The public has a right to know about notorious Broadmoor inmates like the Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe and M25 rapist Tony Imiela because of the heinous crimes they committed, the Sun six trial was told.
Richard Kovelvsky QC, defending Jamie Pyatt, said there is a “great big battle” between the right to privacy and the public interest in the treatment of mass murderers and rapists.
Pyatt is accused of paying Broadmoor healthcare worker Robert Neave for a string of stories from inside the maximum security hospital, including on the so-called Freddy Krueger killer Daniel Gonzalez.
“I'm going to say something a bit incendiary, but boo hoo, this is Antoni Imiela”, said Kovalevsky', of Pyatt's stories.
“Have a read about that gentleman and find out what he did.
“Daniel Gonzalez, the Freddy Krueger killer, who went on a little murdering spree, killing four people in the space of about 24 hours.
“I think he was the gentleman who bit his own artery.”
He said The Sun was entitled to pursue stories about others in Broadmoor because of the crimes they had committed.
“We have got your right to know about it”, he said.
“Was there a reasonable excuse?
“The Yorkshire Ripper goes off because he's a bit depressed to scatter the ashes of his father.
“There's the reaction of the people who have no longer got their loved ones around because of his actions.
“If Mr Neave was thinking it was a complete outrage that a cannibal was allowed to wander around, if he thought that was outrageous, if he thought it was outrageous people having sex with nurses with obvious problems for security, the list goes on and on.”
Kovalevsky said Neave and Quinn have committed misconduct by passing on the information, but the jury have to judge whether the disclosure was serious enough to warrant criminal sanctions.
He added that the jury must consider whether the information passed on was confidential rather than trivial or already in the public domain.
“As a matter of law, if it's trivial, it's not confidential”, he said.
“If it's already in the public domain it cannot be deemed to be confidential.”
Pyatt has been under fire from Pharo's barrister Nigel Rumfitt, who accused him of lying about a widespread culture of paying public officials at The Sun.
Kovalevsky said he has been painted as a “shifty and dishonest”, but reminded the jury of character witnesses who attested to his personal qualities.
“Here we have a man who has led a blameless life, he has also led a life which has contributed quite a lot”, he said.
“He comes to this court and he finds himself cross-examined.
“It's left us in this position with the most forceful attack upon Mr Pyatt being launched by Mr Rumfitt – surprising.”
He said Rebekah Brooks, then Wade, had revealed payment was made to police officers back in 2003.
“What he says is it was common knowledge that the Sun paid cash for stories and that included public officials, he said.
“News flash, the evidence in this trial accords with your own memory of life.
“In 2003, Rebekah Wade went off to the select committee and said, shock horror, we pay police officers for stories.”
Kovalevsky continued: “What Mr Pyatt has done that so exercises Mr Rumfitt and presumably his client is he's come along and dared to say that which perhaps they already knew anyway, that The Sun and Fleet Street already knew.
“According to Mr Rumfitt that's a lie, but that's up to you.”
“Do you think he's a ne'er-do-well, a lying toad?
“Or do you think he's a family man essentially doing is job, doing good things, seems to be a decent sort.
“He was cross examined to smithereens, but still ended up saying the same thing, that it's in the public interest.
“That is not a defence but it's a factor and it's a very important factor.”
He added: 'The irony of this is, if Mr Rumfitt is right and Mr Pyatt is lying, he's not guilty as it means that it's an agreement that the others don't know about.”
He said that Broadmoor authorities risk repeats of the Jimmy Savile sex abuse scandal if they shut out all press scrutiny of the treatment of patients.
Kovalevsky pointed to the report on the sexual abuse by Savile, including incidents during visits to Broadmoor said to have occurred a caravan brought in for the disgraced DJ.
“[Dr Murray] says when those people are released back into the community, you have no right to know whatsoever, you've got no interest at all”, he said.
“He would go so far as to say it was completely wrong for you to have an interest because there's no public interest.
“That debate is a legitimate debate, and the only way to have it is to have the facts that are accurate and provided to you.
“What happens when you don't have it?
'”I don't want to be sensational, but what does happen if you don't allow this argument is you get a report into Broadmoor and Jimmy Savile.
“You get this mythical caravan that came in and precisely what happened after that.”
He added: “That's what happens when you close it down and you really close it down.
“You may say you don't want to know but I will say that is not a position that you will reach.”
Kovalevsky said a story of the Yorkshire Ripper making a legal manoeuvre to try to eventually get released was something the public had a right to know about.
“You would want to know if someone like those people are being sent somewhere near you”, he said.
“We rhetorically state if that's not public interest, what is?”, he said of the Ripper's bid for freedom."