Journalists in the dock
Elveden ends with two more acquittals
Friday 16 October, 2015 The last two journalists put on trial for paying public sector workers for stories have been acquitted after a retrial at the Old Bailey.
The cases against the Sun's former head of news Chris Pharo, left, and reporter Jamie Pyatt had gone ahead after the Crown Prosecution Service abandoned most other outstanding cases when a succession of juries declined to convict journalists of aiding and abetting misconduct in public office.
Pharo and Pyatt were accused over payments to Surrey policeman Simon Quinn, who received about £10,000 for tips about stories between 2002 and 2011. Quinn was jailed for 18 months earlier this year.
The journalists argued that they had not actively encouraged Quinn to breach his professional duty and that the stories had been in the public interest. The pair were cleared after the jury had deliberated for 12 hours. Afterwards, Pyatt said: "The head has finally been chopped off the Elveden dragon. It's gone. It should never have been there in the first place. It's disgraceful."
Pharo said: "How could anyone imagine spending more than £30m over four years prosecuting journalists for doing their job was remotely in the public interest?"
The CPS defended its approach, saying:"It is right that a jury, rather than the CPS, decides whether a defendant is guilty or not...This case in particular involved allegations of multiple payments to a corrupt public official in areas where the public should generally expect confidentiality."
More than 30 journalists were arrested under Elveden and 29 taken to court, of whom only one remains convicted - Anthony France of the Sun. Twenty-six public officials have been convicted and many of them jailed.
SubScribe: The tally
Brookes's four-letter fusillades
Friday 2 October, 2015 Rebekah Brooks was possibly the most charming person Chris Pharo had ever met, yet she sent him expletive-filled emails and publicly shamed him over his news schedules for the Sun, the Old Bailey has been told.
Pharo, the paper's former head of news, and former reporter Jamie Pyatt are being retried on charges of aiding and abetting misconduct in public office by paying a police officer for stories. They plead not guilty.
Pharo told the court that Brooks had a punchbag in her office for her to work off her stress and once slammed the conference room door so hard that the handle came off and security had to be called to release the executives inside.
She was under great pressure from Rupert Murdoch, who would call her several times a day, and passed this down the line, Pharo said. "She could often be fine but more often than not she was nothing short of a nightmare."
She would sulk for days if the paper missed a story and when the News of the World ran an exclusive about David Blunkett's affair she sent a text message to her senior journalists saying "If you f****** c***** are not capable of matching them I'll sack the lot of you."
It later turned out that the News of the World had got some parts of the story by hacking Brooks's phone - Blunkett had been leaving her voicemails asking for advice on how to deal with his situation.
Pharo has also told the court that former features editor Neil Wallis used the Dear Deidre column to humiliate him when he declined a job offer because his then girlfriend was pregnant, but he said that he loved working for the paper and that he
missed it every day.
Asked about cash payments to sources, Pharo said that the system had been in place for three decades and that he hated it. "It made me uncomfortable about the fact there was a lot of cash flying around the office - accusations people were pocketing it."
He said that he did not authorise payments, but merely assessed stories and passing requests for payment up the line. He did, however, think that it would be legitimate to pay police officers for stories in the public interest.
Pyatt told the court that he had paid a police officer for information, but that everything he did was sanctioned by the company and that he thought he was acting within the law. He had worked loyally for the paper for 25 years and then woke up one morning to find that his employers had handed all his emails to the police and betrayed his sources, even though under the Editor's Code protection of sources was sacrosanct.
Both journalists described being arrested and questioned as a nightmare and Pharo said of Brooks: "She is now back in her job and I'm here answering these questions."
Brooks was cleared of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office at the phone hacking trial last year and has recently returned to News UK as chief executive, the post she resigned when the hacking scandal broke in July 2011.
Read more on the case from Press Gazette here and Martin Hickman here.
Cleared journalists attack Met and CPS
Monday 27 April Seven journalists have been formally cleared at the Old Bailey after the Crown Prosecution Service backed away from Operation Elveden.
Lucy Panton, the first journalist to be convicted for paying a public sector worker, was acquitted of a second charge on Thursday, along with Vince Soodin of the Sun, who had been facing a retrial in a separate case.
The fact that Panton, the former News of the World crime editor, faced a second count meant she could not be named in the first trial. Her conviction in that was quashed by the Lord Chief Justice, prompting a review of all Elveden cases. Now she has been cleared on both counts and last week she thanked family, friends, lawyers and the journalist community, including Press Gazette, "whose unwavering support has got me through this hellish four year ordeal".
Panton, pictured, said: "I was on maternity leave with my six-week-old son when the NoTW closed in July 2011. At 6am on December 15 later that year, nine police officers raided my home and turfed my then six-month-old son out of his cot along with his five-year-old sister from her bed.
"I was jobless, isolated and unable to pay my legal fees. After 19 months on bail and four intrusive police interviews I was finally charged.
"As the only journalist arrested by Operation Elveden who was not having their legal bills paid by a media organisation I was left to fend for myself."
The Sun reporter Tom Wells was formally cleared of one outstanding charge on Friday, having been acquitted the previous week on two counts in a trial in which three other journalists were found not guilty. He attacked the "failing and flailing" police operation and said that while he was delighted to have been cleared, he was deeply disappointed that his prison officer source would still face a retrial.
The parade of journalists continued yesterday when Graham Dudman, Greg Box-Turnbull, Ben O'Driscoll and Stephen Moyes appeared at the Old Bailey for their formal acquittals. As in the cases of Panton and Wells, the prosecution of their contacts will go ahead.
Dudman said: "After 1,176 days on bail, including a four-month trial and two not guilty verdicts, the CPS announced it was dropping the remaining two charges against me by sending my solicitor an email. How very different from the way it all started.
“In January 2012, somebody decided I posed such a danger to society that ten police officers raided my home at dawn in front of my terrified wife and young children. They confiscated my passport before locking me in a cell, stripping me of any dignity and swabbing my mouth for DNA. I was treated like a murderer or a terrorist."
Box-Turnbull said: “Operation Elveden has been a vicious assault on public interest journalism and press freedom by the Met Police and the CPS.
"Nearly three years ago I became the first reporter to be arrested from Trinity Mirror, as Rupert Murdoch's betrayal of journalists and their sources crossed over into a second news organisation.
“However, I remained steadfast in my total conviction that, at all times, I had done my job professionally and lawfully as a hard-working journalist in accordance with the PCC Code of Conduct."
Box-Turnbull was the only defendant - apart from Sun chief reporter John Kay - to allude to the News International management and standards committee, which gave police the millions of documents that made this series of prosecutions possible. When Kay was cleared along with three colleagues last month, he said: "I'm very, very upset that a trusted source of The Sun ended up in jail as a result of betrayal by my own company."
Three journalists still face trials under Elveden: the Sun crime reporter Anthony France, who has yet to appear at the Crown Court, and Chris Pharo and Jamie Pyatt, whose trial alongside Dudman and O'Driscoll ended with a hung jury.
SubScribe: The tally
Elveden reduced to three cases as DPP halts prosecution of nine journalists
Friday 18 April Two tabloid journalists charged with illegally paying public workers have had the cases against them dropped and seven others - including Andy Coulson - will not have to face retrials after a review of Operation Elveden by the Crown Prosecution Service.
But cases against the Sun's head of news Chris Pharo and reporters Jamie Pyatt and Anthony France will go ahead. The CPS will also proceed with the prosecution of six public sector workers and the wife of a public official.
The cases were dropped after another three journalists were cleared today of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office. Neil Millard and Brandon Malinsky of the Sun and Graham Brough, formerly of the Mirror, who were accused of paying prison officers for stories about Boy George, Jack Tweed and the James Bulger killer Jon Venables, were all found not guilty of all charges against them.
But the Old Bailey jury failed to reach a verdict on a fourth reporter and an immigration centre worker. The CPS will decide this week whether to seek a retrial of the Sun's Tom Wells - who was acquitted on two other charges - and Mark Blake, who leaked stories about the Colnbrook immigration centre.
Thirteen journalists have now been cleared of all charges brought as a result of Operation Elveden and juries have failed to reach verdicts on eight others.
Two have been convicted, but one of those convictions was overturned by the Lord Chief Justice who ruled that Judge Wide had not emphasised the high threshold required to convict. The CPS responded by saying that it would not seek a retrial of the News of the World reporter concerned. It has now decided that it will not go ahead with a second case against that journalist, who still cannot be named because the public official co-defendants still face proceedings.
The other convicted reporter - Ryan Sabey of the Sun - was given leave to appeal, and he, too has now been told that the CPS will not proceed with his case.
Others whose cases have been dropped without going before a jury are Greg Box Turnbull of the Mirror, whose trial was due to start last week, and Stephen Moyes of the Sun.
Andy Coulson, Clive Goodman, Vince Soodin, Ben O'Driscoll and Graham Dudman, whose trials ended with hung juries, will not face retrials.
In its statement about the review today the CPS said: "The importance of a free press is paramount in any democracy and the prosecutions against the journalists involved were considered very carefully. However, the investigation revealed widespread payments to corrupt officials, and in some cases the CPS authorised prosecutions of journalists.
"This was not an investigation into whistle blowers acting to expose matters of public importance out of a sense of civic duty - the 21 convictions of public officials to date show that these were the actions of corrupt individuals motivated by greed and self-interest."
Crown Prosecution Service statement
SubScribe: Operation Elveden
Retrial for prison officer, but new hearing for reporter 'not in the public interest'
Wednesday 1 April The first journalist to be convicted as a result of the Operation Elveden investigation into payments to public workers will not have to face a retrial after the quashing of the conviction last week.
But a prison officer jailed in the same case will have to go before a jury again. His friend, who was also sent to prison by Judge Wide, will not be retried.
All three convictions were overturned by Lord Thomas, the Lord Chief Justice (pictured), who ruled on Friday that Judge Wide had misdirected the jury on the level of seriousness required to convict.
The CPS was given until yesterday afternoon to decide whether to seek a retrial and Alison Saunders, the DPP, met senior counsel and police on Monday night to consider the future of the Elveden cases.
Today at a special hearing in front of Lord Thomas, the CPS said that it was seeking a retrial for the prison officer, but that it would not be in the public interest to pursue the cases against his friend or the journalist. None of the three can be named.
The prison officer was released last week, having served three months of a three-and-a-half-year sentence. His counsel said that he had had a very difficult time in prison because of his former job and had spent 23 hours a day in his cell at Belmarsh. Lord Thomas agreed to the request for a retrial, but expressed concern about the delay in proceedings.
The trial of a second journalist that was due to start this week was meanwhile adjourned until April 24 at the request of the CPS, which is considering the implications of the Lord Chief Justice's ruling on Friday.
A spokesman said yesterday: “The Court of Appeal judgment from last week does not call into question the prosecution of the appellants concerned, but considered that the jury needed greater direction on how serious offending must be to amount to an abuse of the public’s trust.
This ruling has been very carefully considered in relation to the cases against these three individuals and we have informed the Court of Appeal this afternoon of our decisions concerning retrials in each of those cases.
“We have also asked for an adjournment in the Operation Elveden trial due to start today in order to consider the wider implications of last week’s judgment on this case and others within Operation Elveden.”
Only two journalists have been convicted under the 13th century law of misconduct in a public office, both in trials overseen by Judge Wide. The second, Ryan Sabey, was given permission to appeal last week. Six have been cleared, four are in the closing stages of an Old Bailey case and nine await trial or retrial. One journalist has pleaded guilty to the offence.
More than 30 public officials have been jailed after admitting selling stories to journalists.
Royal reporter convicted over Harry tips
Monday 23 March A former British Press Awards young journalist of the year has become the second journalist to be found guilty by a jury for paying a public sector contact for story tips.
Ryan Sabey, 34, was the youngest reporter at the News of the World when he paid serving soldier Paul Brunt for stories about Prince Harry, including £5,000 for one that made the "swastika shame" splash in 2006.
The Old Bailey was told that Brunt received more than £16,000 from the News of the World and Sun for leaks about the prince over an 18-month period.
Sabey, who later moved to the Sun, told the court that news editors James Weatherup and Ian Edmonson knew that he had a serving soldier as a source and that he had cleared a £1,500 cash payment with Edmonson and managing editor Stuart Kuttner.
He said he had asked them: “I hope it’s possible to pay an army contact £1,500 cash payment for the story instead of into his bank account. He doesn’t want money paid into his account because he fears this could jeopardise his position if the army ever asked to see his bank account statements.”
Sabey said he regarded Brunt as a whistle-blower and that while he accepted that ignorance of the law was no defence, he did not believe the jury would consider that he had been aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office.
Sabey and Brunt were both found guilty and will be sentenced by Judge Wide on Friday.
Sun quartet cleared after 3 years on bail
Friday 20 March Four senior Sun journalists were cleared this morning of illegally paying public officials for stories, dealing another blow to the CPS and the police Operation Elveden.
The Old Bailey jury reached its verdict after more than 48 hours of deliberations over ten days at the end of a trial that heard how John Kay, the Sun's former chief reporter, had paid a Ministry of Defence strategist more than £100,000 for tips. They included stories about equipment shortages in Afghanistan, bullying, the Deepcut suicides and a soldier accused of battering an Iraqi to death.
The official, Bettina Jordan-Barber, was sentenced to 12 months' jail in January and ordered to repay the proceeds of the crime plus interest after admitting misconduct in a public office. She was accused of conspiring with Rebekah Brooks and with Kay, both of whom have now been cleared in separate trials, and her case could not be reported until the other trials were over.
Sun executive editor Fergus Shanahan and deputy editor Geoff Webster were also cleared of conspiracy, having been put on trial for authorising payments to Kay's "number one military source".
The fourth journalist acquitted today was the Sun's royal editor Duncan Larcombe, who paid a Sandhurst instructor £23,000 for tips about Prince William and Prince Harry during their military training. The instructor, John Hardy, and his wife Claire were also cleared.
To date, two journalists have been convicted over payments to public officials - one who still cannot be named and the former News of the World reporter Ryan Sabey, whose February conviction for paying a soldier in Prince Harry's regiment for stories can only now be reported. He is to be sentenced on Friday. A third - Dan Evans - has pleaded guilty. Nine have now been cleared, while seven face retrials because juries could not agree. Three more Sun journalists and a Mirror reporter are currently on trial at the Old Bailey accused of paying prison officers and police support staff.
SubScribe: Journalists in the dock
Read Lisa O'Carroll on what could have been the decisive factor in the trial...
...and her Guardian report on the Jordan-Barber trial here
Jury out in Sun Four corruption case
Monday 9 March An Old Bailey jury has retired to consider its verdict after hearing two months of evidence about how senior Sun journalists paid MoD staff for information.
Former chief reporter John Kay, pictured, is said to have paid £100,000 for stories about the armed forces, while royal editor Duncan Larcombe paid a Sandhurst instructor £23,000 for tips about Princes William and Harry while they were training. Both deny conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office, saying their stories were in the public interest and that they did not know it was illegal to pay public workers for leaks.
Summing up, Judge Saunders told the jury that there was no doubt that the Sun had achieved a great deal for the Forces. It was in the public interest for bullying and equipment shortages to be exposed, but was it also in the public interest for the newspaper to pay for the names of war casualties that were going to be released anyway?
“You have to consider the stories and what was paid for them. You have to consider [MoD official] Bettina Jordan-Barber’s position and consider whether you are sure there was no reasonable excuse or that there was a reasonable excuse, namely that the MoD would be burying the stories otherwise.”
The two reporters are on trial with deputy editors Fergus Shanahan and Geoff Webster, who are accused of authorising some of the cash payments.
Read more on the case from Lisa O'Carroll of the Guardian here
Saunders defends Press prosecutions
Wednesday 4 March The Director of Public Prosecutions has denied pursuing a witch-hunt against journalists after being questioned by a Conservative MP about conviction rates from the police investigations arising from the hacking scandal.
Michael Ellis, MP for Northampton North, asked Alison Saunders: "I believe some £33m was spent pursuing journalists to the end of September 14. And you haven’t got much for that, have you? I mean they haven’t got much by way of successful prosecutions...You’re getting far too many acquittals to justify prosecuting these people, I’m suggesting to you.”
Saunders, pictured, replied: "We don’t choose what comes into us. If there’s an investigation and the police feel there’s sufficient evidence to refer cases to us, we look at those...to see whether or not there is sufficient evidence for a prosecution, and whether or not it is in the public interest.”
Giving evidence to a Home Affairs select committee hearing on the use of police bail, she said that in Press-related cases submitted to the CPS, 36 people, including 10 journalists, had been convicted; 15, 7 of them journalists, acquitted; and no action had been taken against 47 people, including 25 journalists. Three people had accepted cautions.
See Saunders giving evidence here
'Absurd and misconceived' defence protest over change of judge thrown out
Friday 13 February, 2015
Suggestions that a new judge had been drafted in to improve the chances of convictions in the retrial of four Sun journalists accused of illegally paying public officials were rejected as absurd at the Old Bailey today.
Defence counsel for Chris Pharo, Ben O'Driscoll, Jamie Pyatt and Graham Dudman had expressed concern last week that the Judge Marks, who presided over the three-month trial, had apparently been removed from the new hearing against his will.
The claim was based on an email from the judge saying that his "elders and betters" had decided he would not hear the case. But Mr Justice Sweeney said today that had been a light-hearted remark that had been significantly misconstrued. It was simply an administrative decision.
Judge Marks was due to hear three further Elveden cases that would probably last 12 weeks. To take on the retrial as well would commit him for some 22 weeks and leave him unavailable for other serious trials in the autumn. Judge Wide, who is to take over, also had three such trials on his books, but these were expected to take only four to six weeks in total. Putting him in charge of the retrial would free up Judge Marks and lead to a more balanced distribution of cases between the two.
The lawyers had also noted the two judges' different attitude to the mental element involved in proving the charge against the journalists. But this, too, was rejected by Mr Justice Sweeney; Judge Marks had given the jury no ruling on this and Judge Wide's stance in the case that ended in the conviction of a News of the World reporter was the subject of an appeal. The Appeal Court's verdict on that would be binding on whoever ran the new trial.
Mr Justice Sweeney also rejected the contentions that it was usual for the original trial judge to oversee hear a retrial and that the decision to put Judge Wide on the case had been taken in secret. All four submissions were, he said, misconceived and the defendants could have no legitimate fear that the independence and integrity of the judicial selection process had been compromised.
"It might be thought to be a sad day when it is suggested that, without more, a fair minded and informed observer would conclude that there was a real possibility that a judge exercising a judicial function had deliberately taken or approved an administrative decision to inappropriately favour one side over the other in litigation of any type," Judge Sweeney continued.
"Judge Wide was not chosen, or approved, because of his view to date on the mental element issue. Nor was he chosen, or approved, in order to improve the prospects of conviction of these defendants.
"In any event, the suggestion made is absurd. This is simply the replacement, for good reason as one would surely expect, of one fair judge by another fair judge."
Judge replaced for Sun corruption retrial
Saturday 7 February, 2015
The only judge to have overseen the conviction of a journalist for paying public officials is to preside over the retrial of four Sun journalists after the trial judge was removed, apparently against his will.
Judge Marks, who sat in the three-month trial of Chris Pharo, Ben O'Driscoll, Graham Dudman, Jamie Pyatt, John Edwards and John Troup, emailed defence lawyers to say that his "elders and betters" had decided that he should be replaced for the new hearing.
Edwards and Troup were cleared in the original trial and the other four had at least some of the charges against them dismissed, but after two weeks - 49 hours - of deliberation, the jury could not reach a majority verdict on other counts.
The Crown Prosecution Service announced immediately that it would seek a retrial, which Judge Marks said should be held this year, pointing out that "These defendants have had this hanging over them for a considerable amount of time. I know in some cases they have been suspended from work." He praised the defendants for their "great dignity".
Judge Wide was in charge of the case of a News of the World journalist who was convicted of paying a prison officer for stories about the James Bulger killer Jon Venables. He gave the reporter, who cannot be named for legal reasons, a suspended six-month prison sentence and a 150-hour community service order and imposed a three-month tagged curfew "as a daily reminder of how close to prison you came". The reporter is appealing.
The change of judge for the Sun retrial was questioned by the four defence lawyers at a hearing before Judge Wide the Old Bailey yesterday and at one point they threatened to seek a judicial review.
The court heard that Judge Marks's email, sent on Wednesday, said: “It has been decided (not by me but by my elders and betters) that I am not going to be doing the retrial.”
Nigel Rumfitt QC, for Pharo, said that the email, which "very much gave the impression" that the judge had been taken off the case against his will, had caused the defendants very considerable consternation and they were entitled to know the reason for the change.
“The way this has come about gives rise to the impression that something has been going on behind the scenes which should not have been going on behind the scenes and which should have been dealt with transparently. It can’t be a state secret, I don’t think Mr Putin is going to lose any sleep over why my Lord has been selected."
If there were a reason - if only tactlessness to a judge already publicly committed to the case - it should be made public.
“The complaint is if there have been some back-stage manouevres which have not been explained to remove the designated judge.”
Richard Kovalvesky QC, for Pyatt, described the move as an extraordinary decision and said that the defence should have an opportunity to address whoever made it.
He also noted that the two judges were known to have a different approach to "mens rea" - the knowledge and intent of the defendant when an alleged offence is committed - which can be a key issue in corruption cases.
All six journalists in the original trial were cleared early in the case of involvement in an overarching conspiracy and the jury was discharged from giving a verdict on one other count against Pharo. At the end of the case, Edwards and Troup were cleared on all counts and O'Driscoll and Dudman were each cleared of one of the charges against them. That left nine of the original 22 charges outstanding.
The decision to hold a second trial was criticised by MPs, media lawyers and national newspapers. The Mail, Telegraph and Times all ran leaders questioning whether a new hearing would be in the public interest - to which the head of the CPS responded in a blog post last week.
SubScribe: "Staff sacrificed to save Brooks and News International"
Editor's blog: Is a retrial really in the public interest?
Editor's blog: Are we seeing justice for journalists?
Sun man guilty over MP's mobile
Tuesday 9 December, 2014
The Sun's chief foreign correspondent today became the first journalist from the paper to be convicted as a result of the police operations that followed the phone-hacking scandal.
Nick Parker, pictured, was found guilty of handling a stolen mobile phone belonging to the Labour MP Siobhan McDonagh and given a three-month prison sentence, suspended for a year. He was cleared of aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office by paying a policeman for information about John Terry's mother and Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones.
The Old Bailey had been told that Parker had looked through McDonagh’s mobile phone after it had been stolen from her car after agreeing a "holding contract" to pay the man who took it to the paper £10,000 if it produced a promised story about bribery. Parker found nothing of interest to the paper on the phone and told the source to return the phone to its owner.
Passing sentence, Judge Worsley said: "You were prepared to behave dishonestly in order to get a story relating to allegations of bribery. You were seeking to get a story for your employers. You told the jury that you had missed out on the MPs expenses scandal story. And I have no doubt when the phone came to you you hoped to find material that might form the basis of a similar dramatic story. You over-stepped the line between investigate journalism and breaking the law."
Editor's blog If Parker is guilty, Harding and Brooks are too
Are we seeing justice for journalists?
Mirror reporter's trial delayed
A Daily Mirror reporter due to stand trial accused of paying a prison officer for stories has had the hearing adjourned while the Crown Prosecution Service reviews all outstanding Operation Elveden cases.
Greg Box Turnbull is charged with conspiring with prison officer Grant Pizzey and his partner Desra Reilly to commit misconduct in public office. The case was due to start yesterday, but has now been put back to April 27.
The CPS has been given until April 24 to review the Elveden cases after the Lord Chief Justice quashed the conviction of a former News of the World reporter who paid a prison officer for stories about Jon Venables. Lord Thomas said that Judge Wide had misdirected the jury because he had not emphasised the high level of seriousness required to convict. The prison officer is to go on trial again, but the journalist will not face a new hearing.
MoD mole jailed for £100,000 leaks
The Sun chief reporter's "number one military contact" has been sentenced to a year in prison for selling him stories over an eight-year period
Bettina Jordan-Barber was sentenced in January after admitting conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office, but the sentence could not be reported until the conclusion of the Sun Four corruption case.
The Old Bailey was told that Jordan-Barber had received 35 payments for information relating to 69 stories, including equipment failings in Iraq and Afghanistan, sexual impropriety and a scoop on the resignation of a bomb disposal expert.
Judge Barber said that her offences had been serious because she had the highest level of security clearance and was responsible for briefing ministers.
“If we were in a John Le Carré novel she would be called a mole,” Saunders said.
Her stories had not affected national security, but were extremely damaging to morale and would break down trust between those serving together, the judge added.
Jordan-Barber was ordered to forfeit the £100,000 she had received, plus £13,000 interest.
John Kay, the Sun's chief reporter, was cleared on Friday of plotting with Jordan-Barber to commit misconduct in public office. Rebekah Brooks, Geoff Webster and Fergus Shanahan, who authorised payments, were also cleared after telling two separate trials that they did not know who Kay's source was.
Another trial starts at Old Bailey
Four reporters have gone on trial accused of conspiring with prison officers and police support staff to commit misconduct in public office. Neil Millard, Tom Wells and Brandon Malinsky from the Sun are in the dock alongside the former Mirror reporter Graham Brough. All plead not guilty. (26/02/15)
Read more from Press Gazette here
The Sun's crime reporter Anthony France has pleaded not guilty to aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office by paying a policeman for tips. He will appear at the Old Bailey on May 11 for a trial expected to last for two weeks. (05/02/15)
The SAS soldier-turned-author Andy McNab has told the Old Bailey that the Ministry of Defence would not be concerned about press leaks about Princes William and Harry. Rather it would regard stories about their Sandhurst regime as good publicity, showing they were not given special treatment.
McNab was speaking in defence of the Sun royal editor Duncan Larcombe, pictured, who is on trial with three colleagues accused of conspiracy to commit misconduct by paying public sector workers for stories.
He said that the MoD would be concerned only about matters of national security, the rest was trivial when you were preparing young people to fight in two warzones:
"They are dealt with at unit level. If there's money changed hands, then his pay would be stopped and that money would be going to some charity. He would be gripped and given extra duties. It's all part of what's called the tribal system."
Larcombe is on trial with deputy editor Geoff Webster, executive editor Fergus Shanahan and former chief reporter John Kay. They all plead not guilty. (23/02/15)
A former First Sea Lord, editors and fellow journalists lined up at the Old Bailey to praise the Sun chief reporter John Kay, above, who is on trial with three senior colleagues accused of paying public officials for stories.
The court has been told that Kay paid a top military contact £100,000 for exclusives, including stories about Princes William and Harry.
Character witnesses included Admiral Lord West of Spithead, Lloyd Embley of the Mirror and Dominic Ponsford of Press Gazette.
Kay, Sun deputy editor Geoffrey Webster, executive editor Fergus Shanahan and royal editor Duncan Larcombe all deny conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office. Former MoD official Bettina Jordan-Barber, former Sandhurst colour sergeant John Hardy and his wife Claire, also deny misconduct in public office. (06/02/15
For the most comprehensive coverage of this trial SubScribe has found please look at the Guardian and follow @lisaocarroll.
For brief coverage of journalists on trial in 2014, please click here
For analysis, commentary and background to the Brooks-Coulson phone hacking trial and its press coverage, please click here
NB: Some material from the archive has gone missing. Apologies. We're trying to track it down
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