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Operation Elveden: CPS Charging Decision

20/03/2013

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 received from the Metropolitan Police Service. The full file of evidence was received by the CPS on 4 March 2013.

"We have concluded, following a careful review of the evidence, that Geoff Webster, who at the time of the alleged offending was Deputy Editor of The Sun newspaper, should be charged with two offences of conspiring to commit misconduct in public office, contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977.

"The first offence relates to allegations that Mr Webster, between July 2010 and August 2011, authorised payments totalling £6,500 for information supplied by a public official to one of his journalists.

"The second offence relates to an allegation that in November 2010, Mr Webster authorised a payment of £1,500 for information provided by an unknown public official.

"All of these matters 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.

"Accordingly, we have authorised the institution of proceedings and Mr Webster will appear before Westminster Magistrates' Court on 26 March 2013.

"May I remind all concerned that proceedings for a criminal offence involving Mr Webster will now be commenced and that he 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 charges are as follows:

1. Between 4 July 2010 and 12 August 2011, conspired together with a public official, a journalist and others unknown to commit misconduct in a public office. Contrary to section 1(1) Criminal Law Act 1977

2. Between 3 and 6 November 2010, conspired together with a person or persons unknown to commit misconduct in a public office. Contrary to section 1(1) Criminal Law Act 1977

Ends

Notes to Editors

  1. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906; Out of Hours Pager 07699 781 926
  2. The DPP has set out what the public can expect from the CPS in the Core Quality Standards document published in March 2010.
  3. The CPS consists of 13 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). In addition, there are three specialised national divisions: Central Fraud Division, Special Crime and Counter Terrorism, and Organised Crime. In 2011-2012, The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Department of Health (DoH) prosecution functions were transferred to the CPS. A telephone service, CPS Direct, provides out-of-hours advice and decisions to police officers across England and Wales.
  4. In 2010-2011 the CPS employed around 7,745 people and prosecuted 957,881 cases with 116,898 of these in the Crown Court, and the remaining 840,983 in the magistrates' courts. Of those we prosecuted, 93,106 defendants were convicted in the Crown Court and 727,491 in the magistrates' courts. In total 86% of cases prosecuted resulted in a conviction. Further information can be found on the CPS website.
  5. The CPS, together with ACPO and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media. This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests. Read the Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media.