Operation Elveden: Eight people appear at Old Bailey

Scales of Justice The eight defendants appeared side by side in the dock

Eight people, including the former managing editor of the Sun, have appeared at the Old Bailey in connection with alleged corrupt payments by newspapers.

It is alleged Graham Dudman authorised payments to public officials.

The eight also included an ex-Daily Mirror journalist, a police officer and a prison officer.

The charges were brought under the Metropolitan Police's investigation Operation Elveden.

Operation Elveden is looking into corrupt payments to police and public officials and is being run alongside two other investigations - Operation Weeting, which is looking at alleged phone hacking, and Operation Tuleta, which focuses on computer hacking and other alleged privacy breaches.

Two defendants excused

The eight defendants appeared side by side in the dock and spoke only to confirm their names. Their bail was continued and the case adjourned for a plea and case management hearing on 22 November.

What is Operation Elveden?

  • Met Police inquiry into allegations of inappropriate payments made by journalists to public officials
  • Supervised by Independent Police Complaints Commission
  • Among those arrested include journalists, prison officers, police officers, customs officers and NHS workers
  • Running alongside phone-hacking inquiry Operation Weeting and Operation Tuleta, investigation into computer hacking
  • The three inquiries arose from reports of journalistic misconduct at the now defunct News of the World

Mr Dudman, 50, of Brentwood, Essex, is now an executive at News UK. He has been charged with three counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.

It is alleged that in September 2002 he requested the authorisation of payments of £3,000 to one or more police officers in exchange for information relating to ongoing police investigations.

It is also claimed that between June 2002 and December 2007, Mr Dudman authorised payments to public officials relating to the health of a Broadmoor patient, details of an incident at a hospital and details of an incident relating to army combat.

It is further alleged that he approved a payment requested by John Troup, a former journalist at the Sun, for information relating to the death of a prison inmate.

Mr Troup, 47, of Saffron Walden, Essex, has been charged as a co-conspirator.

He was excused from attending the brief preliminary hearing along with Marc Alexander, a former prison officer at HMP Holloway in north London.

Patient information

Among those who did appear in court on Wednesday was former Sun deputy news editor Ben O'Driscoll, who is alleged to have authorised payments of at least £5,000 to public officials, including police officers and employees of Broadmoor hospital.

Prison officer Grant Pizzey, 47, and his partner Desra Reilly, 51, both from Eltham, south London, are alleged to have received almost £20,000 from former Daily Mirror journalist Greig Box Turnbull for over 40 pieces of information about incidents that took place at HMP Belmarsh, where Mr Pizzey worked.

Mr Box Turnbull, 38, of Morden, Surrey, is also alleged to have paid 38-year-old Mr Alexander, of Port Talbot in south Wales, £2,700 for information on inmates at HMP Holloway.

Mr Box Turnbull faces two charges of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office, with Mr Pizzey, Ms Reilly and Mr Alexander charged as co-conspirators.

Current Sun journalist Vince Soodin, 38, of Greenwich, south-east London, appeared in court charged with conspiring with a police officer to commit misconduct in public office.

It is alleged that, between June 18 and July 20 2010, he paid a police officer £500 in exchange for information including contact details for witnesses in police investigations.

An officer with Wiltshire Police, Darren Jennings, 40, of Harnham, Salisbury, Wiltshire, has been charged with misconduct in public office after he allegedly provided information to the Sun in relation to a police officer who was facing criminal proceedings.

It is alleged that in September 2010, he sought payment of £10,000 in exchange for personal background information about the police officer and other individuals who were in police custody at the time.

Meanwhile, it is claimed that Alan Ostler, a former assistant technical instructor at Broadmoor Hospital in Berkshire, provided information to journalists at the Sun and the Daily Mirror relating to patients and incidents inside the high-security psychiatric hospital, allegedly receiving £900 from the latter paper.

Mr Ostler, 32, of Denham, Buckinghamshire, was charged with committing misconduct in public office between June 1 and July 10 2008.

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