Operation Elveden: Duncan Larcombe, John Hardy, Claire Hardy and Tracy Bell to be charged
Alison Levitt, QC, Principal Legal Advisor to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), 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 Service investigation into allegations involving the unlawful provision of information by public officials to journalists.
"This announcement relates to a file of evidence from the Metropolitan Police Service received by the CPS on 28 March 2013. The file concerned one journalist, two public officials and two members of the public.
Duncan Larcombe, John Hardy and Claire Hardy
"Following a careful review of the evidence, we have concluded that Duncan Larcombe, John Hardy and Claire Hardy should be charged with a conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.
"Duncan Larcombe was employed as Chief Royal Correspondent at The Sun, John Hardy served as a Colour Sergeant based at the Royal Military Training Academy in Sandhurst and Claire Hardy is his wife.
"It is alleged that from 10 February to 15 October 2008, 34 payments were made to either John Hardy or Claire Hardy totalling over £23,000 for stories relating mainly to the Royal Family or matters at Sandhurst.
"In addition we have concluded that Tracy Bell should be charged with one count of misconduct in public office. Tracy Bell was employed by the Ministry of Defence as a pharmacy assistant at Sandhurst Medical Centre.
"It is alleged that Tracy Bell received £1250 between 17 October 2005 and 7 July 2006 relating to five articles published in The Sun regarding matters at Sandhurst.
"We have also concluded that there is insufficient evidence to charge the second member of the public with any criminal offence.
"All four defendants will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 8 May 2013.
"These decisions were considered carefully in accordance with the DPP's guidelines on the public interest in cases affecting the media. These guidelines require prosecutors to consider whether the public interest served by the conduct in question outweighs the overall criminality before bringing criminal proceedings.
"May I remind all concerned that these defendants have 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 faced by Tracy Bell is as follows:
Between 17 October 2005 and 7 July 2006, whilst acting as a public official, namely a Pharmacy assistant, Tracy Bell wilfully and without reasonable excuse or justification, misconducted herself to such a degree as to amount to an abuse of the public's trust in that office, contrary to Common Law.
The full charge faced by Duncan Larcombe, John Hardy and Claire Hardy is as follows:
Duncan Larcombe, John Hardy and Claire Hardy, between 9 February 2006 and 16 October 2008, conspired together to commit misconduct in public office, contrary to section 1(1) Criminal Law Act 1977.
Notes to Editors
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