News UK chief executive Mike Darcey has paid tribute to two colleagues who were today told they face trial over alleged payments to public officials.
News UK editorial development director Graham Dudman and Sun online news editor Vince Soodin were charged alongside former Sun East Anglia district reporter John Troup and former Daily Mirror journalist Greig Box-Turnbull.
According to the Crown Prosecution Service it is alleged that Dudman “requested the authorisation of payments of £3,000 to one or more police officers in exchange for information relating to ongoing police investigations” when he was managing editor of The Sun. It is also claimed that between 2002 and 2007 he authorised payments to public officials relating to stories about Broadmoor, a hospital and the army.
It is also alleged that he authorised a payment by Troup for information about the death of a prison inmate.
Soodin has been charged with paying £500 to a police officer for information which included contact details for witnesses.
In an email to staff Darcey said today: “I am extremely disappointed to have to share the news that Graham Dudman, editorial development director of Newsroom 360 [News UK’s new content management system], and Vince Soodin, Sun Online news editor, have been charged by the CPS in connection with Operation Elveden…
“Graham has been a valued and distinguished member of staff for more than 20 years and is highly regarded by all who work with him. Since his first shift on The Sun as a news reporter he has been a key figure for the paper, working in a variety of roles, including almost seven years as managing editor.
“Vince has worked on The Sun since 2002, starting out as an online reporter before being promoted to online news editor.
“In testament to their character and perseverance, Graham and Vince have continued to work tirelessly during a deeply stressful and lengthy period on bail.
“Graham has been a driving force behind the Digital Leaders Programme and established The Sun Sports Diversity in Journalism Scholarship. He has also been instrumental in the success of the News UK Graduate Programme.
“Vince has been a key figure in the recent launch of The Sun website as a fully paid-for proposition, a landmark event for the title. He has helped transform the news gathering operation online and has been at the forefront of The Sun’s foray into social media.
“We will continue to support both our colleagues in every way we can and, as ever, we will not prejudge the outcome. Our thoughts are very much with them and their families during this incredibly tough time.
“My thanks to all of you on The Sun for your ongoing efforts, producing such a brilliant paper against the backdrop of such challenges.”
The latest charges bring to 13 the number of Sun journalists charged in connection with allegedly corrupt payments to public officials.
Dudman said in a statement: "It is a sad day when journalists – whether from tabloids, broadsheets, broadcasters or websites – are prosecuted for reporting the truth.
"Since my arrest in a dawn raid in front of my wife and two young children 19 months ago, I have received wonderful support from my family, friends and colleagues for which I am enormously grateful. I am proud to have worked at News International and News UK for 23 years and now look forward to working with my brilliant legal team of Mark Abbott, David Miller and Oliver Blunt QC to vigorously defend all charges against me."
News UK chairman Rupert Murdoch told a meeting of around 20 Sun arrested journalists in March this year that the company would stand by them, even if they were convicted and sent to prison.
Box-Turnbull was a reporter for the Daily Mirror from 2004 to March 2012. He was arrested in July 2012.