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Sky News Admit Hacking


morddwyd

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Sky news has admitted hacking e-mails, and quotes poblic interest.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17628600

Although it's not in the link, according to the BBC News last night evidence obtained in this way had been used in the case to help secure a conviction.

Regardless of Sky News action (though one wonders why they have not been prosecuted for this illegal act), when did UK courts start admitting evidence which has been obtained by illegal means, or evidence which was led to by illegal means?

Why do the police bother to obtain search warrants, and how long before, when a warrant is refused, police ask a friendly "investigative" journalist to do the job for them?

Public interest or not, at the moment illegally obtained evidence, and even some legally obtained evidence, such as wire taps, is not permitted, so is this another instance of News International being cosied up to?

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proudfoot

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Living in the N.E. I am well aware of this case. My first thoughts were, was this evidence admissable in court as it was obtained illegally. Not that I am questioning the guilty verdict. I think it was the correct verdict. Also have Cleveland Police also acted illegally. Should they be investigated. There have been a lot of problems in this Force, the Chief Constable and the chairman of the Police Authority have been susspended while certain malpractices are investigated. Ther have been a lot of problems associated with this force over the years.

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Forum Editor

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Based on what I've read and heard there could not possibly be a Public interest defence in this case.

There's a difference between something being in the public interest and something the public is interested in. This case must surely fall into the second category.

There are certainly occasions on which it must be acceptable for a journalist to break the law if it results in a disclosure that is in the public interest. The problem is, who (in a newspaper or TV newsroom) decides what is or isn't in the public interest?

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interzone55

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It's looking grimmer & grimmer for the Dirty Digger.

I do hope this little tit bit is added to the Ofcom list of evidence for the "fit & proper" investigation of News Corp...

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morddwyd

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"The problem is, who (in a newspaper or TV newsroom) decides what is or isn't in the public interest?"

Exactly. There must be a median line between Nixon and Milly Dowler, but who's competent to draw it?

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Forum Editor

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Tom Watson MP says "There are cases where the public is best served with journalists breaking the law." and I completely agree with him.

The problem is, decisions in such instances might often be made on the spur of the moment by a journalist or news editor eager to gather information for a good story. The 'Public interest' defence may come much later, when any damage - either to individuals named in a news story, or to the reputation of the publisher concerned - has already been done.

I am in no doubt that there must be many occasions when journalists and editors sail extremely close to the wind on this issue, hoping perhaps to be able to rely on a public interest defence, should things ever come to a head, and they find themselves in court. They might take the view that the end justifies the means, and in a genuine public interest case they would stand a good chance of being right. There are plenty of instances on record.

The problem which faces anyone who is interested in the subject is that there's no clear, generally accepted definition of 'Public interest', and that suits journalists just fine; they're happy for the expression to be open to as wide an interpretation as possible. Once journalists can convince themselves - and their publishers - that publishing a particular story would be in the public interest the emphasis as far as the conduct of the investigation changes. The newspaper/TV programme then acts in the Public's interest, not that of the person or persons who are the subject of the story.

It's easier to write about here than it is to deal with in real-life situations.

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Chegs ®™

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I'm now waiting for "Canoe Man"(or his wife) to launch an appeal as part of the evidence that convicted him was obtained illegally.This (if allowed) would surely open a can of worms & plenty of other convictions could be deemed unsafe if there is even the slightest shred of doubt about the integrity of the evidence.For this reason,evidence gathering should be left to the law(police etc)not some Journalist looking for a story.

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Forum Editor

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"I'm now waiting for "Canoe Man"(or his wife) to launch an appeal"

There are no grounds for an appeal that I can see. The evidence was irrefutable, regardless of how it was obtained.

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johndrew

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Forum Editor

Based on what I've read and heard there could not possibly be a Public interest defence in this case.

I doubt there is a 'Public interest defence' as there is no allowance for such action in the law as written.

If individuals or businesses are given the right to decide who/what they should 'hack' in the public interest, what is to prevent all privacy being infringed. There is a major debate on at the moment because a bill is proposed to permit legal access to all communications by legally constituted organisations. Why should private enterprise be permitted to break the law for profit if Government services are prevented from doing so legally?

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morddwyd

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"The evidence was irrefutable, regardless of how it was obtained."

If it was obtained illegally, it is not admissible, no matter how irrefutable. That's the current law. It cannot be placed before a jury, and if it is it must be ignored.

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proudfoot

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Quote "There is a major debate on at the moment because a bill is proposed to permit legal access to all communications by legally constituted organisations." I can not see why the laws regarding "Tapping" etc. as they are at the monment need to be changed. At the moment a Magistrate or Judge has to approve the action. It is just an excuse for general snooping on private communications that have no terrorism content etc. The Anti-Terrorism laws introduced some years ago have been used on occasions to gather evidence and prosecute many other activities that have only a criminal content. Those accusations were raised at the time and shouted down. There are so many emails twitters etc floating around the ether most of which are spam it will be almost impossible to gather any useful data.

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