The first journalist employed outside Rupert Murdoch’s media empire to be charged with illegal newsgathering appeared in court charged with alleged bribery.
Tom Savage, 38, a news executive at the Daily Star Sunday, owned by Richard Desmond, is accused of making corrupt payments to a prison officer working at the top-security Woodhill Prison for information about a high-profile inmate.
The journalist, who faces a single charge of conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office, was one of nine defendants - both reporters and public-sector workers - who appeared before Westminster Magistrates’ Court in central London for a preliminary hearing of their cases.
The public gallery at the court was packed with colleagues and supporters of the newspaper workers, who with the exception of Mr Savage were all employed by either The Sun or the defunct News of the World.
Mr Savage, of East Dulwich, south east London, was charged last week with former NOTW crime editor Lucy Panton, 38, from Ashtead in Surrey, who is accused of one count of the same offence.
Prosecutors claim prison officer Scott Chapman, 41, and his ex-partner Lynn Gaffney, 38, both of Corby, Northamptonshire, received thousands of pounds from a number of newspapers.
In a separate case, Jamie Pyatt, 49, a journalist with The Sun, and the paper’s picture editor, John Edwards, 49, appeared on charges of conspiracy to bribe employees at Broadmoor and two police forces.
Sun journalists Chris Pharo, 44, and Nick Parker, 52, also appeared in court charged to face separate charges of conspiracy to pay public officials.
All nine defendants were released on bail to appear at the Old Bailey on August 6.
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