It’s a straight news story in a respected broadsheet, but does one perhaps detect just a wee soupçon of unseemly malice in the Telegraph’s coverage of the Black verdict?
Wherever he ends up, Lord Black is likely to be strip-searched and fingerprinted and removed of all his belongings, aside from a wristwatch and wedding ring. If the system judges him particularly harshly – and as a non-US citizen he could be deemed a flight risk – he could end up in a medium security prison, where guards patrol the razor wire with dogs and prisoners are forced to work as cleaners or cooks for less than a dollar an hour. According to some studies, around 20 per cent of the Midwest prison population report being coerced into sexual activity. Other studies show around 40 per cent of prisoners are infected with hepatitis.Remember, though, Lord Black attended Upper Canada College, so he's faced much shorter odds than that before.
In view of the verdict, which is essentially an endorsement of the legality of the Hollinger non-compete agreements coupled with instinctive disapproval of some of Black’s peripheral behaviour, civilized sentiment cannot hope for anything but leniency from the judge. Civilized sentiment, of course, is not what British journalists are paid to supply. (Passage spotted by Tyler Dellow. Full disclosure: I contributed to Black-owned publications two or three times before he jumped ship, and I have yet to earn a remotely similar rate for anything I’ve written in the intervening years.)