Alex Massie

Andy Coulson Will (Probably, Maybe) Be In Court Soon

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There's lots of good stuff in Peter Oborne's* Dispatches programme on the News of the World phone-hacking story even if, in the end and like many TV documentaries it over-reaches and tries too hard to build too large a conspiracy when simply laying out the established facts would seem enough. Nevertheless, it certainly deserves your time.

Peter probably makes too much of the Murdoch-Downing Street relationship (and he should certainly have pointed out that Lord Puttnam is a Labour peer). Much worse from the perspective of Joe Public who kind of feels as though celebrities and politicians are some kind of fair game, was the story of "Sam" - the victim in a sexual assault case whose phone was apparently hacked by P.I Mulcaire, presumably at the request of someone on Fleet Street. It seems improbable she's the only member of the public to whom this may have happened.These instances, I hazard, are more damaging for the paper (and its editors) than those involving the likes of John Prescott.

As for Andy Coulson it looks as though he may indeed be called as a witness (for the defence) in the Tommy Sheridan perjury trial which began in Glasgow today. That may, shall we say, be an interesting moment though this is neither the time or place for speculation on that front. More, perhaps, on this in due course but if you're interested in the Sheridan case you can follow James Doleman's reporting on the trial here.

*Disclosure: Peter is a former Political Editor of the Spectator (and James appears as a talking head in his programme) and a friend and captain of a cricket team for whom I play.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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