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Operation Elveden: Sun journalist Nick Parker and prison officer Lee Brockhouse to be charged - UPDATED

18/06/2013

Please see an update to the statement below: the first court date has now moved from 11 to 18 July.

Gregor McGill, a senior lawyer with the Crown Prosecution Service, whose team handles CPS decision making and potential prosecutions in relation to the ongoing phone hacking investigations and other related matters, 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 from the Metropolitan Police Service that was received by the CPS on 6 June 2013.

"Following a careful review of the evidence, we have concluded that Nick Parker, a journalist at The Sun newspaper, should be charged with three counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office.

"We have also concluded that Lee Brockhouse, a prison officer at HMP Swaleside, should be charged with one count of misconduct in a public office and one count of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.

"It is alleged that on two occasions The Sun newspaper paid money to a public official in exchange for the unauthorised disclosure of information to Nick Parker relating to well-known individuals.

"It is also alleged that between 23 April 2007 and 27 October 2009, The Sun newspaper paid £1,750 to prison officer Lee Brockhouse for the unauthorised disclosure of information to Nick Parker.

"Additionally, it is alleged that Lee Brockhouse provided similar information to The People newspaper, for which he was paid £900.

"It is alleged that information provided by Lee Brockhouse included that relating to the movement of prisoners, prison procedures and methods used by prisoners to smuggle items into prison.

"The CPS has also determined, having carefully reviewed all the evidence in a file relating to these allegations and concerning one journalist, received from the Metropolitan Police on 22 May 2013, that no further action should be taken in relation to allegations of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office against this suspect.

"Due to ongoing proceedings it would be inappropriate to say any more at this stage. At the conclusion of any related proceedings we will consider what more can be made public in relation to this decision.

"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 against Nick Parker and Lee Brockhouse and both individuals will appear before Westminster Magistrates' Court on 18 July 2013.

"May I remind all concerned that proceedings for criminal offences 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 charges are as follows:

NICK PARKER, between 26 March and 3 April 2009, conspired together with a public official, namely a police officer, to commit misconduct in a public office

Contrary to section 1(1) Criminal Law Act 1977

NICK PARKER, between 2 and 7 December 2009, conspired together with a public official, namely a police officer, to commit misconduct in a public office

Contrary to section 1(1) Criminal Law Act 1977

Between 23 April 2007 and 27 October 2009, NICK PARKER and LEE BROCKHOUSE conspired together to commit misconduct in a public office

Contrary to section 1(1) Criminal Law Act 1977

Between 1 February 2009 and 3 June 2011, LEE BROCKHOUSE, whilst acting as a public officer, namely a prison officer at Her Majesty's Prison, Swaleside, wilfully and without reasonable excuse or justification misconducted himself

Contrary to common law.

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.