Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Beyond Contempt: The inside story of the phone hacking trial by Peter Jukes

Beyond Contempt: The inside story of the phone hacking trial
Peter Jukes
Canbury Press, 2014, £8.99

The Old Bailey trial of Rebekah Brooks, Andy Coulson and others on charges of phone hacking ran from October 2013 to July 2014, attracting huge public interest.

Peter Jukes live tweeted the whole thing. That he was able to do so in an atmosphere where the defence was constantly on the lookout for prejudicial comment or coverage is a tribute to his fairness and stamina – and also to the courage of the trial judge, Mr Justice Saunders, in allowing him to do so.

Jukes needed courage too, suffering harassment from those ‘libertarians’ whose views somehow always coincide with the interests of wealthy corporations.

He takes us lightly through the complicated proceedings and provides character sketches of lawyers, witnesses and defendants. After reading Beyond Contempt, one has a clearer understanding of why it was that Brooks was acquitted and Coulson convicted.

A dramatist himself, Jukes sees many parallels between the courtroom and the theatre. Those who suspect performance in court has much effect on the verdict as the facts of the case will find nothing here to change their view.

Jukes also offers good advice to anyone tweeting from an event and seeking to offer factual coverage rather than opinion. Do not, he says, engage too much with your audience – particularly not with Louise Mensch.

You can buy Beyond Contempt from Amazon UK or direct from Canbury Press.

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