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Decision to Charge

Once the Police have completed their investigations, they will refer the case to the Crown Prosecution Service for advice on how to proceed. We will then make a decision on whether a suspect should be charged, and what that charge should be.

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CPS statement on Paul Flattley and Virginia Wheeler

22/01/2013

Alison Levitt, QC, Principal Legal Advisor to the Director of Public Prosecutions, oversees CPS decision making and all potential prosecutions in relation to the ongoing phone hacking investigations and other related matters.

Ms Levitt said: "This statement is made in the interests of transparency and accountability to explain the decisions reached in respect of cases arising from Operation Elveden, which is the Metropolitan Police's investigation into allegations involving the unlawful provision of information by public officials to journalists.

"This announcement relates to a file of evidence received from the Metropolitan Police Service. The investigation in this case was overseen by the Independent Police Complaints Commission. A charging file in respect of this matter was received by the CPS on 17 December 2012.

"We have concluded, following a careful review of the evidence, that former Metropolitan Police Service police constable, Paul Flattley, and Virginia Wheeler, a journalist at The Sun newspaper, should be charged with conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.

"It is alleged that between 25 May 2008 and 13 September 2011 Flattley, who at the time was a serving police constable with the Metropolitan Police Service, was paid at least £4,000 (in the form of cheques) and £2,450 (in cash) by The Sun newspaper in exchange for information provided in breach of the terms of his employment.

"The information provided included information about the tragic death of a 15-year-old girl, as well as details about both suspects and victims of accidents, incidents and crimes. This included, but was not limited to, information about high profile individuals and those associated with them.

"All of these matters were considered carefully in accordance with the DPP's guidelines on the public interest in cases affecting the media. This guidance asks prosecutors to consider whether the public interest served by the conduct in question outweighs the overall criminality before bringing criminal proceedings.

"Accordingly, we have authorised the institution of proceedings and both individuals will appear before Westminster Magistrates' Court on a date to be determined.

"May I remind all concerned that proceedings for a criminal offence involving these two individuals will now be commenced and that each has a right to a fair trial. It is very important that nothing is said, or reported, which could prejudice that trial. For these reasons it would be inappropriate for me to comment further."

The full charge is as follows:

Virginia Wheeler and Paul Flattley

Virginia Wheeler and Paul Flattley, between 25 May 2008 and 13 September 2011, conspired together to commit misconduct in public office.

Contrary to s.1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977

Ends