Rupert Murdoch’s organisation had a moral duty to pay the legal costs for Sun reporter Anthony France. But it refused to do so.
Instead, members of the public and plenty of journalists responded to a crowdfunding appeal and raised the cash in less than six hours.
France, a crime reporter, was the first Sun journalist to be found guilty over payments to a public official in the wake of the Operation Elveden police investigation.
He was convicted in May of aiding and abetting a police officer to commit misconduct in a public office by paying him for stories. He received an 18-month suspended sentence.
At the conclusion of the trial, he was told he must pay £35,000 towards the prosecution’s costs and it was suggested that his employers, News UK (the former News International), should pay.
But the publisher would not do so and at a hearing on Thursday, Judge Timothy Pontius QC expressed his “considerable disappointment” that it would not accept its “moral responsibility” by dipping “into its capacious pocket” to pay the costs.
He therefore reduced the costs order, demanding that France pay a tenth of the original sum: £3,461. The rest would come from the public purse.
Press Gazette reports that around lunchtime on Thursday, journalist Dennis Rice launched an appeal to raise France’s legal costs. He said …