Wednesday, December 22, 2010

David Howarth: Telegraph journalists may have committed a criminal offence

David Howarth, the former Lib Dem MP for Cambridge, has an article on the Guardian website asking whether Daily Telegraph journalists broke the criminal law in order to obtain their stories about Vince Cable and his colleagues:
Did the journalists and their editors intend through dishonest false statements to put ministers at risk of losing their jobs? Did they intend to make money for their paper? If either is true, a criminal offence has taken place. There is no free-standing public interest defence. Perhaps the journalists involved should now be preparing their answers to those questions.


Max Atkinson said...

This is most interesting and reassuring. I spent much of yesterday tweeting questions about the ethics and legality of the Torygraph - and was amazed at how few people seemed bothered about it. As quite a few people asked why I was getting so worked up about it, I've now answered with a blog post at And it doesn't have anything to do, as some have suggested, with trying to fight some sort of partisan defence of VInce and/or the LibDems!

Grant Williams said...

There may not be a freestanding public interest defence, but generally it seems that the public interest is broadly defined as that which interests the public...

It would appear that the first casualty in coalition is remarkably similar to that in war.