Sun trial news editor on Brooks: 'She is now back in her job and I'm here answering these questions'

A Sun news editor has told jurors that he is still answering questions about cash-for-stories allegations while his old boss Rebekah Brooks is "back in her job".

Chris Pharo, 46, is on trial at the Old Bailey with district reporter Jamie Pyatt, 52 accused of aiding and abetting a Surrey Police officer to commit misconduct in a public office after the Elveden police investigation.

The court has heard how the officer identified as 2044 was paid around £10,000 for information he gave to Pyatt between 2002 and 2011.

Under cross examination, Pharo repeatedly insisted his only involvement was in valuing stories and then sending cash payment requests up the editorial chain for authorisation.

He told jurors that the whole system of cash payments that had been running for three decades was an "annoyance" to him but if he had tried to change it, he would have lost his job.

On Brooks, who was editor from 2003, he said: "She is now back in her job as chief executive of the company and I'm here answering these questions."

He went on: "I hated the system. It caused me trouble all the time. It made me uncomfortable about the fact there was a lot of cash flying around the office – accusations people were pocketing it."

Asked by prosecutor Julian Christopher QC why he did not just leave, Pharo said: "I always loved The Sun. I loved the newspaper. It's a great place to work. I miss it every day."

Christopher quizzed the defendant on emails from a female journalist asking for payment to a "Chelsea copper" over a four-paragraph story from the Manchester area.

Pharo said journalists often made "lurid claims" about their sources but it was pointless challenging them and in this particular case he would not have "wasted too much time" on it.

Asked if he thought police officers could be legitimate sources in any circumstance, he said: "I did not authorise these payments.

"Personally, I think there are occasions when paying a police officer is legitimate – if the story is dramatically in the public interest, if the police officer hears a piece of gossip in the pub or at a football match or any of those examples. I believe there are legitimate reasons, yes."

On why he did not given his explanation to the police when he was arrested, Pharo said: "We were caught up in some Kafkaesque nightmare involving the police and my company.

"I had never been in trouble with the law. I had found myself being questioned by detectives in Limehouse police station. This whole thing has been a nightmare.

"The only thing I could do at the time was follow the advice of an extremely experienced lawyer. I took his advice."

Pharo, from London, and Pyatt, from Windsor, deny aiding and abetting a Surrey police officer to commit misconduct in a public office between 2002 and 2011.

Comments
No comments to display

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

two × 1 =

CLOSE
CLOSE