U.K. Police Officer Becomes First Person Charged in Tabloid Bribery Probe

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LONDON - Prosecutors here have charged a police officer with leaking information to News Corp.'s now-shuttered tabloid News of the World in what are the first formal charges brought in a probe into alleged bribes by reporters in return for scoops.

The Crown Prosecution Service said late Monday that detective chief inspector April Casburn of the Metropolitan Police Service, also known as Scotland Yard, has been charged with misconduct for handing on information in 2010.

The investigation into bribes, which is known here as Operation Elveden and had previously led to arrests but no charges, is part of broader probes in the wake of the phone hacking scandal. News Corp. has been cooperating with the various investigations.

"We have concluded, having carefully considered the file of evidence, that there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and that it is in the public interest to charge DCI Casburn with misconduct in public office," said Alison Levitt, principal legal advisor to the director of public prosecutions here.

She added that the public official "without reasonable excuse or justification, wilfully misconducted herself to such a degree as to amount to an abuse of the public's trust in that office. This charge relates to an allegation that DCI Casburn contacted the News of the World newspaper and offered to provide information."

Casburn will appear in a London court on Oct. 1.

Meanwhile, former News of the World editor Andy Coulson, who later served as prime minister David Cameron's director of communications, and five other former journalists of the defunct tabloid are scheduled to appear at a London court on Wednesday to face phone hacking charges.

Former News International CEO Rebekah Brooks is also scheduled to appear in court in relation to phone hacking charges and other charges that she conspired with others to pervert the course of justice in the phone hacking investigation.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai

 

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