Sky news admits that senior executives allowed journalist to hack emails of John Darwin, say their authorization was in public interest. John Darwin aka the “canoe man” came under accusations that he faked his death back in 2002.
According to the broadcaster, a correspondent was allowed to carry out the hacking on two different occasions. Firstly when Darwin’s wife Anne was facing a trial on deception charges in 2008, and secondly the same correspondent accessed emails of a suspected pedophile but the investigation did not lead to any fruitful results. It is reported that both instances were approved by Simon Cole, the managing editor of Sky news.
In a statement yesterday, the head of Sky News John Ryly said has that the journalist was authorized and that the hacking in both cases was justified and was in public interest.
In March 2002 Darwin was declared dead after his sudden disappearance at sea in a canoe. His wife after claiming insurance and pension left for panama. In 2007 ploy was exposed after Darwin turned up at a police station claiming to be a missing and mentally ill person. Both were trilled and sent to prison on charges of money laundering and deception.
Sky news correspondent Mr. Tubbs that Darwin was using identity of a friend John Jones. After finding a yahoo email account on the name of John Jones, the broadcaster sought permission for intercepting the emails.
On the basis of emails from inbox of Darwin Sky News published a story in which it was revealed that Darwin was forced to return to Britain as his visa for Panama actually expired.
It should be noted that under the Computer Misuse Act accessing someone else’s emails is offensive and in the law there is no public interest defense for it.
Mr. Ryly said, “Sky News is committed to the highest editorial standards. Like other news organizations, we are acutely aware of the tensions that can arise between the law and responsible investigative journalism. On two occasions, we have authorized a journalist to access the email of individuals suspected of criminal activity. In the 2008 case of Anne Darwin, Sky News met with Cleveland Police and provided them with emails offering new information relevant to Mrs Darwin’s defence. Material provided by Sky News was used in the successful prosecution and the police made clear after the trial that this information was pivotal to the case.We stand by these actions as editorially justified and in the public interest. We do not take such decisions lightly or frequently”.