PREMATURE ADJUDICATION

Even when the dust settles, it’s unlikely we’ll ever know the true cost of the phone hacking scandal that slayed the News of the World but my pen has been working with Google and the back of a fag packet.

Write offs on closure of News of the World: £244 million. 

Compensation by News Intl to hacking victims: £120 million (est).

Metropolitan Police Investigation costs: £40 million.

Leveson Inquiry costs and expenses: £3 million (est).

Justice: Priceless.

Today, the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, which is made up of a cross party group of MPs, issued a wide-ranging report on the scandal. Among the findings, the report concluded that “… Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company.”

If Murdoch fails the ‘fit and proper person’ test currently being assessed by Ofcom, the media and communications regulator, it will have serious and far-reaching consequences for the man and his business.

Now, I never got around to finishing my law degree, but the assessment of ‘fit and proper’ was outside the remit of the Committee.  Given that the Committee’s hurry to adjudicate as such, and the fact that every news outlet from the BBC to the Ham and High Gazette have run the story, and that Ofcom operates under the jurisdiction of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, what chance does Murdoch of a fair trial?  I’m not feeling sorry for the man,  but If I was Murdoch’s lawyer, I might have a go at making that case.

So now I’m left wondering whether our elected officials flushed justice down the drain today.

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