Wed Apr 18th, 2012 at 08:27:42 PM EST
A big day once again and the Murdoch press just can't manage once again to stay out of the papers. (Even when in this case it appears to be mostly unconnected) And something big from the US side of the Atlantic too.
Firstly we have an announcement by the UK's Director of public prosecutions Keir Starmer that the police have today handed four files to the Crown Prosecution service
The New York times explains this step,
British Prosecutors Consider Charges in Phone Hacking Case - NYTimes.com
Under Britain's judicial system, criminal charges are drawn up by the Crown Prosecution Service on the basis of evidence gathered by the police. A spokeswoman for the service said that the names of those now being considered for prosecution would not be released, and that the service could not say when it would take the next step, deciding whether to prosecute those involved or not.
According to the Guardian these four cases consist of the following
Met refers phone-hacking files to CPS | Media | The Guardian
It is the first time the CPS has been asked to decide whether to prosecute since the News of the World phone hacking affair began to blow up last year, and comes a week before Rupert Murdoch and his son James are expected to give evidence before the Leveson inquiry into press standards.
The dossiers received by the CPS comprise:
* A file relating to one journalist and one police officer with relation to alleged offences of misconduct in public office and the data protection act.
* A file relating to one journalist and six other members of the public with relation to alleged offences of perverting the course of justice in relation to the phone hacking inquiry.
* A file relating to one journalist with relation to alleged offences of witness intimidation and harassment.
* A file relating to one journalist with relation to alleged offences under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act that covers the interception of communications.
The CPS will not at this stage announce who the individuals are who are being considered for being taken to court but a variety of people on Twitter have looked at past stories and all come up with pretty much the same range of suspects that I did whilst reading the reported details. The Independent suggests identical names
Rebekah Brooks could be charged with perverting the course of justice - Crime - UK - The Independent
Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive of News International, could be charged with perverting the course of justice after her name was included among 11 suspects in the first files handed over to prosecutors by detectives investigating phone hacking, it emerged today.
The Crown Prosecution Service said that it had received four files from police in the last few weeks covering a range of offences allegedly committed by four journalists, a police officer and six members of the public.
The CPS declined to name anybody in the files but said that not all of them had been arrested during Operation Weeting, the hacking inquiry which began in January 2011, and four other linked police inquiries. There was speculation last night that Amelia Hill, a journalist from The Guardian who worked on stories exposing the hacking scandal, was also included among the names in the four files.
So File number one of four by the guardians ordering is the Hill/Policeman case, File two would be the Brooks case which one would think dates back to the Laptop in a bag affair. File Three, you would think is the Neville Thurlbeck reported witness Intimidation case (As that is the only reported witness intimidation case in the whole affair) which leaves file four. The general suggestion is that it is the case of the Telegraph reporter involved in the Nightjack case, where an anonymous police blogger was outed by a Newspaper through having his hotmail account hacked by a journalist.
If these names are corect then it appears that it is a general exercise to sweep around the edge of the case, cleaning up all the simple cases from the outside the main ball of phone hacking and its associated complications. Where things go next all depends on phone hacking charges appearing. (The week before the Leveson Inquiry starts a new module appears to be interesting in that the Police appear to be desperate to show that they are actually doing something, to such an effect that there are a bust of arrests, so maybe there is more to come before Monday)
On the other side of the Atlantic we have had even more fun. It appears the Murdoch organisation may have screwed up to an extent that it may not even be necessary to deploy the FCPA against them to shut their media empire down.
Analysis & Opinion | Reuters
News Corp has found yet another way to annoy investors. The seemingly tardy discovery by Rupert Murdoch's family empire that non-U.S. holders control 36 percent of its voting stock - breaching the 25 percent limit for owners of American television broadcasters - has led it to suspend half the voting rights of overseas owners. Even shareholders resigned to disenfranchisement have cause to worry.
They'll be used to the control exerted by Murdoch. Owners of the company's more numerous A shares don't get a vote at all on most things. And voting B share investors are up against the family's nearly 40 percent stake. In a tacit admission the conglomerate cocked up the monitoring of its shareholder register, the Murdochs agreed not to go beyond that percentage in any vote, even though foreign investors will now only have half the votes they had before.
All the same, the suspension may needle affected shareholders, including the retail and institutional bases in Murdoch's native Australia. But what's really galling is the bungle itself. The Fox TV franchise and other channels in the United States are critical to News Corp's business, and they depend on licenses from the Federal Communications Commission.