No bail curbs to stop return of arrested Sun journalists

The ten arrested Sun journalists will not be prevented from returning to work by their bail conditions, Press Gazette has learned.

Tom Watson MP today sent a letter to the Met Police suggesting that the terms of police bail imposed on the ten Sun journalists arrested as part of a police bribes inquiry would stop them returning to work.

Last week News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch said the company would do ‘everything we can to assist those who are arrested” and lifted all suspensions on Sun employees, noting that ‘everyone is innocent until proven otherwise”.

In his letter to the Met Watson said: ‘We are all keen to see good journalists employed in the conduct of excellent public interest reporting.

‘I do not want to see Mr Murdoch’s actions undermine your investigation though. Mr Murdoch must not be aware of the terms of the bail that was awarded to his employees. The ‘no contact’ terms were there for a reason.

‘Are you satisfied that vital evidence will be secure as a result of Mr Murdoch’s actions?”

He added: ‘It seems remarkable that the people being investigated of such serious crimes should be put in a position that makes it impossible to determine whether bail terms have been breached.”

But a source at News International told Press Gazette there was no possibility of a breach because ‘there are no bail conditions attached to those arrested from The Sun”.

Nine present and former journalists have been arrested on suspicion of illegal payments to police this year: deputy editor Geoff Webster, chief reporter John Kay, picture editor John Edwards, chief foreign correspondent Nick Parker, news editor John Sturgis, head of news Chris Pharo, crime correspondent Mike Sullivan, former managing editor Graham Dudman and former deputy editor Fergus Shanahan. Sun district reporter Jamie Pyatt was arrested in November as part of the same investigation.

All those arrested, and released on police bail, have been suspended from work.

The Met said it was unable to comment on bail conditions.

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