Ex-News Corp. Executives Held in Contempt of U.K. ParliamentBy and
News of the World’s Myler and Crone misled Commons committee
Privileges Committee clears company of deception in testimony
Two senior figures at Rupert Murdoch’s now-defunct News of the World tabloid were found to be in contempt of the U.K. Parliament over their testimony to a House of Commons committee about phone hacking.
Colin Myler, who edited the newspaper until it closed in 2011, and Tom Crone, the newspaper’s lawyer, both misled the Culture, Media & Sport Committee “by answering questions falsely” about their knowledge of employee involvement in phone hacking, Parliament’s Privileges Committee found in a report published in London Wednesday. Les Hinton, a former News Corp. executive, was cleared of contempt, as was the company’s British publishing unit, then called News International.
The panel recommended Crone and Myler be formally admonished by the House of Commons, the only sanction available in such cases. It also urged Parliament to re-examine what punishment it should be able to mete out in the future against people who mislead committees.
News International was battered by allegations of phone hacking and bribery from 2011 that saw criminal and judicial probes into the press, the closing of the News of the World and the resignation of several high-profile executives.
“I am extremely disappointed at the Committee’s conclusion," Myler said in a statement distributed by his lawyers. "It is profoundly disappointing that the Privileges Committee has chosen to act in a manner which serves to discredit Parliamentary procedures rather than enhance the very authority and respect which they profess to command."
News Corp. declined to immediately comment on the panel’s findings.
The saga reached its apogee in 2014 when jurors convicted Andy Coulson, a former News of the World editor and later an aide to David Cameron when he was U.K. prime minister, on one count related to hacking. Rebekah Brooks, another former editor who had also been chief executive of News International, and four others were cleared of all charges related to phone hacking, bribery and destruction of evidence.
Myler, Crone and Hinton weren’t accused of any wrongdoing by prosecutors.
Brooks returned to her role as CEO of the subsidiary, now called News U.K. in 2015, some four years after resigning.