Police officers have been accused of falsely telling newspaper vendors they might be in contempt of court for selling the new issue of Private Eye. (…)
The magazine has already been raised in Brooks’ phone-hacking trail, with judge Mr Justice Saunders telling jurors they should ignore what he called ‘a joke in especially bad taste’.
He felt the need to explain to them: ‘It’s meant to be satire. It has no serious input and it is not relevant to your considerations. It is one of those things that you will have to ignore.’
However a news vendor near the Old Bailey was approached by a plain-clothes police officer this afternoon who advised him he might want to consider taking his copies off display ‘on the directive of the Crown Prosecution Service’ because there might be a contempt issue.
“We acknowledge your letter of 29th April referring to Mr J. Arkell. We note that Mr Arkell’s attitude to damages will be governed by the nature of our reply and would therefore be grateful if you would inform us what his attitude to damages would be, were he to learn that the nature of our reply is as follows: fuck off.”