Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

'Cash for Honours' - Guardian reveals substance of Ruth Turner email

A High Court judge has rejected a request by the Police and the Attorney General for an injunction to prevent publication of an article by the Guardian newspaper in which it reveals what are allegedly additional details of what was written in the email sent by Blair aide Ruth Turner to Downing Street Chief of Staff Jonathan Powell. The Police and Attorney General apparently tried to persuade the judge that publication might jeopardise their investigation. It seems that the Guardian's first print-run was already in process of distribution and the judge may have felt obliged to accept claims by the newspaper's Editor that it would be nigh on impossible to recall all issues so an injunction would be pointless (*).

The Guardian article reveals that the email concerned afforts by Labour Chief Fundraiser, Lord Levy, to 'shape' the evidence which Ruth Turner would give to the Police. Another document (whose existence, so far as I am aware, has never been revealed before) is an account of a meeting between Ms Turner and Lord Levy which Ms Turner has given to her lawyers and been passed to the Police. Police efforts have in recent months apparently concentrated in trying to piece together the evidence provided by this legal document and by the email sent to Jonathan Powell. The Guardian apparently has no information concerning in what way the evidence to be given by Ruth Turner was to be modified, nor whether such changes were to be 'significant'. The Guardian article also casts doubt on the existence of the infamous email which the BBC alleges was sent.

My interim conclusion, at this stage of the proceedings, has to be along the lines of:
Oh! what a tangled web we weave
When first we practice to deceive!

(Sir Walter Scott to the rescue)

(*) But it wouldn't have prevented a possible future prosecution of the Guardian and its Editor for potentially jeopardising the case against certain of the Labour Party's leading lights and lesser minions. I am forced to point out that the Guardian is, traditionally, a left-leaning newspaper, although I would accept it has probably in this instance been motivated more by journalistic enthusiasm than by a desire to contaminate evidence, but this enthusiasm may nevertheless have affected its judgement about what was the right thing to do in this case.

This post updates my most recent article here.

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