Three witnesses and the Leveson Inquiry continued the theme of one “ordinary civilian/innocent bystander” witness and two “celebrity” witnesses.
Christopher Jefferies first came to media attention after Christmas 2010 or in the first days of January 211. He was landlord of a property and one of his tenants was Jo Yeates, a young woman found murdered on (I believe) Christmas Day 2010. Another tenant was recently sent to prison for life for her murder.
Mr Jefferies was questioned by police and released. “Doorstepped” by the Media, he did seem an “eccentric looking” person. But looking eccentric is hardly a crime but the Media clearly identified (perhaps with a nod from the Police) him as a “suspect”. The Media carried headlines, such as “The Strange Mr Jefferies”. There was an allegation that he was a voyeur…..and innuendo that he had retired “early” as a teacher in a nearby exclusive school.
Eventually the real killer was arrested, charged and convicted. But clearly Mr Jefferies life was made a misery. The Attorney General charged some with contempt of court. And Mr Jefferies, clearly an innocent man received redress by successfully suing eight newspapers. Strangely he appeared in court yesterday with a complete “make over” from his “January” look.
Charlotte Church is a 25 years old Welsh singer who has been in the public eye for over twelve years.ndeed her autobiography “Voice of An Angel” was published a decade ago. Ms Church is a favourite target for tabloids especially when she had a relationship witha Wesh rugby player. Giving evidence to the Leveson Inquiry, she believes that her phone was hacked……a daily tabloid printed a story that she was pregnant before she had a chance to tell her parents. Ms Church also made reference to a suicide bid by her mother when The News Of The World reported her fathers affair. But perhaps her most bizarre piece of evidence was that she had been offered (as a child) £100,000 to sing at Rupert Murdoch’s wedding but waived her fee (on her managers advice) in return for favourable publicity.
A confession….I have never cared much for Anne Diamond (broadcast journalist) since her earliest appearances on BBCs “Nationwide” in the early 1980s. She later became a presenter on ITVs “Breakfast” TV shows……but her speciality was celebrity interviews rather than hard news. I think its fair to say that her career has had a downward curve since the mid 1990s. Sadly she lost a child to “cot death” in 1991 and although a campaigner for parents of children who have died in this tragic way, she has I would submit, never been really “loved” by the British public.
Ms Diamond was a slightly pompous figure “I am a broadcast journalist. I am not a celebrity”. Which I was hoping might mean that one of the barristers might remember her appearance a few years back on “Celebrity Fit Club“. She seemed to blame her targetting by the Murdoch “empire” as a consequence of a less than flattering interview with Rupert Murdoch. A few weeks after the interview a Murdoch title ran the headline “Ann Diamond Killed My Father” a reference to a fatal car accident in which she had been (innocently) involved some seven years before. She recounted movingly how she had to leave hospital in a laundry van just a few hours after the birth of a child……gaining access to her home carrying her new born baby over a roof……because of media intrusion.Perhaps most movingly she spoke of an intrusive photograph as she buried her baby.
Perhaps it was my own inability to “like” Ann Diamond or perhaps that Ann Diamond had been a leading figure in the dumbing down of “News” at a time when “celebrity culture” first became an issue some twenty years ago……but I found her an unimpressive witness.