Scotland Yard Officer Defends Herself as Phone Hacking-Related Trial Starts

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LONDON - A Scotland Yard detective here has defended herself against accusations that she offered to sell confidential police information to the shuttered News of the World tabloid of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

On Monday, the first day of her trial, the detective, April Casburn, was accused of calling a reporter for the News of the World in Sept. 2010 and sharing details of a then-new probe into accusations of phone hacking by the paper.

She said that she called the paper, because she was concerned about a decision to divert resources from counter terrorism initiatives to the News Corp. phone hacking investigation, the Guardian reported.

She also said she was concerned about her boss' "intrusive" style of management and her work environment, mentioning that she did not have her own office for two years, even though people under her command did.

The day also included appearances from representatives of Scotland Yard, which is officially known as the London Metropolitan Police. Casburn at one point broke down in tears while her manager gave evidence, leading to a brief break, according to the Guardian.

It said that in his testimony, Dean Haydon, the senior officer on a probe set up following phone hacking reports, challenged Casburn's explanation of her motives. He denied that the work he needed help with from Casburn's team would have drained resources from counter-terrorism operations.

An estimated 180 police officials worked on various aspects of the phone hacking investigations. Some have said that makes it the most extensive in Scotland Yard's history.

The court on Monday heard that the call to the News of the World did not lead to a story in the tabloid, and she received no payment. The reporter she had called has said she demanded money, but Casburn has denied that.

Casburn's trial is just one tied to the phone hacking scandal scheduled for this year.

The most prominent other people facing trials this year are Andy Coulson, the former News of the World editor who later served as communications director for British Prime Minister David Cameron, and Rebekah Brooks, the former editor of the News of the World and The Sun, as well as CEO of News Corp.'s U.K. newspaper unit News International.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai

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