Elveden unravels: After four years and 34 arrested/charged journalists, one conviction stands

It is nearly four years after the start of Operation Elveden and the subsequent arrest and/or charging of at least 34 journalists.

Today, one journalist conviction stands: that of former Sunday Mirror and News of the World reporter Dan Evans, who pleaded guilty to phone-hacking and paying public officials but avoided jail after giving evidence.

Some 13 journalists were found not guilty by juries after standing trial on the arcane offence of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office.

Seven journalists went through a trial only to find the jury was unable to reach a verdict.

In other cases journalists spent periods on police bail before having the charges dropped either by the police or the Crown Prosecution Service.

The first journalist found guilty, former News of the World crime reporter Lucy Panton, had her conviction thrown out by the Court of Appeal two weeks ago.  

The Crown Prosecution Service says it will not be opposing the appeal of the other convicted journalist – Ryan Sabey, also formerly of the News of the World. This means his conviction also falls down.

Following its review of Operation Elveden, the CPS dropped charges against nine journalists who were awaiting trial on Friday.

Three Sun journalists and one former Mirror journalist were cleared by a jury on Friday after an eight-week trial. The jury could not agree on one charge facing Sun reporter Tom Wells. He will find out this week whether the CPS is going to seek a retrial.

Three Operation Elveden prosecutions against journalists are going ahead: the trial of Sun reporter Anthony France and the retrials of Sun newdesk executive Chris Pharo and Sun district reporter Jamie Pyatt.

Some 28 public officials have been prosecuted under Operation Elveden, with 21 convicted so far.

Two of the journalists who were cleared on Friday spoke to Press Gazette outside the court.

Sun reporter Neil Millard said: “We can’t have a situation in this country were you can unknowingly commit a crime doing what people have done for decades before you in industry custom and practice which is as old as the hills. It makes no sense."

Sun night news editor Brandon Malinsky said: "These charges should never have been brought to court. The police and the Crown Prosecution Service should hang their heads in shame.

"They’ve put honest journalists through hell.

"They need to stop all these prosecutions now and concentrate on arresting real criminal not journalists.

"We have had police officers stood at the back of the court every day for eight weeks watching this. I think the British taxpayer would rather they were out on the streets rather than trying to convict honest journalists. .

“For the sake of my colleagues they need to stop the outstanding Operation Elveden prosecutions.”

Full list of the journalists arrested and/or charged under Operation Elveden

Andy Coulson (pictured), former editor of News of the World and ex-Downing Street communications director

Arrested on 8 July 2011 on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications and in relation to alleged illegal payments to police officers.

Charged on 20 November 2012 with two counts of conspiracy relating to request and authorisation of alleged payments to public officials.

Jury could not reach a decision. Charges dropped by CPS on Friday, 17 April, following review.

Clive Goodman, former royal editor at News of the World

Arrested on 8 July 2011 in connection with alleged illegal payments to police.

Charged on 20 November 2012 with two counts of conspiracy relating to the request and authorisation of alleged payments to public officials.

Jury could not reach a decision. Charges dropped by CPS on Friday, 17 April, following review.

Rebekah Brooks, former News International chief executive

Arrested on 17 July 2011 in relation to phone-hacking and illegal payments to police.

Charged on 20 November 2012 with conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.

Found not guilty by a jury.

Dan Evans, former News of the World and Sunday Mirror journalist

Arrested on 19 August 2011. Charged with phone-hacking in September 2013. Pleaded guilty at trial to phone-hacking, conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Stuart Kuttner, former managing editor of News of the World

Arrested on 2 August 2011 on suspicion of phone-hacking and making payments to police. He was only charged with phone-hacking and found not guilty by a jury.

Jamie Pyatt, reporter at The Sun

Arrested on 4 November 2011 in connection with allegations of inappropriate payments to police.

Charged on 21 June 2013. Jury failed to reach a verdict at Kingston Crown Court earlier this year. Facing retrial.

Lucy Panton, former crime editor of News of the World

Arrested on 15 December 2011 as part of an investigation into alleged payments to police officers.

Charged on 8 July 2013 with conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office. Found guilty by a jury, but conviction quashed on appeal. A second charge against her was dropped by the CPS on 17 April following a review.

Mike Sullivan, crime editor of The Sun

Arrested on 28 January 2012 on suspicion of corruption, aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office and conspiracy in relation to the two previous offences.

Cleared on 2 April 2013.

Graham Dudman, former managing editor of The Sun

Arrested on 28 January 2012 on suspicion of corruption, aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office and conspiracy in relation to the two previous offences.

Charged on 20 August 2013. Found not guilty of one charge, had another charge dismissed but faced a retrial after jury failed to agree a verdict on two further charges. Cleared after CPS review on 17 April 2015.

Fergus Shanahan, executive editor of The Sun

Arrested on 28 January 2012 on suspicion of corruption, aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office and conspiracy.

Charged on 18 April 2013 with conspiring with a public official and a journalist to commit misconduct in a public office between 7 August 2006 and 14 August 2007. Found not guilty by a jury.

Chris Pharo, news desk executive of The Sun

Arrested on 28 January 2012 on suspicion of corruption, aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office and conspiracy in relation to the two previous offences.

Charged on 8 July 2013 with conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office. Jury failed to agree a verdict, facing a retrial.

Geoff Webster, associate editor of The Sun

Arrested on 11 February 2012 on suspicion of corruption, aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office, and conspiracy in relation to both these offences.

Charged on 20 March 2013 with authorising payments to public officials for information. Found not guilty by a jury.

John Kay (pictured), chief reporter at The Sun

Arrested on11 February 2012 on suspicion of corruption, aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office, and conspiracy in relation to both these offences.

Charged on 20 November, 2012, with conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office. Found not guilty by a jury.

John Edwards, picture editor at The Sun

Arrested on 11 February 2012 on suspicion of corruption, aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office, and conspiracy in relation to both these offences.

Charged on 21 June 2013. Found not guilty by a jury.

Nick Parker, chief foreign correspondent at The Sun

Arrested on 11 February 2012 on suspicion of corruption, aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office, and conspiracy.

Charged on 18 June 2013 with conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office. Found not guilty by a jury (but convicted of ‘handling’ a stolen phone which was handed in to the paper).

John Sturgis, deputy news editor at The Sun

Arrested on 11 February 2012 on suspicion of corruption, aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office, and conspiracy in relation to both these offences

Cleared by the CPS on 18 June 2013

Virginia Wheeler, defence editor of The Sun

Arrested on 1 March 2012 on suspicion of corruption under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906 and aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office and conspiracy.

Charged  on 22 January 2013 with conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.

Charges dropped on 5 June 2013 on health grounds.

Duncan Larcombe, royal editor of The Sun

Arrested on 19 April 2012 on suspicion of conspiracy to corrupt and conspiracy to cause misconduct in a public office.

Charged on 24 April 2013 with making payments to a soldier and his wife. Found not guilty by a jury.

Former Sun East Anglia district reporter John Troup, 47, of Saffron Walden

Interviewed under caution on 21 May 2013

Charged on 20 August 2013 with conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office. Found not guilty by a jury

Sun Whitehall editor Clodagh Hartley

Arrested on 25 May 2012 on suspicion of conspiracy to corrupt under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906, suspicion of conspiracy to cause misconduct in a public office, contrary to common law and suspicion of bribery, contrary to the Bribery Act 2010

Charged on 14 May 2013 along with two others with conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office. Found not guilty by a jury.

Neil Millard, reporter at The Sun

Arrested on 14 June 2012 on suspicion of corruption

Charged on 26 February 2014 with conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office. Found not guilty by a jury.

Greig Box-Turnbull, former Daily Mirror journalist

Arrested on 4 July 2012 on suspicion of corruption, conspiracy to commit bribery and conspiracy to cause misconduct in a public office. Charges against him dropped after a review by the CPS on 18 April.

Charged on 20 August 2013

Justin Penrose, Sunday Mirror crime correspondent

Arrested on 11 July 2012 on suspicion of conspiracy to cause misconduct in a public office.

Cleared by the CPS on 8 July 2013

Tom Savage, deputy news editor of the Daily Star Sunday

Arrested on 11 July 2012 on suspicion to corrupt and of conspiracy to cause misconduct in a public office.

Charged on 8 July 2013 with conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office. Found not guilty by a jury.

Vince Soodin, Sun reporter

Arrested on 8 August 2012 over the suspected bribery of a police officer

Charged on 20 August. Jury failed to agree a verdict. Cleared by CPS after a review on 17 April.

Former Sun South West reporter John Coles

Arrested on 19 September 2012 on suspicion of conspiracy to corrupt and conspiracy to cause misconduct in a public office.

Cleared on 23 April after police said they would be taking no further action.

Sun reporter Tom Wells

Arrested on 19 September 2012 on suspicion of conspiracy to corrupt and conspiracy to cause misconduct in a public office.

Charged on 26 February 2014. Cleared of two charges by a jury which failed to agree a verdict on a third. Awaiting a decision from the CPS on whether it will see a retrial.

38-year-old journalist from Sussex

Woman arrested on 6 December 2012 on suspicion of conspiracy to corrupt and cause misconduct in a public office. Cleared before facing trial.

Anthony France, crime reporter at The Sun

Arrested in Hertfordshire on 17 January 2013 on suspicion of conspiracy to corrupt and cause misconduct in a public office.

Charged 12 August 2014. Awaiting trial which is due to start on 11 May.

Ben O'Driscoll, Daily Mail deputy news editor (alleged offences related to time at The Sun) 

Charged with conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public on 12 September 2013. Jury failed to agree a verdict earlier this year. Cleared by CPS after a review on 17 April.

43-old-freelance journalist from Northumbria

Arrested on 13 September 2013 on suspicion of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office

Cleared by the CPS

Graham Brough, formerly of the Daily Mirror

Questioned under caution and it was announced on 26 February 2014 that he would face trial for conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office. Found not guilty by a jury.

Brandon Malinsky, news editor of The Sun

Was questioned under caution and it was announced on 26 February that he was to face trial for conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office. Found not guilty by a jury.

Ryan Sabey, of The Sun (formerly News of the World)

Questioned under caution and it was announced on 15 August 2014 that he would face trial for alleged conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office.

Found guilty by a jury but invited to appeal by the Court of Appeal. CPS has now said it will not seek a retrial of Sabey.

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