No one has yet been found liable in civil terms or guilty in criminal terms, but the inevitable pleas of ignorance and finger pointing have started already. Aside from the considerable distaste caused by the hacking, it is a reminder of the darker side of human nature and survival instinct are also quite depressing.
In some cases, whilst no judgments can be made at this stage, it would seem surprising if the individuals did not know more than they acknowledge and excuses based on ignorance or stupidity would seem somewhat facile.
As an example of who may be in the firing line, along with numerous others, may well be Daniel Cloke, Head of News International HR and a director. Due to his senior and integral role in the events surrounding the 2007 internal investigation into the affair, it is difficult to see what excuse he can make for examining 2,500 internal e-mails and finding no “smoking gun”. Mr Cloke may well argue that if the company’s city lawyers, who also saw these documents, didn’t find anything wrong, he was entitled to take their advice and come to the same conclusion and so the game of pass the parcel may continue. It will be interesting to see if such an argument will hold any water if any civil or criminal proceedings are brought against Mr Cloke in the future.