The conviction of Stuart Hall and the case of Rolf Harris illustrate the damage that Leveson has done to the free press
The British press, until the onset of the phone hacking scandal, was generally celebrated for being free, inquisitive and in the main decent. Yes, indeed, there were bad apples but it truly did its job well and in a perfectly accountable manner. Since Leveson, however, free reporting has been thrown out of the window and individuals facing exposure are using him as a protective smokescreen.
When Stuart Hall, convicted today of rape and indecent assault, was arrested his lawyers issued the following statement:
“Stuart Hall is innocent of these charges. He is unable to comment further at this stage. It is a matter of concern that in the week following publication of the Leveson Report there appears to have been systematic, measured leaks to the media which have given a misleading impression of what this case is about”.
Hall’s citation of Leveson scared the press off and they were unable to report that he had pleaded guilty on the 16th April. Similarly, Rolf Harris’s arrest was covered up for just the same reason.
The Press Complaints Commission from the era of Sir Christopher Meyer’s tenure as chairman most definitely has a lot to answer for as do the bleating “celebrities” Hugh Grant, Gerry and Kate McCann and Charlotte Church. The whole Hacked Off campaign is in our mind nothing other than a nuisance but, actually, now, it’s Leveson’s legacy itself that needs to be questioned.