Fleet Street appeal launched to fund defence of journalist facing criminal prosecution

Fleet Street journalists have launched an appeal for a colleague who is facing financial hardship as a result of a criminal prosecution.

The female journalist cannot be named for legal reasons, but the prosecution has come about as a result of actions undertaken in the course of her job.

Press Gazette understands that she has a young family to support and is currently unemployed and unable to work because of the time spent involved in fighting the case (she denies breaking the law).

She is not getting financial help from her former employer so needs to find an initial sum of £11,000 to fund her legal aid contribution which must be paid within a month.

She also needs help to cover basic living expenses when she stops part-time work during the period that she is on trial.

At least 63 UK journalists have been arrested over the last three years on suspicion of breaking the law in the course of their work.

Many have faced extended periods on police bail with some facing a gap of three years between arrest and trial.

Last week an Old Bailey jury failed to reach a verdict in the case of Sun reporter Vince Soodin who was accused of arranging a payment of £500 for a police officer who tipped the paper off about a child being attacked by a fox at a Brighton school.

He remains suspended from his job pending the outcome of a retrial next year.

Former Sun journalist Ben Ashford was cleared by a jury in August two years after his arrest on suspicion of illegally accessing information on a mobile phone. He lost his job on Mail Online as a result of his arrest and is now working for a news agency on a fraction of his former salary.

Press Gazette understands that the case of the journalist at the centre of this appeal has generated huge sympathy from former colleagues who have resolved to help fund her defence.

The Crime Reporters Association  invited those who would like to contribute to this journalist's defence fund to make payments into its bank account.

The appeal is now closed.

Comment:

While it is difficult to go into any details about this case, it is clear that many journalists have now faced an ordeal at the hands of the police and judiciary which far outweighs any alleged wrong they have done. Some were simply doing their jobs. Having been told the background of this case Press Gazette is happy to support the Crime Reporters Association appeal for a journalist who appears to be highly deserving of the support of colleagues.

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