Sun executive editor Fergus Shanahan charged with authorising £7k payments to public official

Sun executive editor Fergus Shanahan has been charged with authorising two payments to a public official totalling £7,000.

The news that he will face trial comes some 15 months after he was first arrested and questioned by police.

He is one of at least 22 serving and former Sun journalists arrested in the last 18 months.

Most are still on bail, although there was good news for the paper’s crime editor Mike Sullivan who was told earlier this month that he won’t face charges.

Shanahan is charged with conspiring with a public official and a journalist to commit misconduct in a public office between 7 August 2006 and 14 August 2007.

Here is the statement from Alison Levitt QC,  Principal Legal Advisor to the Director of Public Prosecutions:

"This statement is made in the interests of transparency and accountability to explain the decisions reached in respect of cases arising from Operation Elveden, which is the Metropolitan Police Service investigation into allegations involving the unlawful provision of information by public officials to journalists.

"This announcement relates to a file of evidence from the Metropolitan Police Service that was received by the CPS on 4 March 2013.

"Following a careful review of the evidence, we have concluded that Fergus Shanahan, who served as an editor at the Sun newspaper, should be charged with an offence of conspiring to commit misconduct in public office.

"It is alleged that in August 2006 and August 2007 Mr Shanahan, in his role as an editor, authorised one of his journalists to make two payments totalling £7,000 to a public official for the disclosure of information.

"Our decision to prosecute was considered carefully in accordance with the DPP's guidelines on the public interest in cases affecting the media. These guidelines require prosecutors to consider whether the public interest served by the conduct in question outweighs the overall criminality before bringing criminal proceedings.

"Accordingly, we have authorised the institution of proceedings and Mr Shanahan will appear before Westminster Magistrates' Court on 8 May 2013.

"May I remind all concerned that proceedings for a criminal offence involving Mr Shanahan will now be commenced and that he has a right to a fair trial. It is very important that nothing is said, or reported, which could prejudice that trial. For these reasons it would be inappropriate for me to comment further."

Shanahan will join Sun colleagues deputy editor Geoff Webster, chief reporter John Kay and defence editor Virginia Wheeler who are also to face trial. They have also been charged with offences relating to misconduct in a public office.

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