UK tabloid journalist charged over police bribes

The journalist and an officer were charged with conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office


Associated Press

LONDON — The defense editor of Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid The Sun and a former police officer have been charged in connection with the bribing of public officials for information, British prosecutors said Tuesday.

The Crown Prosecution Service said journalist Virginia Wheeler and Constable Paul Flattley were charged with conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office.

Prosecutors claim that Flattley was paid at least 6,450 pounds ($10,225) between 2008 and 2011 for information on "accidents, incidents and crimes."

Alison Levitt, legal advisor to the Director of Public Prosecutions, said "the information provided included information about the tragic death of a 15-year-old girl, as well as details about both suspects and victims of accidents, incidents and crimes."

She said some of the information was about "high profile individuals and those associated with them."

The bribery probe is running alongside investigations into phone hacking and computer hacking sparked by revelations that reporters at Murdoch's now-shuttered News of the World routinely intercepted voicemails of those in the public eye.

Almost 100 people have been arrested and about 20 charged over the scandal, including journalists, police officers, former Murdoch executive Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, Prime Minister David Cameron's former communications chief.

Brooks is accused along with another Sun journalist of conspiring to pay a defense official about 100,000 pounds ($160,000) for information.

One person has been convicted — a senior detective found guilty this month of trying to pass police information to the News of the World.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press

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