Tuesday 1 June 2010

'The offence was created by the actions of the newspaper'

The father of footballer John Terry has been given a suspended six-month sentence (plus community service and a fine) for selling cocaine.

As that offence can carry a jail-term of up to 14 years, the judge in the case, Christopher Mitchell, explained the reason for the sentence:

"It is a very, very clear case of entrapment solely to create a newspaper story...

"The facts in this case are highly unusual. In fact the offence was actually created by the actions of the newspaper sending a journalist to set you up. It is clearly an entrapment case and the only reason they did this was to create a story because of your connections to a well known footballer."

And the newspaper in question? Who else but the News of the World.

Roy Greenslade considers what the PCC should do now, given the judge's clear verdict on the tabloid's methods.


  1. I have a degree of sympathy with the NOTW here. As they said, not only did they set up the sting on the basis of information already received, they hardly held a gun to the guys head. I understand the concept of entrapment, but to say that the newpaper created the offence is ridiculous to me. It's not a question of what the PCC will do in my opinion - I'd be pushing for a judicial review if I were the NOTW.

    Let's face it - had it not been a sting operation - if it was me or you that fancied a few grammes of blow, I'm sure Terry snr would have obliged anyway.

  2. You've completely ignored the NoW's very robust defence of its methods on the Media Show and widely reported by the likes of Greenslade here:


    Then again, its pretty clear that you do not apply to same principles of balance you so piously demand of the tabloids

  3. Anonymous (17:57) - Is that 'pretty clear'?

    The point of this post was to be a brief intro to the case with more details - including the paper's defence - at the two links provided.

    Moreover, I did write this 2 days before the interview you mention, so I only 'ignored' that because it hadn't actually happened yet...

    On a wider point, however, the idea that newspaper would robustly defend its actions is hardly a surprise. The News of the World have been doing that over the phone-tapping thing for years and have only convinced the PCC.

  4. It is amusing that you fail to see the irony of your own woeful ignorance of the most basic tenets of journalism? There is a legitimate debate to be had about tabloid behaviour - but trying to combat bad journalism with even worse journalism - and such blatant bias - is hardly the answer! Surely, you can see that?

  5. Anonymous (22:12) - It is very difficult to respond properly when you resort to throwing around general accusations without backing them up, and you fail to engage with the points I raised in my original reply.

    Your first comment accused me of ignoring something in this post that happened two days after it was written. Don't you think that shows a little, shall we say, 'woeful ignorance' on your part?

    But I am interested to know what you think the 'most basic tenets of journalism' are and how I fail to understand them?

    As for this blog being worse than the bad journalism I write about - well, if you say so.


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