Sun reporter Vince Soodin faces retrial after Old Bailey jury fails to reach verdict

An Old Bailey jury has been dismissed after they failed to agree on a verdict in the case against Sun reporter Vince Soodin.

Soodin, 39, of Greenwich (pictured above: PA), was arrested in August 2012 and has spent a week in the dock at London's central criminal court.

He was accused of conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office after The Sun paid a police officer £500 for a story tip. The prosecution has asked for a retrial.

The judge had earlier indicated he was willing to accept a 10:2 majority verdict by the jury, but none was reached.

The jury asked for guidance on the definitiion of conspiracy and on the judge's use of the term "a meeting of minds". The judge said that for there to be a conspiracy to break the law the jury had to decide that there was an "agreement" between the pair.

The judge had earlier given direction that the first, unsolicited, contacted between Bowes and Soodin, for which the £500 payment was made, was not enough for the conspiracy charge to stick. The jury had to agree that there was an ongoing illegal arrangement between the pair.

Soodin's defence had described it as "rather odd" that he was the only person charged with conspiracy in the case. But the judge said that there did not need to be other charged conspirators.

The court heard how Sergeant James Bowes, 31, received £500 after he contacted the tabloid about a fox attacking a three-year-old boy at a school in Brighton in June 2010.

Using the fake name Mike, he told the newspaper in an email that he wanted to be anonymous because he worked for Sussex Police and that he wanted to be paid for the story.

Soodin replied by saying The Sun was "happy to pay for this exclusive", the court heard.

The following month, the officer texted Soodin about police searches in the city for victims of serial killer Peter Tobin, which led to a story about the murderer's wife being banned from the cellar, the court heard.

He also gave Soodin details for a potential follow-up story about a clairvoyant contacting the force about a dream she had about the Tobin investigation. Bowes did not receive payment for any of the Tobin tips.

Prosecutor Peter Wright QC told jurors that Soodin's initial response to Bowes was clear evidence of an agreement between them.

But when he gave evidence in the trial, the journalist said he was just reeling off a "stock response" and he did not enter into a conspiracy with Bowes, who has previously admitted misconduct in a public office.

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