Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Sun chief facing payments charges

The Sun's deputy editor has been charged as part of Operation Elveden

The deputy editor of the Sun is to be charged with allegedly authorising payments to public officials for information, prosecutors have said.

Geoff Webster is accused of two counts of misconduct in public office in 2010 and 2011.

The first charge alleges that he authorised payments of £6,500 to a public official between July 2010 and August 2011, and the second that he authorised another payment of £1,500 in November 2010 to another "unknown" official.

Alison Levitt QC, principal legal adviser to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), said: "We have concluded, following a careful review of the evidence, that Geoff Webster, who at the time of the alleged offending was deputy editor of the Sun newspaper, should be charged with two offences of conspiring to commit misconduct in public office, contrary to Section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977.

"The first offence relates to allegations that Mr Webster, between July 2010 and August 2011, authorised payments totalling £6,500 for information supplied by a public official to one of his journalists.

"The second offence relates to an allegation that, in November 2010, Mr Webster authorised a payment of £1,500 for information provided by an unknown public official."

Webster will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on March 26.

The official in the first charge cannot be identified for legal reasons, and the second was unidentified but is understood to have been either a member of the Armed Forces or a Ministry of Defence employee.

So far 61 people have been arrested under Operation Elveden, Scotland Yard's investigation into alleged inappropriate payments to public officials.

Of these, 12 including Webster have or will face court action. The cases involve four former police officers, six journalists and two other public officials.

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