'Phone hacking is a victimless crime'

Published Wednesday, 25 June 2014
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In the wake of former News of the World editor Andy Coulson being found guilty of charges relating to phone hacking, a former journalist at the now defunct newspaper has told This Morning he believes phone hacking is a "victimless crime".

'Phone hacking is a victimless crime'
Paul McMullan said "intentions were honourable" in hacking Milly Dowler's phone. (© Rex Features)

Coulson faces up to two years in jail for hacking following the high-profile trial at London's Old Bailey.

But despite public outrage at the actions of the News of the World, journalist Paul McMullan hailed it as an action to "catch bad people doing bad things".

This Morning host Phillip Schofield challenged his view, asking how this related to the News of the World hacking the mobile phone of murder victim Milly Dowler.

Revelations that the newspaper had hacked the missing schoolgirl's phone in spring 2002 sparked public outrage and contributed to the tabloid's downfall.

Speaking about the case, McMullan said: "I was on the Milly Dowler story and the problem with the police investigation was that they let a mad man run around the country killing girls, for seven years.

"The problem was the police incompetence. I've got children Milly Dowler's age and I was keen like all my colleagues to try and find the girl initially and we were doing anything.

"The intentions were honourable."

McMullan's comments shocked Schofield and co-host Holly Willoughby, prompting the presenter to ask whether he believed there should be any privacy for anybody.

"I believe in a free press and a free society," he replied. "And at the moment freedom of speech is going down the pan - newspapers are losing their teeth.

"This was a victimless crime - there are no victims of phone hacking."

McMullan's views angered fellow journalist Nick Ferrari, who was discussing the issue in the This Morning studio, along with Christine Hamilton, whose phone had been hacked by the News of the World.

"Your views repulse me," Ferrari told McMullan. "I am ashamed to share a sofa with you if you think that represents British journalism.

"I too worked at the News of the World, I also worked at The Sun, I am fiercely proud of most of the men and women I worked with - you are reprehensible if you think you represent (their) views.

"You are repulsing a nation to say it is all right to (hack phones), you are so out of step to say it is a victimless crime, if the Dowler family are watching, on behalf of journalism, I apologise.

"You are beyond wrong."

© UTV News
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