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  Words in the News
  The British former cabinet minister Jonathan Aitken was sentenced to 18 months in prison for perjury and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. We heard from Mr Aitken's lawyer, from Sir Malcolm Rifkind, a former colleague, and an earlier statement from Mr Aitken.
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Jonathan Aitken

10th June 1999

Jonathan Aitken

NEWS 1    On January 19th this year Jonthan Aitken admitted charges of perjury and perverting the course of justice. Today in court number one he was sentenced to eighteen months in prison. Mr Aitken does not intend to appeal. (Bruce Streather, Mr Aitken's lawyer)

admitted charges: he said he had done what he was accused of

perjury: a legal term: if you take an oath in a court of law and then lie, then you commit perjury

perverting: interfering with the process of justice

sentenced: the announcement of the punishment that a person will receive after they have ben found guilty

appeal: a request for a decision to be changed

NEWS 2   He's become very realistic about what has happened. He doesn't blame anyone else, he blames himself entirely for what has happened. He recognises he behaved very foolishly. I think there is genuine remorse there. It doesn't excuse behaviour, but I think it shows a human quality which is not surprising. I mean he's a very human person and like all human beings, he has strong points and weak points, but sadly the weak points have brought him to his current state. (Sir Malcom Rifkind)

foolishly: the opposite of behaving sensibly

remorse: a strong feeling of regret and guilt at something wrong you have done

strong points and weak points: a point is a quality or aspect of someone

NEWS 3  

Mr Aitken made this statement when launching a libel action against a British newspaper in 1995.
If it now falls to me to start a fight, to cut out the cancer of bent and twisted journalism in our country with the simple sword of truth and the trusty shield of traditional Britsh fair play, so be it. I am ready for that fight - the fight against falsehood and all who peddle it.


falls to me: a formal way of saying it is his responsibility

bent and twisted journalism: writing in newspapers that distorts the truth

cut out the cancer: a figurative expression meaning to eliminate

simple sword...trusty shield: a somewhat poetic expression: 'fair play' means that you don't cheat at sports

    Read about the background in BBC News Online

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