Sunday Mirror's Justin Penrose cleared a year after arrest: 'There wasn't any evidence...I am innocent'

Sunday Mirror crime reporter Justin Penrose has been cleared by the Crown Prosecution Service a year after being arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to cause misconduct in public office.

He was arrested in a 6am raid on his home on 11 July last year, the same day that Daily Star Sunday deputy editor Tom Savage was arrested.

The CPS revealed yesterday that Savage and former News of the World crime editor Lucy Panton would both be charged with one count of conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office. This relates to alleged payments to a prison officer at HMP Woodhill.

The CPS also said yesterday that no further action will be taken against one unnamed journalist from the Mirror Group because “there is insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction in relation to this matter”.

Sunday Mirror crime correspondent Justin Penrose said last night on Twitter: “After a year of being on bail I have finally been told the police are taking no further action against me.

“I always knew I would be vindicated but this year has been the most difficult and stressful of my career.

“I would like to thank my girlfriend Jess, family, friends and colleagues for their support over the past 12 months.

“And my thoughts go out to my friends and colleagues on other newspapers who are still going through the ordeal.

“There wasn't any evidence. Considering I am innocent I could have told them that a year ago.”

The CPS said yesterday that no further action would be taken against another unnamed journalist.

It said: "On April 16 2013, the CPS received a file relating to allegations of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office against one journalist and three public officials. After carefully reviewing the file it was determined that there was insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and that no further action should be taken in relation to these allegations.

"Due to ongoing proceedings in Operation Elveden it would be inappropriate to say any more at this stage."

It was also revealed yesterday by the CPS that Sun head of news Chris Pharo will face trial over allegedly authorising payments to prison and police force employees and army officers.

Penrose is the 11th journalist involved in the police hacking and bribes probes to go through the ordeal of arrest and a lengthy period on police bail only to have no charges brought against them. So far 19 journalists have been charged in relation to phone-hacking and allegedly illegal payments, with 18 to face trial (charges were dropped against The Sun's Virginia Wheeler on health grounds).

The following other journalists have been cleared after being arrested by police on suspicion of involvement in phone-hacking or illegal payments:  

  • Freelance journalist Terenia Taras was arrested on 23 June 2011 on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications and cleared in July 2012
     
  • Press Association Royal Correspondent Laura Elston was arrested on 27 June 20111 on suspicion of intercepting communications and cleared on 18 July 2011
     
  • Former News of the World executive editor Neil Wallis was arrested on 14 July 2011 on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications and cleared on 22 February 2013
     
  • Former US reporter for the News of the World  James Desborough was arrested on 18 August 2011 on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications and cleared in March 2012
     
  • Former News of the World reporter Ross Hall was arrested on 2 September 2011 on suspicion of conspiracy to intercept voicemail messages and attempting to pervert the course of justice. He was cleared in July 2012
     
  • Former deputy football editor of The Times Raoul Simons was arrested on 7 September 2011 on suspicion of conspiracy to intercept voicemail messages and  cleared in July 2012
     
  • Former News of the World reporter Bethany Usher was arrested on 30 November 2011 on suspicion of intercepting voicemail messages and cleared on 8 December 2011
     
  • Sun Crime editor  Mike Sullivan was arrested on 28 January 2012 on suspicion of corruption, aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office and conspiracy in relation to the two previous offences and was cleared on 2 April 2013
     
  • Sun deputy news editor John Sturgis was arrested on 11 February 2012 on suspicion of corruption, aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office, and conspiracy in relation to both these offences. He was cleared on 18 June 2013.

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