Operation Varec, The investigation into phone hacking that was opened up after the New York Times published its  article on the subject.

Now Operation Varec was run by a figure who has appeared before in this story one John Yates, and Casburn was someone who reported to him.  Now although people were asked about Varec in the Leveson Inquiry, Kit Malthouse and Kier Starmer both answered questions and mentioned Yates in relation to Varec and Sean Hoare, the Journalist who died just before the Inquiry started, and who was one of the New York times sources. However when Yates was a witness he was asked nothing about this part of the story, which is interesting.

If we look from the other direction from Casburn out towards her newspaper contacts we are also in a strange situation. We have no report of  any  Journalists with parallel conspiracy charges, so how has this come about? You’d expect more than the allegations of a minor member of staff, so how High up the chain does this go? Firstly this dates from 2010, and so is from a time when neither Brooks or Coulson was editor, Could this be the Case that pulls Colin Myler into the frame?

As further evidence emerges in this particular case, we are bound to have a very interesting few days as things come out in court.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (24+ / 0-)

    Interviewer: What do you believe is behind this recent increase in terrorist bombings? Helpmann: Bad sportsmanship

    by ceebs on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 01:44:38 PM PDT

  •  Most Excellent, ceebs (8+ / 0-)

    thank you for keeping us up to date with the Dirty Digger et al.

  •  Complex but interesting. (7+ / 0-)

    Court stuff in other countries is sometimes hard to understand, but everyone knows the Old Bailey and I certainly hope all the News Corps perps "swing" for their crimes. You know what I mean.

  •  Thanx ceebs, this can't be easy, given contempt... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brit, ceebs, AnnetteK, walkshills, Creosote

    ...considerations that weigh on what one says about court cases in England/Wales..... I am
    1. guessing it now extends to blogging posts, is that right?
    2. guessing that most Yanks do not appreciate how restrictive reporting is on court cases. We are used to restrictions on members of juries and officers of the court. not on the observers.

    so hip hip hurray ceebs.

    "Are you bluish? You don't look bluish," attributed to poet Roger Joseph McGough, for the Beatles' Yellow Submarine (1968).

    by BlueStateRedhead on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 02:38:41 PM PDT

  •  fyi, something about contempt restrictions. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brit, ceebs, AnnetteK, Creosote

    Not much, but enough to get me thinking ((ceebs)).

    When a criminal case begins legal limitations on public discussion kick in automatically: reports of preparatory hearings are limited to basic facts such as the name of the accused and the offences; pre-trial hearings cannot be reported until the conclusion of the trial; and anything likely to cause a substantial risk of serious prejudice to the proceedings is prohibited by the Contempt of Court Act 1981 from the point of arrest.
    about an entirely different case, Manchester not Murdoch, and actual not reputational murder.

    a glimpse of contempt restrictions

    "Are you bluish? You don't look bluish," attributed to poet Roger Joseph McGough, for the Beatles' Yellow Submarine (1968).

    by BlueStateRedhead on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 02:50:25 PM PDT

  •  Casburn[s profile from her lecture circuit agent (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brit, ceebs, AnnetteK, Woody, Creosote

    Yup, she was on the circuit, and here is how she pitched herself. I picked this up by clicking through links in a Daily Telegraph article last week, but did not note the source.
    I am guessing it's been scrubbed.

    Ms. Casburn worked in the financial sector prior to joining the Metropolitan Police Service. During her 17 years as a Police Officer she has been engaged in criminal investigation and has specialised in financial crime in the last 5 years. This has been in the form of support to major crime investigations, as well as financial crime itself. Ms. Casburn was the operational head of two teams in the Fraud Squad in the City of London Police and is now the operational head of the National Terrorist Financial Investigation Unit (NTFIU) based at New Scotland Yard. The NTFIU supports all terrorist investigations within the UK and abroad where British interests are attacked using financial intelligence and evidence. The NTFIU also undertakes terrorist funding investigations and pursues an active disruption agenda against suspected terrorist groups within the UK. Ms. Casburn is also working on building Public Private Partnerships with industry and is seeking to obtain European Commission funding for capacity building in Europe in regards to Terrorist Financing. Ms. Casburn and her management team in the NTFIU also collaborate with experts from other government departments, such as the Office of Security and Counter [terrorism]

    "Are you bluish? You don't look bluish," attributed to poet Roger Joseph McGough, for the Beatles' Yellow Submarine (1968).

    by BlueStateRedhead on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 02:54:57 PM PDT

  •  Oh and a Brit article (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brit, BlueStateRedhead, AnnetteK, Creosote

    from last week  too.

    Did David Cameron Snub Obama for Tennis? - The Daily Beast

    It would be hard to make this stuff up. After a year of embarrassing revelations about British Prime Minister David Cameron’s cozy relationship with senior staff at Rupert Murdoch’s News International, two of his most well-connected old friends—Rebekah and Charlie Brooks—have just landed him in another fine mess.

    Interviewer: What do you believe is behind this recent increase in terrorist bombings? Helpmann: Bad sportsmanship

    by ceebs on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 03:03:19 PM PDT

    •  Ha, just read that story, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Creosote

      must say it seems more likely that Charlie was aggrandising himself than it being the truth.

      Cameron is a twerp but I just can't see him blowing off a call from Obama for a third set of tennis.

      Also seems unlikely that Obama would just casually ring Checkers.

      Ron Reagan: "Sarah Palin's constituency are people who wear red rubber noses and bells on their shoes."

      by AnnetteK on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 04:02:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  well theres a suggestion (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AnnetteK, Woody, Creosote

        that it's a standard way of dealing with annoying guests. after an hour, the butler turns up ( or an aide or whatever) and says "Excuse me Prime Minister president X is on the telephone" which gives The prime minister the chance to blow the current engagement off as there's something important to do if he wants to. However if he's enjoying himself, he can say, tell him I'll ring back, so aides vanish and leave him to enjoy his time off, at the same time giving the guest the warm fuzzies that the PM has chosen time with him over Important affairs of state.

        Interviewer: What do you believe is behind this recent increase in terrorist bombings? Helpmann: Bad sportsmanship

        by ceebs on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 04:15:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Casburn. The irony/importance of 9/11 date (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brit, ceebs, AnnetteK, Woody, Creosote

    The irony of making contact on the anniversary of the day that some UK pol said while it was happening what a day for issuing a news story one wants buried....or something like that.

    9/11/2010 is exactly 9 days after the NYT publication date of its study of phone hacking and its corroboration independently of the Davis/Guardian reporting.

    Hoare was an important source for them.

    NYT on Hoare

    So what did she have to tell? The launching of Varec? Do we have a start date for it?

    I was betting it was something else because:

    1. there was no monetary value in that news, after all, NoTW had enough friends at the Met to be well aware of the launch, and she was senior enough to know how well placed NoTW was.

    2. information worthy putting a 17 year career at risk had to be worth some headline story.

    Ceebs, any thoughts on matter?

     

    "Are you bluish? You don't look bluish," attributed to poet Roger Joseph McGough, for the Beatles' Yellow Submarine (1968).

    by BlueStateRedhead on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 03:07:40 PM PDT

    •  now that (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brit, AnnetteK, Creosote

      is something we will have to wait to see

      Interviewer: What do you believe is behind this recent increase in terrorist bombings? Helpmann: Bad sportsmanship

      by ceebs on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 03:14:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  One interesting point (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brit, BlueStateRedhead, AnnetteK, Creosote

      The corruption charge she faces alleges she offered information to the NotW (management presumably), not that they took up the offer.

      She presumably was expecting some benefit from leaking the extent of the investigation to them (this has been alluded to if not actually reported in the media here). That need not have been financial but it does suggest that she was well aware that providing confidential information to the paper would be useful to them and beneficial to her.

      What will be interesting is if any member of the NotW management or editorial staff are charged in connection with the other side of the "transaction". Even if they did not accept the offer because they knew the risks, they could face the relatively minor charge of failing to report a criminal offence. That might be enough to trigger an investigation under the American FCPA.

      Why doesn't Mitt Romney carry an iPhone? 1. He has staff to carry his cellphone 2. He has an Ann Droid.

      by Lib Dem FoP on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 03:23:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Very good point Lib Dem Fop (4+ / 0-)

        From what I gather, the information on Casburn hasn't come from the MSC trawl of internal emails (though I might have missed something)

        Therefore, it would require a whistleblower, either among the police of NOTW staff.

        Plenty of recent arrestees from both groups

        The Fall of the House of Murdoch -with Eric Lewis and all the latest Leveson evidence out now!

        by Brit on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 03:27:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  well a question (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BlueStateRedhead, AnnetteK, Creosote, Brit

          that necessarily occurrs if this alleged crime is actually true  is  If News International senior staff knew about this offered deal, and had turned it down. Then as a paper that is supposedly on the side of Law and Order, and firmly committed to the side of good in the war on terror, Then how come they appear not to have passed on to the relevent authorities the fact that a senior police inspector in the anti-terror department was willing to sell secrets for personal gain?

          Even if they turn out to have turned this down, this is not good news for News International, as well as the police.

          Interviewer: What do you believe is behind this recent increase in terrorist bombings? Helpmann: Bad sportsmanship

          by ceebs on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 03:53:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I read that recant arrestees! too much Hilary.... (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AnnetteK, Woody, Creosote, Brit

          ...Mantel* reading about Henry VIII and his executions of Thomas More, and more and more people after that....I guess

          *Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies

          Nice to see you in these environs, Brit!

          I mean daily kos, not the place of execution of More and  more ....

          "Are you bluish? You don't look bluish," attributed to poet Roger Joseph McGough, for the Beatles' Yellow Submarine (1968).

          by BlueStateRedhead on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 03:58:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  As the web gets tangl-ier ((LDFoP)) and a query (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AnnetteK, ceebs, Woody, Creosote

        Ghe live blogging here of the debate between the Senator MA- R[acist] and Elizabeth Warren [D] does not allow me to pursue this. so correct me if i got anything wrong.

        something does not compute here.

        Reading both guardian articles, it seems the Elveden charge is offering...which suggests  her offering was not accepted....but the evidence comes from a file on payments to corrupt police officers, which suggests money was disbursed.

        In the G. Off. secrets articles, there is an apparent contradiction:

        A senior counter-terrorism detective has been charged with breaching the Official Secrets Act in relation to information allegedly sent to the News of the World about the Scotland Yard probe into phone hacking.

        Detective chief inspector April Casburn, 53, is accused of offering to the now-closed Sunday tabloid information about Operation Varec, the investigation into whether the Metropolitan police inquiry into phone hacking should be reopened.

        At least in US English offering information and information sent are two different things.

        here's a simple query, factual and legal: is revealing a police operation in course a breach of the official secrets act?

        or is it an operation about a police inquiry that triggers it?

        or both?

        In either case, from the photo it looks like the lady knows she is for hanging.

        "Are you bluish? You don't look bluish," attributed to poet Roger Joseph McGough, for the Beatles' Yellow Submarine (1968).

        by BlueStateRedhead on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 03:56:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Two separate cases (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ceebs, BlueStateRedhead, Woody, Creosote

          The first is offering the NotW information regarding the re-opening of the phone hacking investigation, in which she had a leading role.

          The second relates to documents marked as being official secrets which were found during a search of her home.

          District Judge Quentin Purdey was told that the misconduct charge related to information allegedly offered to the News of the World about Operation Varec, while the official secrets charge related to two documents allegedly found in her home which were marked "secret", when removal of the files had not been authorised
          From The Telegraph which is about the best paper of record regarding court cases.

          Why doesn't Mitt Romney carry an iPhone? 1. He has staff to carry his cellphone 2. He has an Ann Droid.

          by Lib Dem FoP on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 04:08:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  By the way (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BlueStateRedhead, Creosote

      that quote about 9/11 is widely attributed to Peter Mandelson however it was actually one of Blair's "special advisers" Jo Moore. She was fired and took several with her.

      Why doesn't Mitt Romney carry an iPhone? 1. He has staff to carry his cellphone 2. He has an Ann Droid.

      by Lib Dem FoP on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 05:26:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Late breaking news. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ceebs, Woody, Creosote
    News Corporation has hired a senior executive from the Securities and Exchange Commission and a former federal prosecutor to lead new compliance teams at its newspaper and book publishing, TV and film divisions.

    News Corp's general counsel and chief compliance officer, Gerson Zweifach, has created the framework in response to the News of the World phone-hacking scandal which has tarnished the media conglomerate and cost it in excess of $224m to date.

    Five appointments will be made to beef up News Corp's compliance procedures, with a full announcement on the new framework expected later on Monday.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/...

    What the Guardian calls centralization appear to re-unite the two halves of "New" News Corp - the separate print media and broadcast/entertainment "companies". I suspect that rather than insulating them from future action, it re-establishes a clear oversight link back to the holding company.

    Why doesn't Mitt Romney carry an iPhone? 1. He has staff to carry his cellphone 2. He has an Ann Droid.

    by Lib Dem FoP on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 04:15:00 PM PDT

  •  and (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Woody, Creosote

    News International may spend £7.5m on searches over phone hacking | Media | guardian.co.uk

    News International is forecasting that it will rack up £7.5m in legal costs just on internal document searches relating to civil damages claims for alleged News of the World phone hacking.

    The publisher of the now-closed Sunday tabloid revealed at a high court civil case management hearing on Monday that it had already spent £1m on so-called "disclosure searches" of databases for emails and other internally archived documents that may be pertinent to the litigation.

    PricewaterhouseCoopers, which has been hired as a consultant, has spent a further £3.5m on document searches and is forecast to spend another £3m in 2013.

    Dinah Rose QC, counsel for News International, revealed the figures as she argued against further generic document disclosures on phone hacking.

    Interviewer: What do you believe is behind this recent increase in terrorist bombings? Helpmann: Bad sportsmanship

    by ceebs on Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 05:44:39 PM PDT

  •  and big news this morning (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Creosote, BlueStateRedhead, rja

    Alex Marunchak and Jonathan Rees held as part of Operation Kalmyk | Media | guardian.co.uk

    Scotland Yard officers investigating alleged computer hacking have made two further arrests, understood to be former News of the World journalist Alex Marunchak and private investigator Jonathan Rees.

    The two men were arrested shortly before 7am on Tuesday morning at their homes by police officers working on Operation Kalmyk.

    This is an investigation into journalism related computer hacking which is being carried out under the auspices of Operation Tuleta, the wider Metropolitan police probe into criminal breaches of privacy.

    Interviewer: What do you believe is behind this recent increase in terrorist bombings? Helpmann: Bad sportsmanship

    by ceebs on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 04:01:01 AM PDT

    •  And just when I thought I could concentrate on (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ceebs, Creosote

      USA shenanigans like election fraud efforts by Republican officials and while IANAL understanding law suits against their voter suppression in federal courts .....along comes Scotland Yard's  doubling of trouble for Casuburn, the woman from the MET and the fast breakingness of today's arrests and now to find they are the really bad guys and Rees in the frame again.

      At this rate, just to keep the usual criminal investigations going forward they will have to bring Adam Dalgleish out of whatever high office PD James has put him in, get Earl of something Lynley out of whatever trouble he was last put in last by Elizabeth George and bring up from the provincial forces and retirement Inspector Foyle (WW II era).

      And put Brit in charge of the script.

      And now back to work. no more posting until EDT evening. house rule.

      "Are you bluish? You don't look bluish," attributed to poet Roger Joseph McGough, for the Beatles' Yellow Submarine (1968).

      by BlueStateRedhead on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 07:07:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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