Officer 'tried to sell probe info'
Published 07/01/2013 | 12:32
A senior detective committed a "gross breach" of the public's trust by trying to sell information to the News of the World about a phone hacking investigation, jurors have been told.
Detective Chief Inspector April Casburn, 53, is accused of offering the now-defunct tabloid information about Operation Varec, the investigation into whether Scotland Yard's inquiry into phone hacking should be reopened. She is accused of one count of misconduct in public office on September 11, 2010, which she denies.
At that time she was working in counter terrorism, managing the National Terrorist Financial Investigation Unit.
Southwark Crown Court heard that one of her team had been asked to carry out financial investigations as part of the Scotland Yard probe into phone hacking.
It is alleged that she rang the newsdesk of the tabloid at 7.51am that Saturday morning to offer information in exchange for payment. The court was told that she gave the names of two of the people under investigation during the conversation.
Prosecutor Mark Bryant-Heron said: "The prosecution says she sought to undermine a highly sensitive and high profile investigation at the point of its launch.
"The prosecution say, and it's a matter for you 12, that the act of telephoning the News of the World to offer to sell information and the provision of some information during that call was misconduct, it was misconduct in public office.
"It was a gross breach of the trust that the public places in a police officer not to disclose information on a current investigation in an unauthorised way, or to offer to do so in the future for payment."
The newspaper did not publish anything and no payment changed hands, the court heard.
Casburn, from Hatfield Peverel, Essex, admits making the phone call but denies asking for money, and says she had reasonable excuse. She says she was concerned that resources that were supposed to be used to combat terrorism were being allocated to the phone hacking investigation, and that much of the information was already public knowledge.