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Beyond Contempt

The Inside Story of the Phone Hacking Trial

'A must read for anyone who wants to understand not only our media, but power in Britain' – OWEN JONES, author The Establishment

'Top court reporting' – NICK DAVIES, THE GUARDIAN

A factual account of the trial of British newspaper journalists for phone hacking, corruption of officials and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. Among the accused were the former News of the World editors Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson. This book covers every twist and turn of the case, which was heard in London in 2013 and 2014.

Peter Jukes, an award-winning TV crime writer, starts at the beginning. In October 2013, an eight-month trial starts at the most famous court complex in London, the Old Bailey. It's a showdown that pits tabloid newspaper executives from Rupert Murdoch's News International against the British state. The journalists are accused of phone hacking, corrupting public officials and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. After years of cover up involving News International, the Metropolitan Police and the Government, the judge tells the jury: "British justice is on trial".

After tweeting the first few days, Peter Jukes accidentally becomes the UK's first crowd-funded journalist. New media exposes the old as the trial lays bare the venality and surveillance of the News of the World: its ability to pry into the lives of anyone who matters, at any moment. A Hollywood actress. A missing girl. A Cabinet minister. 

It's also a battle with Rupert Murdoch's millions; seven defendants hire London's top QCs. Rebekah Brooks has the £5,000-a-day silk for corporations, Jonathan Laidlaw. Several times the multi-million pound case totters on the brink of collapse. Drawing on verbatim court exchanges and exhibits, Jukes reveals the daily reality and grand strategies of a major criminal trial. He gives the secret of Rebekah Brooks' 14 days in the witness box. He explains why during a cigarette break a defence lawyer gave him a wry smile. And he discloses the failings of the Crown Prosecution Service which contribute to the (to some) shocking verdicts.

  • Publisher: Canbury Press (February 14, 2015)
  • Length: 256 pages
  • ISBN13: 9780993040719

‘Top court reporting.'

– NICK DAVIES, THE GUARDIAN

'Written in a chatty, gossipy style that brings the courtroom drama alive.'

– NIGEL PAULEY, DAILY STAR

'This is perhaps one of the most absorbing books to do with journalism that I have read; for the duration that I was reading it, I did not want to do anything else. I would read it on the train, then as I got home, as soon as everything had been dealt with, I would be reading. It’s the perfect book for a trainee journalist, or anyone who wants to know more about the trial, and its subsequent impact.' 

– MADEMOISELLE WOMEN

'This book, based on the half a million words tweeted during the trial, is a gripping account of the Hacking Trial. Anyone wishing to become a courtroom lawyer in the 21st Century should read it.’ 

– ALISTAIR KELMAN, COUNSEL

'This book is that rare beast a ground-breaking volume that's also entertaining and informative...There's a little of Dickens sharp observational eye in his accounts of the David v Goliath battle that took place in Court 12. Naturally, this being the underlings of billionaire Rupert Murdoch versus The Crown, the normal rules were suspended.' 

– PADDY FRENCH, PRESS GANG

'This book is that rare beast a ground-breaking volume that's also entertaining and informative...There's a little of Dickens sharp observational eye in his accounts of the David v Goliath battle that took place in Court 12. Naturally, this being the underlings of billionaire Rupert Murdoch versus The Crown, the normal rules were suspended.' 

– PADDY FRENCH, PRESS GANG

'Absorbing and highly revealing... What's striking is how the mass of cash Rupert Murdoch threw at the defence disrupted, disturbed and thwarted the prosecution.' 

– DAN WADDELL, EX-REDTOP REPORTER