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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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Operation Elveden: CPS decides Fergus Shanahan will face prosecution

18/04/2013

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 from the Metropolitan Police Service that was received by the CPS on 4 March 2013.

"Following a careful review of the evidence, we have concluded that Fergus Shanahan, who served as an Editor at the Sun newspaper, should be charged with an offence of conspiring to commit misconduct in public office.

"It is alleged that in August 2006 and August 2007 Mr Shanahan, in his role as an editor, authorised one of his journalists to make two payments totalling £7,000 to a public official for the disclosure of information.

"Our decision to prosecute was 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 Shanahan will appear before Westminster Magistrates' Court on 8 May 2013.

"May I remind all concerned that proceedings for a criminal offence involving Mr Shanahan 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:

Fergus Shanahan, between 7 August 2006 and 14 August 2007, conspired with a public official and a journalist to commit misconduct in a public office.

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.