Court Life: Coulson and Harris

Coulson's Pal

Coulson’s Pal

Richard Lutz turns a baleful eye towards the two high-profile court cases ending in jail terms for well-known media figures.

They both entered the Old Bailey knowing darn well they would be leaving in the back of a prison van.

Rolf Harris, Ozzie cheeky chappy with the paintbrush in his hand and one seemingly painted on his chin. And the other, Andy Coulson, the ex-tabloid hack cum Downing Street media king.

Separately, in separate trials on separate charges for different crimes, but on the same day, they were told by judges how they had abused trust,lied, destroyed people’s lives and were nothing more than frauds and seedy merchants of misery.

Harris went down for grooming young girls and sexual assault. He was a bully and a creep. Coulson was jailed for hacking into phones, overseeing a factory of snoops and spies to clutter his reptilian pages with gossip and tittle tattle.

But though both crimes are different, one link is indelible. Both men, now clinging to prison bars, were convinced of their own invincibility and their self-deluding right to entitlement that they had an unquestioning ability to do what they wanted.

It is the way with these characters. As it is with PR supreme Max Clifford, imprisoned last month for another compost of sex crimes. As it is for TV clown Stuart Hall of the purple prose who was jailed for sex attacks.

And on top of this heap of creeps sits the ghoulish shadow of Sir Jimmy Savile, pal of Thatcher, knighted for services to the people he attacked and raped over decades in schools and hospitals.

This sense of appalling hubris in the media/entertainment world is nothing new. People in this fetid universe of bright lights, slavish fans and fawning staff really believe many times they cannot be touched. They are above the law.

And to top it all off, politicians kneel before them: the aforesaid Margaret Thatcher for Savile, David Cameron for phone hacker Coulson and Tony Blair for a load of seedy hangers-on who could be used to wave higher the thin banner of New Labour.

I think when I looked at the hollow faces of this gang of criminals as they entered court the last day for sentencing, I saw not regret, not sadness, not shame. But rather, amazement that they could not get away with it, not pay their way out of it, not pull a string or two.

They were amazed. Shocked. Their delusions trickling away like water through fingers. Their seedy lives disintegrating. They’d been caught out.

3 thoughts on “Court Life: Coulson and Harris

  1. I recently read about several operations conducted by Scotland Yard (Yewtree, Fairbanks and Farnsworth) in response to the epidemic of MPs raping the children of England. As we say in the South, sounds like they are fishing in a stocked pond. You may be right, it’s hubris. They have a sense of privilege that unbridles the id to do whatever it wants.

    I remember a case in Pennsylvania a number of years ago when the speaker of the state house, a man named Fineman, was convicted of corruption and they published a photo of him as he was about to go to prison – he looked like a broken man. It really made an impression on me and I thought it would serve as a deterrent to other politicians thinking that their positions of privilege placed them above the law – it did not.

  2. Indeed. Prison is just one more opportunity. Books, film rights, radio shows, tv shows – all money making opportunities. Your man Fineman just neeeded a good agent to show him the way.

  3. SG – There is a law that states that someone is innocent until proved guilty. Perhaps it doesn’t apply in South Carolina or you are just plain ignorant, but your remark about ‘the epidemic of MPs raping the children of England’ is grossly offensive, hysterical, unsubstantiated and totally unproven.

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