Phone hacking reporter Dan Evans spared jail

Dan Evans arrives at court Image copyright PA
Image caption Dan Evans was first arrested in August 2011

Ex-News of the World journalist Dan Evans has been given a 10-month jail sentence suspended for a year at the Old Bailey.

He pleaded guilty in September to two counts of phone hacking as well as making illegal payments to officials and perverting the course of justice.

He was a prosecution witness against his former editor Andy Coulson in the hacking trial.

The judge said he had reduced Evans's sentence as a result.

Evans is thought to be the first journalist to be convicted of making illegal payments to public officials.

'Clean breast'

Last year, he admitted accessing the voicemails of 200 celebrities, politicians and sportspeople, and listening to more than 1,000 voicemails while he worked at the News of the World.

Evans also admitted hacking phones while he worked for the Sunday Mirror.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Andy Coulson was jailed at the Old Bailey for 18 months earlier this month

Evans, 38, of Kilburn, north London, pleaded guilty to one count of hacking at the Sunday Mirror, where he worked from 2003-2005, and one at the News of the World, where he worked from 2004-2010.

Mr Justice Saunders also ordered Evans to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work in the community.

Passing sentence, the judge said he had taken into account the guilty pleas and Evans's agreement to give evidence in the hacking trial and possibly other future trials.

"In the circumstances of this case, and in particular the co-operation that Mr Evans has given and has agreed to give the police and the prosecution in the future as compared with the lack of co-operation from others, I do feel able to suspend the sentence for a period of 12 months," the judge added.

"I would not have done that had Mr Evans not made a clean breast of his involvement in these offences."

He indicated Evans would have faced a sentence of two years imprisonment, had he not pleaded guilty and agreed to give evidence.

Mr Justice Saunders imposed suspended terms of four months for the phone hacking, four months for perverting the course of justice and two months for misconduct in public office, all to run consecutively.

He said if Evans had been convicted by a jury after a trial, he would have imposed a nine-month sentence for phone hacking, nine months for perverting the course of justice and six months for misconduct in public office.

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Image caption Rebekah Brooks and her husband Charlie Brooks were cleared following the phone-hacking trial

Earlier this month, former News of the World editor Coulson was jailed for 18 months for conspiracy to hack phones.

Five fellow defendants - including former News International chief Rebekah Brooks - were cleared of all charges.

Mr Justice Saunders said Evans was one of "the only people who have been prepared to give evidence of their knowledge and involvement in phone hacking at the News of the World".

This was despite "undisputed evidence" of a great deal of hacking at the paper from 2004-2006, the judge added.

"Why so few people have been prepared to give evidence in court about what went on is not for me to say but it makes Mr Evans's position unique."

Charges dropped

Meanwhile, four security personnel who worked for Mrs Brooks and her husband Charlie in July 2011 have had charges of perverting the course of justice dropped.

David Johnson, Lee Sandell, Daryl Jorsling and Paul Edwards were formally found not guilty after prosecutors offered no evidence against them.

It was alleged they had been involved in a plot to hide material from police investigating phone hacking.

Mrs Brooks and her husband Charlie were cleared of a similar charge at their trial.

Mrs Brooks was also cleared of conspiracy to hack phones and making illegal payments to public officials.

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