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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.

Find out more about private prosecutions

Operation Elveden: CPS charging decision


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.

"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 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 1 March 2013.

"We have concluded, following a careful review of the evidence, that James Bowes, who is a former Police Sergeant with the Neighbourhood Policing team of Sussex Police, should be charged with an offence of misconduct in public office.

"It is alleged that in 2010 Mr Bowes provided information to The Sun newspaper in breach of the terms of his employment and was paid £500.

"The charge relates to allegations that Mr Bowes provided details to the newspaper about three high profile investigations being conducted by Sussex Police at the time.

"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 Bowes will appear before Westminster Magistrates' Court on 26 March 2013. 

"May I remind all concerned that proceedings for a criminal offence involving Mr Bowes 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 charge is as follows:

"Between 9 April and 20 July 2010, James Bowes, being a public officer, namely a police constable with Sussex Police, and acting as a such, without reasonable excuse or justification, wilfully misconducted himself to such a degree as to amount to an abuse of the public's trust in that office."