Responding to the ruling by Mr Justice Saunders, set out in a memo handed out in court, which explains the history of the aborted costs applications by the acquitted defendants and News UK in the hacking trial, Dr Evan Harris, Associate Director of Hacked Off said:
“It is quite clear to anyone who heard yesterday’s submissions and has read the history of this claim, that News UK have abandoned their attempted raid on the tax-payer because they didn’t want their dirty laundry aired in public. The judge made clear that, without calling into question the not-guilty verdicts, he felt it necessary to ask questions about whether News International behaved so as to provoke the criminal proceedings.
“Although News UK do not accept that those questions are relevant to the cost application they have decided not to take the risk that they would have to answer, in open court, the questions about their conduct between the arrest of Clive Goodman in 2006 until the start of the police’s Operation Weeting in 2011.
“News UK’s newspapers are usually the first who purport to protect the “hard-press tax-payer” and they should join the public in welcoming the failure of Rupert Murdoch’s attempted smash and grab raid on scarce legal aid resources.”