Constance Briscoe Arrest Connected to Huhne Case

Back in October Guido noted that barrister, judge and Huhne prosecution witness Constance Briscoe had been arrested. It can now be reported for the first time that her arrest is in connection with the Huhne-Pryce case. The jury have been told that Briscoe could not be relied upon as a “witness of truth”, and that she “may have lied about her involvement with the press”. Developing…

UPDATE: Briscoe negotiated with newspapers on behalf of Pryce then denied contact with the press to police, the jury is told.

Leaked Documents Behind Scots Court Silencing Student Paper

Ever mindful of the little guy, Guido read with some interest a report recently of a university student union going to court to silence its own student newspaper. The Guardian reported two weeks ago:

“Edinburgh University Students’ Association, a charity independent of the University, has been granted an interim interdict (the Scots version of an injunction) preventing publication of an edition of the weekly paper carrying a story based on those confidential documents. The content of the documents cannot be disclosed by anyone because of the interdict and it is not unusual to obtain such orders in confidentiality cases. What is unusual is the breadth of order sought by the Eusa, which asked for an interdict because of the reputational harm it would do to the body. It asked for an interdict preventing publication of any material that suggests the Eusa is poorly governed and whose management is inexperienced and unaccountable.”

Guido has got hold of the confidential documents in question that can be read here. He’s not quite sure how the judge thought that an article posted on the blog of the student directly responsible for the provision of services entitled “Why We Spit In Your Drinks” was not in the public interest. The elected official in question, a Max Crema, backed the legal action. Unsurprisingly…

Press Royal Charter: Maria Miller's "Get Guido" Clause

big-sister-maria-millerYesterday Guardian journalists gleefully drew Guido’s attention to a clause in Maria Miller’s proposed legislation that attempts to bring this blog into the regulated, un-free press sector that is being created post-Leveson. Guido has highlighted the ambitious clause in red below…

SCHEDULE 4

INTERPRETATION

Key definitions

1. For the purposes of this Charter:

a) “Regulator” means an independent body formed by or on behalf of relevant publishers for the purpose of conducting regulatory activities in relation to their publications;

b) “relevant publisher” means a person (other than a broadcaster) who publishes in the United Kingdom:

a. a newspaper or magazine containing news-related material, or

b. a website containing news-related material (whether or not related to a newspaper or magazine);

c) “broadcaster” means:

a. the holder of a licence under the Broadcasting Act 1990 or 1996;

b. the British Broadcasting Corporation; or

c. Sianel Pedwar Cymru;

d) a person “publishes in the United Kingdom” if the publication takes place in the United Kingdom or is targeted primarily at an audience in the United Kingdom;

e) “news-related material” means:

i. news or information about current affairs;
ii. opinion about matters relating to the news or current affairs; or
iii. gossip about celebrities, other public figures or other persons in the news.

It is arguable – and Guido does argue – that since this blog’s server is in California the publication takes place in the US, under the protection of the First Amendment. Readers point their browsers at www.order-order.com and download the content from the server cache. The publishing tool is the server and it is definitely not in the United Kingdom. Which is why they introduced the second part: “or is is targeted primarily at an audience in the United Kingdom”. That is an interesting idea, which hopefully won’t catch on internationally. Imagine if the Iranian regime implemented the same law, demanding that the BBC’s Persian Service, which is broadcast from London, submitted to their regulator. Crazy.

Guido would be interested to hear what the many m’learned friends who read this blog think of this bit of the legislation. Who will the regulator pursue? Individual bloggers personally when they are in the jurisdiction? A foreign citizen, uploading to a foreign-hosted website, published by a foreign domiciled company – seems to Guido that this legal extra-territoriality has dubious legal foundations. Perhaps Maria Miller is planning to send Royal Navy gunboats to Wexford and California?

Today In Court: Huhne 'Badgered' Pryce to Take Points

All the evidence has now been heard in Vicky Pryce’s trial, closing speeches will be presented to the jury tomorrow. Today Pryce’s eldest daughter Georgia Beesley took to the stand, alleging that Chris Huhne coerced his ex-wife into taking his points:

“I remember speaking to my mother and she told me that Chris had been caught speeding and was asking her to take speeding points. If he had taken the points he would have lost his licence. He was very insistent that she take the points for him. He would say to her that if she didn’t take them he would not be able to drive, that he would lose his licence, and that it would be her fault if he didn’t get elected. I did not appreciate at that time what it would be like to be living with someone constantly badgering you to do something that you know was wrong and feeling like you don’t have a choice.”

Pryce’s lawyer went on to read out a character reference from none other than ex-MI6 boss Sir John Scarlett, he of dodgy dossier fame. The case will conclude tomorrow…

Today In Court: Huhne/Pryce Phone Calls Played to Jury

Some great top lines from the opening day of Vicky Pryce’s trial, not least her description of her husband’s former bisexual lover as “that man of yours”. The jury of eight women and four men today heard the not so jaw-dropping admission that Vicky’s main motivation was revenge. Guido’s favourite Greek economist told Isabel Oakeshott: “I have no doubt that I definitely want to nail him, more than ever actually”.

The court heard how Pryce tried to trick Huhne into confessing all during a taped phone call, but he saw through it and told her: “This is absolute cobblers…you are the only person batty enough to go to the press with this”. As Pryce became more exasperated she told him: “there are people outside my door and it’s all to do with your f***ing points and your f***ing man and it’s nothing to do with me”. The fourth recorded phone call in which Huhne tells Pryce there is “no upside” to talking to the papers is one to note. The trial continues…

Peter Huhne's Texts to Lying Father

The court restrictions have been lifted. Rejecting Huhne’s application to have the case thrown out last week, Mr Justice Sweeney said the jury would “be free to draw adverse inference” from these texts between Chris Huhne and his son, Peter:

CH: Peter, just to say, I’m thinking of you and I love you very much. It would be great to talk to you, Dad.

PH: **** off

PH: So nice to see our entire relationship reduced to lies and pleasantries in that letter. Do you take me for an idiot? The fact you said your parents were happier as a result of their divorce was disgusting… when you were having affairs makes me sick. You are the most ghastly man I have ever known. Does it give you pleasure that you have lost most of your friends?

CH: I understand that I have really offended you but I hope that the passage of time will provide some perspective… I love you and I will be there to support you if you ever need it.

PH: You are right – the perspective involves me getting angrier with every day that goes by. You just don’t get it.

PH: We all know that you were driving and you put pressure on Mum. Accept it or face the consequences. You’ve told me that was the case. Or will this be another lie?

CH: I have no intention of sending Mum to Holloway Prison for three months. Dad

PH: Are you going to accept your responsibility or do I have to contact the police and tell them what you told me?

PH: I don’t want to speak to you, you disgust me, f**k off.

PH: You just don’t get it.

CH: Happy Christmas. I love you

PH: I hate you so f**k off.

CH: Well I’m proud and I love you, Dad.

PH: Leave me alone, you have no place in my life and no right to be proud. It’s irritating that you don’t seem to take the point. You are such an autistic piece of ****. Don’t contact me again you make me feel sick.

You don’t have to be a genius to work out how that would have gone down with a jury…

Blogging May Be Light This Morning

The entire Guy Newsroom team is in Court 3, Southwark Crown Court. Hopefully we will have won the right to live tweet from Court…

Exclusive: Huhne Trial Reporting Restrictions Will Be Lifted

Guido’s counsel has just got back to us following our application to lift reporting restrictions in the Chris Huhne case – currently we are unable to report anything other than the bare bones of the case – the “not guilty” plea from Huhne and that the trial proper starts Monday.

We argued that we should be free to report the proceedings and tweet from the trial starting Monday. The CPS told the Court they had no problem with reporting restrictions being lifted.  The position now is that unless the defendants object on Monday, reporting restrictions will be lifted. If they do object, we will fight them…

Many thanks to Donal Blaney at Griffin Law and Matt Richardson (with junior counsel Kabir Sondhi) at Henderson Chambers for successfully representing Guido, again…

UPDATE: Huhne in Court – Trial Will Go Ahead

Chris Huhne was back in court this morning.

His trial will go ahead.

The former Energy Secretary has pleaded not guilty to one count of doing an act tending or intending to pervert the course of justice.

Roll on Monday.

Huhne Update: Hearing Resumes Tomorrow 10:30

The Crown Court at Southwark
Daily List for Wednesday 23 January 2013
Court 3 – sitting at 10:30 AM

BEFORE THE HONOURABLE MR JUSTICE SWEENEY (2)
For Mention
T20127076
HUHNE Christopher
PRYCE Vasiliki

Order made under Contempt of Court Act 1981

██████████████████████████████!

High Noon for Huhne: Court Again Tomorrow

The Crown Court at Southwark
Daily List for Tuesday 22 January 2013

Court 3 – sitting at 12:00 AM

BEFORE THE HONOURABLE MR JUSTICE SWEENEY (2)

For Mention
T20127076
HUHNE Christopher
PRYCE Vasiliki

Order made under Contempt of Court Act 1981

Guido might just have to lunch in those parts tomorrow.

H-Day

████████████ No.10 news grid ██████████████████ Chris Huhne ████████████████ Monday morning.

████████.

Meanwhile Over in Court 6, Reading Crown Court

Court 6 U20120475
PRICE Vasiliki & HUNHE Christopher T20127076 SOUTHWARK CROWN COURT CASE
For Mention – Resume – 10:45

████████████████████████████████.

█████████!

Chris Huhne █████ ██ ████ █████

███████████████████████████████ Chris Huhne ██████████████████.

████████████████████████████████ tomorrow ██████████████.

████████████████████████████████.

████████████████████████ former bi-sexual, ████████████████████!

██████████████████████████████!

Leveson Effect: Can You See What It Is Yet?

rolf-harris-jim-davidson-max-cliford-leveson-effect

Over the last few weeks the police Operation Yewtree has questioned a number of celebrities over allegations of sex crimes. Each time the papers have known the names of those arrested or questioned, each time the first the public knew about it was when this blog broke the story.

We scooped the press on the arrests of Max Clifford and Jim Davidson. Today we can report that Rolf Harris has also been questioned under caution by police from Operation Yewtree. This has been an open secret in media circles for weeks, journalists and newspaper editors alike have known about the story – yet none has published the news. Why?

No judge has ordered reporting restrictions in relation to Rolf Harris, no super-injunctions prevent the reporting of news concerning him, instead his lawyers Harbottle and Lewis are citing the Leveson Inquiry’s report in letters to editors of newspapers – cowing them into silence. The Leveson effect is real and curtailing the freedom of the press through fear.

In the case of Max Clifford a popular media commentator was our source, with Jim Davidson an ex-copper tipped us off and a local journalist gave us confirmation. This blog is nimble and prepared to take risks, so we are beating all the other news organisations who post-Leveson prefer to await for official police confirmation. This blog is in the news business, we want to beat the competition, we want to be first, we’re proud of breaking stories. We want our readers to be the first to know what is going on.

When the Leveson Inquiry began Guido upset the judge by publishing Alistair Campbell’s evidence before he gave it. Leveson responded by placing a restriction order on this blog. Neatly illustrating by example that the Leveson Inquiry could bring in an era of judicial censorship. It is more subtle than that currently, the chilling effect is that editors fear the prospect of a law rather than any actual new law.

This blog likes being the first to report the news, we would also like to win in a fair fight. The press has its hands tied. A free press ensures that the police do not go about their business in secret. A secret police is a dangerous thing, reporting the arrest of suspects is an important safeguard in a free society – for them and us. We are in danger of losing that safeguard.

See also: Post Leveson British Press Won’t Publish Naked Harry Pictures

It Ain't Over

The Crown Court at Reading

Daily List for Friday 4 January 2013 at

READING CROWN COURT AT OLD SHIRE HALL
Court 6 – sitting at 10:00 am
THE HONOURABLE MR JUSTICE SWEENEY

Not Before 12:00 pm
For Hearing
U20120475 PRICE Vasiliki & HUNHE Christopher T20127076 SOUTHWARK CROWN COURT CASE
DEFENDANTS PRICE AND HUNHE NOT REQUIRED TO ATTEND

UPDATE:

Mitchell CCTV: Cop Conspiracy

Crick recently ousted from the beleaguered Newsnight will probably win awards for this report…

Clifford Lawyers Up

Max Clifford’s has hired Mishcon de Reya/Hacked Off’s Charlotte Harris. She says he will assist the police “as best he can with their inquiries” following his arrest. Regular readers will remember Charlotte from other high profile cases. Such as Chris Huhne.

Guardian Published McAlpine Name During Twitch-hunt

The Guardian website published George Monboit’s deleted Tweets revealing Lord McAlpine as the Newsnight paedophile suspect. Monbiot deleted the offending tweets and grovelled as soon as McAlpine declared he was going to sue the entire internet. However Guido can now reveal that they appeared on the Guardian website during the height of the Twitter witch-hunt at the beginning of the month and, as of 1300 Monday, are still there:

As many re-tweeters are about to find out, re-publication is just as serious as publication. Indeed, far more people will have seen this on the Guardian’s high-traffic pages than on Monbiot’s somewhat niche Twitter feed. The Guardian are not paying any of Monbiot’s legal fees as apparently he was  publishing in a ‘personal capacity’. The liability here is direct…

Privileged MacShane Evidence Now Available to the Police New Police Complaint Made

A source close to the Standards and Privileges Committee pointed out to Guido that the police could not use the evidence gathered by the Committee during their investigation because it was subject to parliamentary privilege. Now that it has been published however it is no longer privileged and can be used by the forces of the law.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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