“The rule of law can be wiped out in one misguided, however well-intentioned, generation.”
William T Gossett
After spending much of last week reading law blogs for the UK Blawg Review I am writing (Sorry it is late – but I have been rather ill of late) I was fascinated by the extraordinary “NightJack” outing in the Times dissected with precision by lawyer, blogger and journalist David Allen Green – a remarkable piece of writing.
David Allen Green’s blog analysis deserves a post of its own:
The Times and NightJack: an anatomy of a failure
The story of how, in a string of managerial and legal lapses, the Times hacked NightJack and effectively misled the High Court.
The award-winning “NightJack” blogger was outed in 2009 by the Times of London. At the time the newspaper maintained that its controversial publication of a blogger’s real identity was based on brilliant detective work by a young staff journalist. However, it is now clear that the blogger’s identity was established by unethical and seemingly unlawful hacking of the blogger’s private email account.
If the hack was not bad enough, the Leveson Inquiry has also heard how the newspaper in effect misled the High Court about it when the blogger sought an urgent injunction against his forced identification. The blogger lost that critical privacy case and it is possible that the case could have been decided differently if the Times had disclosed the hack to the court.
The following is a narrative of what happened. It reveals a depressing sequence of failures at the “newspaper of record”. Most of the sources for this post are set out on the resource page at my Jack of Kent……..