Tue Jun 24th, 2014 at 09:06:32 PM EST
The Trial of the Century is mostly over, barring a couple of charges and the press would have it that Everyone has walked away apart from Andy Coulson and that the CPS has thus failed utterly in bringing a malicious prosecution against a group of upright citizens who should never have been there in the first place, on top of this they are claiming that the Crown have spent through lawyers and police a total of £30 million on an unnecessary trial.
This argument will be pushed by a whole selection of papers in the next few days as it is in their interest. If the charge can be shown to be spurious then much of the justification for the reforms suggested by Lord Leveson are obviously unnecessary.
However there are several details that the magicians of the press don't want you to look at while they trot out their card trick.
Firstly they seem to be forgetting the selection of journalists that have pleaded guilty before the trial began. Of those originally tried and due up before the judge we have Neville Thurlbeck, James Weatherup, Greg Miskiw, and Glenn Mulcaire who all pleaded guilty before the case came to court so rather than Just one we actually have five guilty verdicts.
Another missing guilty plea we have from the middle of the trial is that of Dan Evans, another former reporter who appeared and gave evidence.
In total so far we have six former journalists and editors at the News of the World found guilty or admitted their guilt rather than just one as is being reported, and it is possible that that number could increase by one as the final verdicts are brought in by the Jury, but that is something that the jury are yet to decide on and we shouldn't draw conclusions.
As to the £30 million pound cost of the police action, this amount is actually spread across several trials, covering several police operations (Elveden, Weeting, and others) if we separate the police cost of just this trial it actually comes to only £19 million, and of that part is made up of the costs of the police going round and informing every person who they had evidence that they were hacked of that information so that they could take up their right to claim in the civil courts (in excess of 4,000 numbers were attempted to be traced and the people who had them contacted to check for evidence). Also included in these legal costs is some of the polices part in providing disclosure in some 700 civil claims.
The full £30 million has so far resulted in the trails of and conviction of several figures who work in police, prisons and hospitals as an example we have April Casburn, a former Detective Chief Inspector jailed for offering to sell information to the News of the World. We also have Bettina Jordan Barber, from the Ministry of defence, convicted for selling stories to the News of the World; Richard Trunkfield, a former prison officer; and that's just a start of the list. There are also a pharmacist from Sandhurst, police constables, and this is just the ones where reporting restrictions have been lifted.
Of the convictions that we know about, there are a minimum of fourteen so far, however this is probably yet to increase as convictions linked to as yet unheld cases become public knowledge. And their relevance is no longer concealed "for legal reasons".
As usual this story will continue.
Having sat for a day or two now, the press in general are pushing the line that the trial has cost £100 million, implying that this cost is entirely down to the state. and thus from the pocket of "hardworking taxpayers" however Legal costs for six of the defendants were paid for by News International,with a total estimated as between £50 and 70 million pounds (figures for Rebekahs defence alone suggest that her legal costs ran to £19 million even before the case got into court) If you take that £70 million figure as correct, and make a back of an envelope calculation it's roughly the equivalent of every penny handed over in Newsagents for the paper for the next four months.