One of the most interesting court cases for followers of the phone hacking scandal is about to begin. Neil Wallis, one of the biggest figures in tabloid journalism, goes on trial at the Old Bailey next week (3 June 2015) accused of conspiring to intercept the phone messages of newsworthy individuals.
He is alleged to have committed the offence while an executive of the News of the World between 2003 and 2007 with six of the paper’s journalists, its private detective Glenn Mulcaire and other un-named conspirators.
Mr Wallis, who has been a vociferous media critic of the prosecution of tabloid journalists, denies the accusation.
In collaboration with Byline.com, I have launched a crowd-funding appeal to cover his trial.
During the hacking trial of Rebekah Brooks many facts emerged about the culture inside the News International newspaper group and its relationship with police and politicians.
Hacked Off funded my coverage of that case because it feared that newspaper reporting would be partial and piecemeal. Hacked Off and Inforrm published my reports free online for anyone to read.
I have now teamed up with Byline.com, which crowd-funds journalism projects direct from the public.
With the future of independent reporting growing parlous, Byline might just be a bright future for journalism.
It’s early days, though – and projects need the support of curious and determined individuals.
The Wallis trial is scheduled to last 4-6 weeks before the jury retires to consider its verdicts. Martin Hickman is seeking a total of £3,000 to cover the prosecution case – and the defence response. He will live-tweet the case and write a daily story of the main developments. They will be free to the public to read. Supporters receive tiered rewards linked to the value of donations.
To contribute to this project please click on this link.
Martin Hickman is a journalist and publisher and is the joint author, with Tom Watson MP, of Dial M for Murdoch.