Hardened hacks? Sevi Kemal says that some Sun journalists should toughen up.
Chris Pharo and Jamie Pyatt were the last journos to come to trial as a result of Operation Elveden, the prolonged investigation into journalists paying public officials such as police officers, for stories.
Look at these two hard-headed geezers. Can you imagine them knocking down your door? I surely wouldn’t want them knocking at mine! I bet they’re not shy when they are out hustling and demanding answers to questions that people are reluctant to answer. Standing up to this twosome would be quite a challenge. But that’s not quite how they presented themselves in court.
Sun news editor Chris Pharo and district reporter Jamie Pyatt were tried for aiding and abetting a police officer to commit misconduct in a public office between 2002 and 2011. The jury at the Old Bailey heard how the defendants were said to have paid a police officer up to £10k for information on high-profile criminal investigations such as the murder of schoolgirl Milly Dowler, rapist- Tony Imiela and quadruple killer Daniel Gonzalez.
Pharo and Pyatt denied breaking the law by bribing the cop. They were found not guilty – the latest in a line of cases in which juries have failed to convict journalists on such charges. I think this is good news for press freedom. But what riles me is the way these hard-headed journalists hid behind the skirts of former Sun editor Rebekah Brooks.
In court, Pharo described Brooks as ‘nothing short of a nightmare’. In evidence, he recalled a text message from Brooks comparing them unfavourably to News of the World’s journalists and declaring: ‘If you fucking cunts are not capable of matching them, I will sack the lot of you and replace you with them.’
Pharo told the jury how ‘Brooks would sulk for days’. When asked by defence counsel Nigel Remit if he felt secure in his job, he complained ‘no, not at any point’.
The insecure journalist then recalled how Brooks had reduced picture editor John Edwards to tears. He also revealed that Brooks kept a punch bag in her office to ‘relieve her tension,’ and once slammed a door so hard the handle broke.
Well, they do say exercise is the best form of stress release.
Broken doorknobs and foul-mouthed messages seem like lame excuses to me. If they felt so strongly about alleged mistreatment at the hands of Ms Brooks they should have done something about it – either in court or out of it. But hiding behind her – it was Brooks wot made me do it, your Honour – is hardly acceptable behaviour for a grown man and a professional journalist.
These two hard nuts can’t have it both ways! Crying over the pressure Brook’s put them under is a bit rich coming from two blokes who spend half their life pressuring other people.
Grow some balls, boys!