Number of UK journalists arrested since April 2011 rises to at least 61

The arrest of a freelance journalist on Friday means the number of confirmed arrests of UK journalists since April 2011 has risen to 61.

And there are indications that more arrests of journalists are to come.

The latest arrest was of an un-named male freelance journalist, 43, who was subject to a 6.30am raid on his home in Northumberland on Friday morning as part of the Operation Elveden probe into payments to public officials. He was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.

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His arrest followed news the previous day that Daily Mail deputy news editor Ben O’Driscoll had been charged with conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office relating to his time in the same job at The Sun.

He is alleged to have authorised payments of at least £5,000 to public officials, including police officers and employees of Broadmoor hospital, between August 2007 and January 2011.

O’Driscoll was the first journalist charged over the last two years in which his arrest had not previously been revealed by the Met. This is because he had only  been interviewed under caution.

This means Press Gazette’s tally of the number of confirmed UK journalist arrests has now risen from 59 to 61.

Some 26 journalists have now been charged, 12 have been cleared and 23 remain on police bail.

It emerged at the end of July that 34 people have been interviewed under caution by the Met Police as a result of investigations stemming from the hacking scandal (meaning that no public statement has previously been made about their being questioned).

Ben O’Driscoll was one of this number and the fact that he has charged raises the prospect that an unknown number of further individuals in this category could also end up facing trial.

Last week it was revealed that Trinity Mirror is being investigated in its own right as to whether it is “criminally liable for the alleged unlawful conduct by previous employees in relation to phone hacking on the Sunday Mirror”. News UK revealed in August that it is facing a similar investigation.

Of the 61 journalists arrested so far, at least 45 are from News UK titles and at least six have been from Trinity Mirror titles. 

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