New former prison officer faces trial over dealings with journalists

A former prison officer from Bury St Edmunds has become the latest to be charged under the high-profile Operation Elveden investigation into newspapers' dealings with public officials.

Amanda Watts, who worked at HMP Highpoint in Newmarket, is accused of misconduct in public office between 16 September and 1 November 2010.

The 43-year-old will make her first appearance before Westminster Magistrates' Court on 7 September, Scotland Yard said.

Senior Crown Prosecution Service lawyer Gregor McGill said: "The CPS has authorised the police to charge Amanda Watts, a former prison officer, with misconduct in public office.

"This decision was taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors, the Guidelines for Prosecutors on Assessing the Public Interest in Cases Affecting the Media and the Additional Guidance on Cases Involving Payments made to Corrupt Public Officials by Journalists.

"We have decided that there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and that a prosecution is in the public interest."

HMP Highpoint is a Category C men's prison in Stradishall, Newmarket, which has an operational capacity of 1,323.

So far some 27 public officials have been convicted of misconduct in a public office offences under Operation Elveden after giving information to journalists, with many of them jailed.

Pic: Google Streetview.

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