The Secret Barrister dismantles the suggestion that Boris Johnson’s neighbours broke the law

Boris Johnson next to a barristers whig
Joshua Funnell

There’s been no shortage of defence for Conservative leadership hopeful Boris Johnson after a disturbing transcript was published. It reportedly revealed an incidence of domestic violence towards his girlfriend.

Instead of scrutinising the conduct of our would-be prime minister, some right-wing journalists are targeting Johnson’s neighbours for reporting the incident at all. The Telegraph columnist Allison Pearson has even questioned the legality of them recording the heated row.

However, the author of The Secret Barrister: Stories of the Law and How It’s Broken, has rubbished these claims. And by doing so, they’ve also highlighted what appears to be legal ignorance among some journalists.

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Johnson’s media colleagues ride to his rescue

Pearson of the Telegraph (the same paper that Johnson also writes a column for) came out to bat for Johnson.

In a series of tweets on 22 June, Pearson attacked Johnson’s concerned neighbours:

She also posted a question speculating that the recording of Johnson was potentially illegal:

Lawyers less than impressed

One person happy to help answer Pearson’s query was the anonymous Secret Barrister. They’ve previously written a best selling expose of life as a barrister in a legal system cut to the bone.

They provided Pearson with a clear answer to her legal question:

Matthew Scott of Barrister Blog, also added the detail that the intent of Johnson’s neighbours in recording the incident was legally irrelevant:

Yet Pearson didn’t ask for further legal advice before making the following bold judgement:

Pearson was then well and truly lawyered by the Secret Barrister:

Things then got worse for Pearson.

According to the Secret Barrister, Pearson, in fact, might be the one on dodgy legal ground:

Pearson then went into the hypothetical realm and was accused of being wrong… AGAIN:

The bigger issue: reporting domestic abuse is essential

The Secret Barrister also shared their personal experience of dealing with domestic violence cases.

Far from being criminals, they highlighted the important role concerned neighbours can play in such cases:

Other legal minds on the privacy question

But it wasn’t just the Secret Barrister who gave their legal input.

Elsewhere, law trainer and journalist David Banks highlighted the absurdity of an article discussing the story written by Spiked. The article suggested the Guardian were hypocrites for condemning phone hacking while happily publishing the transcript of a recording obtained from a private recording of Johnson.

But Banks made short shrift of this argument:

He then took apart the suggestion that Johnson was legally entitled to privacy in this instance:

The state of journalism in 2019

Reflecting on the issue, the Secret Barrister had this withering assessment of the state of journalism today:

And they highlighted this absurdity:

This story highlights the desperate lengths some establishment journalists will go to, in order to defend their personal champion, Boris Johnson.

But what about media holding the powerful, like Johnson, to account? Forget it.

Featured image via Sky News/YouTube and Atelier Bassi International/YouTube

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  • Show Comments
    1. The secret Barrister is just awesome ! Brilliant takedown of a hack which was just perfection. British Journalism is no more i’m afraid, they are either lazy, ignorant or just willing participants in the lies and bias they print. I haven’t purchased any newspaper in 25yrs once I realised that the only facts they ever published was the date on the front page.

    2. What an extraordinary rant by Alison Pearson. I would have liked to have seen the article she would have written had this been a Labour MP. Clearly, from the transcript of the argument, there was a really threatening tone to it and Bojo’s girlfriend clearly seemed to be quite afraid. As the Secret Barrister stated, victims of domestic violence rely on the public notifying the police if they are concerned as these incidents are not only life threatening but are likely to lead to physical violence.

      What Pearson’s rant shows is a deplorable adoption of double standards by the MSM. The feel they are entitled to smear anyone who dares to question the establishment or Bojo’s neighbours actions in calling the Police to a clearly aggressive incident. The feel entitled to destroy anyone’s life who speak the truth or are inconveniently speaking against the Tory Propaganda that is their narrative. Milly’s phone tapping, the trashing of the reputation of the witness who saw the SAS shoot three innocent men in Gibraltar, the trashing of the reputations of three young women who were staying in a hotel and were raped by a famous British footballer when the Spanish Police said there was clear and unequivocal evidence of the assault and numerous witnesses etc etc.

      These journalists are scum, real scum. They refuse to report news that should concern the public such as the actions of the Integrity Initiative, this Government, truth about the oil tankers in Iran, investigate truth and evidence etc. What does Pearson want to do if she gets the names of the neighbours who called the Police? Destroy their lives and reputations for the sake of a bully, racist, sexist, pathological liar and cheating MP who is running for Prime Minister. Does she really believe he is worth defending? I guess she wants Bojo as Prime Minister; that says an awful lot about her. She should be investigated by the Police for supporting domestic violence.

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