Former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie has condemned as “disgraceful” a judge’s decision to jail a former prison officer who sold stories to the tabloid.
Amanda Watts, 43, sold five stories to The Sun for £2,100 about singer George Michael’s time as a prisoner at HMP Highpoint.
MacKenzie notes in his Sun column today that Watts’ decision to sell The Sun a sketch of Michael’s cell and reveal who visited him prompted a far more severe punishment than then singer received for driving his car whilst high on drugs.
MacKenzie said: “When you think of the ludicrous sentences handed down by the likes of Judge John Bevan QC (it stands for Quite Crackers) for the most awful violence in the street, clever online frauds etc this jailing is wholly disproportionate.
“So what did she do for her £2,100? Michael had been sentenced to two months when found slumped at the wheel after crashing his car high on drugs.
“Since he could have killed someone while out his mind, he was the one who should get a year.
“George Michael was a global superstar and his time in jail was not only of interest to the public but also of public interest.
“How the mighty have fallen is part of the sentencing.
“Even the dim Judge Bevan should know that.”
He added: “I feel desperate for Ms Watts, who suffers from the debilitating illness lupus, and would urge her to appeal this disgusting sentence by a disgusting Establishment court.”
Of 34 journalists arrested and/or charged under the Operation Elveden inquiry into payments to public officials, two convictions stand. The rest have either had the charges dropped, convictions quashed or been found not guilt.
At least 30 public officials have been found guilty, with most of these given prison sentences. Most off the public officials were identified as a result of information disclosed to the Metropolitan Police by The Sun’s parent company, News Corp.