Did the News of the World conspire in treason?
It is reported (and here) that News of the World journalists paid Royal Protection officers for the private contact details of members of the Royal Family, including those of the Queen. We read: ‘The information included phone numbers and tips about the movements and activities of the Queen, Prince Philip and staff in a serious breach of national security.’
This goes beyond corruption: it is treachery at the heart of the Establishment. Such betrayal endangers the lives of the Queen and other members of the Royal Family, and constitutes a grave risk to national security.
Treason is defined as ‘violation by a subject of allegiance to the sovereign or to the state’. Section Three of the Treason Felony Act of 1848 asserts that condemnation is incurred ‘If any person whatsoever shall, within the United Kingdom or without, compass, imagine, invent, devise or intend to deprive or depose our most gracious Lady the Queen...from the style, honour, or royal name of the imperial crown of the United Kingdom.’
Can it not be argued in law that those Royal Protection officers who accepted bribes have conspired with journalists and violated their allegiance to the Sovereign? Have they not imagined the disclosure of information which may indeed have compromised the Crown? It is clear they invented and devised this; it is also clear they intended it. For what other reason would such details be sold?