NightJack – resource page

This is the resource page for anyone following the NightJack story.  This resource page will be updated from time to time.  Comments and suggestions welcome.

My narrative of what happened is now at the New Statesman.
NightJack archive

The original NightJack blog (February 2008 to April 2009) was pulled down when the Times threatened to out its author.  Thankfully, the NightJack archive was collected together by Salted Slug, and it was re-published on or about 12 October 2009.

Winning the Orwell prize, 22 April 2009

Guardian report

Sean O’Neill at the Times (£)

Interview with NightJack blogger at the Independent, 21 May 2009

The litigation

4 June 2009 – case report: THE AUTHOR OF A BLOG v TIMES NEWSPAPERS LIMITED [2009] EWHC 1358 (QB)

The publication of Nightjack’s identity

Times articles by Patrick Foster and Frances Gibb (both £).

Times article by Richard Horton (£)

Other newspaper coverage: Guardian

The aftermath

Richard Horton given written warning, BBC, 17 June 2009

Post by Jean Seaton, director of the Orwell Prize, 17 June 2009

Other blog reaction: Graeme ArcherCarl Gardner, Charon QC,People’s Republic of MortimerIain DaleOld Holborn – many pertinent comments at these posts.

Paul Waugh is sceptical of the Times here and here

Interesting (and downbeat) post by Times crime editor and fan of police blogging  Sean O’Neill (£)

Posts at Times (£) supportive of outing: Danny Finkelstein (here and here) and Oliver Kamm (hereherehere, and here)

Alastair Brett leaves the Times, 16 July 2010

Patrick Foster leaves the Times, May 2011

The initial Leveson witness statements, October to December 2011

First witness statement of James Harding, Editor of the Times, 14 October 2011

Witness statement of Simon Toms, interim director of legal affairs at News International, 14 October 2011

Witness statement of Tom Mockridge, Chief executive officer of News International, 14 October 2011

Second Witness statement of Tom Mockridge, Chief executive officer of News International, 16 December 2011

How the story begins to emerge in early 2012

The above four Leveson witness statements are published on the Leveson website after 10 January 2012; first the one by Simon Toms, and then the others

Firts press mention is the report that a Times journalist was disciplined for computer hacking, Press Gazette, 10 January 2012 – this is based just on the Toms witness statement.

I see the Press Gazette story and because of the 2009 date, I suspect it is about NightJack;  I mention this to Old Holborn (who I recalled had posted at the time) and he tweets the journalist to ask him directly, 12 January 2012.  There is no response.

The other three witness statements are then published, and I piece together what the four published witness statements say at Jack of Kent on 16 and 17 January 2012.  In essence, one could deduce from the witness statements the following facts:

–  the incident was in 2009;

–  the reporter was male (“he”);

–  the computer hacking was in the form of unauthorised access to an email account;

–  a disciplinary process was commenced after concerns from the newsroom (not entirely correct, as it turns out);

–  the reporter admitted the unauthorised access during the disciplinary process (also not correct, as it was admitted before publication, let alone the disciplinary process);

–  the incident was held to be “professional misconduct” and the reporter was disciplined;


–  the reporter is no longer with the business having been dismissed on an unrelated matter.

On 17 January 2012, Times editor James Harding gives evidence to Leveson inquiry. He is not asked about the computer hacking incident

In the meantime…

Was the Times computer hack used in a published story, I ask atNew Statesman, 17 January 2012

The Times and computer hacking, by Paul Waugh at Politics Home, 17 January 2012

Which Times journalist was caught computer hacking, asks Fleet Street Blues, on 17 January 2012

Then that evening it is confirmed that a Times journalist hacked into NightJack account, David Leigh at the Guardian, 17 January 2012

What did the Times know about computer hacking and when,  I ask at New Statesman, 18 January 2012  – this is where I first explicitly identify misleading the High Court as the key issue

The Times admit the computer hacking was in respect of NightJack, 19 January 2012 (£)

James Harding sends a letter about NightJack to the Leveson Inquiry dated 19 January 2012 (not revealed until 25 January 2012)

Why the hacking of NightJack matters, me at New Statesman, 20 January 2012

I set out why the Times should apologise over NightJack – me atNew Statesman, 22 January 2012

Tom Watson demands Times editor be recalled to Leveson – James Hanning at Independent on Sunday, 22 January 2012

I tell the Leveson Inquiry that the email hacking should have been told to the High Court, 25 January 2012 – reported by the Times (£)

Times editor finally apologises for the email hack –  Times (£), 7 February 2012

Richard Horton to sue the Timesme at New Statesman, 9 February 2012

The real story comes out

Second witness statement of James Harding , Editor of the Times, 6 February 2012

James Harding recalled to give oral evidence to the Leveson Inquiry on 7 February 2012 – watch here

Alastair Brett witness statement to the Leveson Inquiry dated 5 March 2012

Alastair Brett gives oral evidence to the Leveson Inquiry on 15 March 2012 – watch here

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