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James Murdoch and the Hacking Scandal: Cock Up or Conspiracy: Please Vote Now

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JAMES MURDOCH
PA

With Murdoch back before the Media Select Committee today, let me share a few of my own thoughts on the evidence we've heard so far.

What we have to decide is whether James Murdoch knew when he signed the cheque to settle a claim brought by Gordon Taylor, that there was evidence that there had been other journalists within the News of the World who had hacked phones.

Was he told that he was party to covering up a much bigger scandal. What he wants us to believe is that he was mildly incompetent rather. That he was unaware when he was signing the cheque that there was evidence that this was not the work of a "rogue reporter", the Royal Correspondent who had been sent to prison.

Clive Goodman has never spoken out. The former in-house lawyer Tom Crone and former editor, Colin Myler says James Murdoch knew. So far James Murdoch has denied knowing. What is the true position?

Imagine a scene:

Colin Myler: "James will you please sign a cheque for a claimant? It's over Tom Crone's limit."

James Murdoch "What's it for?"

CM: "Oh nothing important - just a civil claim."

JM "Sure." James signs cheque, exiting stage right.

Now imagine a different scene:

Colin Myler: "James will you please sign a cheque for a claimant? It's over Tom Crone's limit."

James Murdoch: "How much is it for?"

CM: "About 1 million dollars."

JM: "What did we say about him?

CM: "Oh didn't publish anything about him. He claims we obtained information through hacking his phone. Evidence shows that other journalists were involved, not just the one who went to prison."

JM: "What do the lawyers say?

CM: "The QC says up to £250,000."

JM: "What's a QC?"

CM: "Queen's counsel, a top barrister. He says that the most we could lose is £250,000 but we might lose £25,000."

JM: "So we have the Queen's solicitors and her barrister. What did you say we were paying the claimant?"

CM: "425,000."

JM: "425,000 DOLLARS?"

CM: "No, 425,000 pounds."

JM: "Isn't that more than we were advised? Why are we paying that?"

Which is more likely? You decide.

The first version that a cheque is signed without information. The shareholders' money spent by a director without question. Or the second, a calculated decision to settle a case so that other claims do not come out of the woodwork?

Cock up or conspiracy? Please vote now.

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