The transcripts of the official inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. More…

Indeed, sir, but the fundamental principle that we were dealing with in this report all those years ago was that those who were in a position of trust in the health service or the phone companies or the DVLA didn't see passing on information for sums of money as being particularly serious. Certainly the penalties that were imposed were not enough to disincentivise it, even if you got caught, and the whole attitude of society and the courts to this modern phenomenon, because we're now in the information age, was that it was no worse than pinching the office stationery.

So I'm not looking to jail lots of people. I can't imagine that a journalist going about his or her business with a proper story and a good public interest reason for doing it would be in any trouble with the ICO or with the courts, but I want to deal with the problem of the courts being limited to fines and then dealing with people who are of limited means and can only be fined about £100, and the court doesn't have the option of doing anything about a community sentence or tagging or curfew or whatever else might be involved. It's just the going rate is £100. It happened again the week before last. It's nothing.

Keyboard shortcuts

j previous speech k next speech