We are often reminded that the cover-up can be worse than the initial crime. At is most extreme we saw the end of an American presidency with Richard Nixon. Today, instead of it being Nixon’s tapes we get James Murdoch’s emails.
We have to remember that the younger Murdoch’s defense has been he didn’t know that there was anything more than one rogue News of the World reporter, Clive Goodman, hacking phones until 2010. Faced with the likes of ex-senior executives like Tom Crone and Colin Myler saying that he was told much earlier and that was why he agreed to the very high settlement with Gordon Taylor, he states they must be mistaken or worse.
From yesterday’s Leveson inquiry we now have proof that Murdoch was included in, and answered an email in mid-2008 that talked about the problem of an untrue rogue reporter defense caused by the Gordon Taylor court case. You can read the email for yourself on the Guardian’s website here. James Murdoch’s defense on this is that he didn’t read the whole email just the first part from Colin Myler. You can read his letter explaining this to the Parliamentary Culture, Media and Sport Committee also on the Guardian’s website here.
Why is this important? Well first a relatively minor part in that it shows he could have being lying to the committee at his last witness session with them. It certainly tend to back up Myler and Crone’s account of what Murdoch knew. The major part is that if he had read and knew that there was more than one rogue reporter involved he should be charged with perverting the course of justice. In many ways this is a bigger crime than the original hacking and seeing that two people have already served prison time, how would it be fair if their boss didn’t have to do the same.
Of course the law should back innocence until proven guilty, but James Murdoch should prove his innocence of any charge in front of a jury. There seems no reason now why the Met should not arrest and charge James Murdoch.
If because of his connections to the prime minister, other politicians and the Met, Murdoch is not charged, what fairness does that show to the two boys who were sent down on Monday for three years each for encouraging a riot on Facebook last summer; especially as it was a riot in Dundee that never happened.