Sun six trial told that News Corp gave evidence on journalists to police to stop corporate prosecution

The Sun six conspiracy trial was told yesterday that News Corp handed evidence about journalists over to the police in order to save the company itself from a corporate prosecution.

And it also heard evidence that in 2006 a memo was sent to Sun staff saying that all cash payments had to be authorised by then editor Rebekah Wade (now Brooks).

Sun journalists Jamie Pyatt, Chris Pharo, Ben O'Driscoll,  Graham Dudman, John Troup and John Edwards are accused of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office by paying public officials for confidential information between 2002 and 2011.

Yesterday the trial heard evidence from Satindar Dogra, a partner with Linklaters global law firm.

Linklaters, along with Pricewaterhouse Coopers, facilitated the supplying of documents from News Corporation to the police during initial police investigations following the 2011 Milly Dowler affair.

Dogra said he would be able to state whether individual documents were handed over voluntarily to the police, or whether they were pursuant to a specific request from the police.

Nigel Rumfitt QC, for Pharo, referred to the Managing Standards Committee (MSC), set up by News Corporation in the wake of the Dowler affair to root out alleged illegal activity at News International.

Its members included a baroness and Will Lewis, former editor of the Daily Telegraph, during the period where the paper paid a public official for a CD relating to MPs' expenses.

Dogra said Linklaters' client was the Managing Standards Commitee of News Corporation, rather than News International or News Corporation itself.

Rumfitt presented Dogra with minutes from a meeting between police officers and the MSC in 2011, which suggested the idea of a corporate charge being brought against News Corporation was discussed.

"I am suggesting that the Managing Standards Committee was sending material [to the police] about its own staff to forestall a corporate charge against itself," Rumfitt said.

Dogra said that he wasn't in a position to comment.

"In the spring of 2012 News Corporation was told it was indeed a corporate suspect – and remains so today," Rumfitt went on.

He added that News Corporation had acted out of fear that the conglomerate, or the "Rupert Murdoch business" in Mr Rumfitt's words, would find itself in the dock.

"The police interest in particular documents came about in the first place from information provided by the MSC," Rumfitt said.

Oliver Blunt QC, for Dudman, asked Dogra whether one of the emails Linklaters provided the police was one sent by Dudman to a number of Sun colleagues in February 2006.

The email reportedly said that no cash payments could be made without Rebekah Brooks' written approval.

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