The Crown Prosecution Service is scrapping most of the planned trials involving journalists accused of payments to public officials.
The move follows three more tabloid journalists being found not guilty by a jury today.
Nine out of 12 journalists awaiting trial have been told the cases against them are being dropped.
Sun journalists Brandon Malinsky (pictured – PA), 50, Neil Millard, 33, and former Daily Mirror journalist Graham Brough were today cleared of all charges after the jury spent some 42 hours deliberating after an eight-week trial.
The jury also cleared Sun reporter Tom Wells of two charges of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office but failed to reach a verdict on another account. The CPS has been given seven days to decide whether to seek a retrial in his case.
The CPS announced it was scrapping the nine prosecutions following an urgent review prompted when the Court of Appeal quashed the conviction of the first reporter to be found guilty.
The CPS, which authorised 27 journalists to be prosecuted, launched a review of the outstanding cases over Easter after the Lord Chief Justice ruled out a retrial of a former News of the World reporter who can't be named for legals reasons.
Lord Thomas found the jury in the NoW reporter's Old Bailey trial should have been directed that the misconduct had to be particularly serious in order to convict.
He also gave NoW reporter Ryan Sabey – the only other reporter to be found guilty of an Elveden offence – leave to appeal against his conviction.
The nine journalists whose forthcoming cases have been dropped are:
- ex-Mirror reporter Greig Box-Turnbull
- Sun reporter Stephen Moyes
- Sun reporter Vince Soodin
- Former NoW royal editor Clive Goodman
- Former NoW editor Andy Coulson
- Former Sun deputy news editor Ben O'Driscoll
- Former Sun managing editor Graham Dudman
- Former NoW reporter Ryan Sabey
- Former NoW reporter who can't be named – who was due to appear in a second trial.
But the CPS will still go ahead with cases involving six public officials, the wife of a public official and three Sun journalists – head of news Chris Pharo, reporter James Pyatt and crime reporter Anthony France.
The fate of five more journalists who are on bail waiting to hear if they will be charged has yet to be decided.
Some 22 journalists have now stood trial under the ancient common law offence of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office over payments to state employees.
In total, 12 Sun journalists have been found not guilty and the juries failed to agree a verdicts in cases against against eight Sun journalists.
Many of the cleared Sun journalists were this afternoon celebrating a central London pub.
One cleared journalist told Press Gazette: "Everyone is thrilled that it is all over but angry that it has taken all this time. People won't really celebrate until everyone has been cleared."