MoD civil servant pocketed '£100k from The Sun': Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson charged with plotting to bribe public officials

 

A senior civil servant at the Ministry of Defence was on the payroll of the Sun for almost a decade, prosecutors claimed as they charged the former editor of Britain’s best-selling newspaper, Rebekah Brooks, and its chief reporter with plotting to bribe public officials.

Bettina Jordan Barber, a strategy officer at the MoD in London with responsibility for Afghanistan, allegedly passed information for stories to Rupert Murdoch’s redtop tabloid between 2004 and 2012 in return for £100,000.

The Crown Prosecution Service today revealed that charges of conspiracy to commit misconduct were being laid against Ms Brooks, the Sun’s long-standing chief reporter John Kay and Ms Barber, following a police inquiry into newspaper payments to public officials.

They are said to have committed the offence during an eight-year period between January 1 2004 and January 31 2012.

The News of the World’s former editor, Andy Coulson and the News of the World’s royal editor Clive Goodman were charged separately with two counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct over an alleged plot to obtain contact details for the Royal Family.

Alison Levitt, QC, principal legal advisor to the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, said the police had sent the CPS two files on conspiracy to commit misconduct in public life on 30 August.

In a statement this morning, she said: “All of these matters were considered carefully in accordance with the DPP's guidelines on the public interest in cases affecting the media.

“This guidance asks prosecutors to consider whether the public interest served by the conduct in question outweighs the overall criminality before bringing criminal proceedings.”

Detailing the case against the Sun, she said: “We have concluded, following a careful review of the evidence, that Bettina Jordan Barber, John Kay and Rebekah Brooks should be charged with a conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office between 1 January 2004 and 31 January 2012.

“This conspiracy relates to information allegedly provided by Bettina Jordan Barber for payment which formed the basis of a series of news stories published by the Sun. It is alleged that approximately £100,000 was paid to Bettina Jordan Barber between 2004 and 2011.”

Scotland Yard has been carrying out three sprawling inquiries into illegal newsgathering at News International’s headquarters in Wapping, east London, prompted by alleged phone hacking at the News of the World, which Mr Murdoch shut last July.

Operation Weeting into phone hacking, Tuleta into computer hacking and other breaches of privacy and Elveden into corruption of public officials have made 97 arrests, of journalists, police officers, civil servants, prison and tax officials and members of the Armed Forces.

As a result, 20 people have now been charged.

Mrs Brooks, who edited the Sun between 2003 and 2009, and five others – including her husband Charlie Brooks - have been accused of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and conspiracy to hack phones.

Mr Coulson, who served as Mr Cameron’s director of communications for five years, until his resignation last January, is accused of perjury in Scotland and conspiracy to hack phones in England and Wales.

Five other former NoW journalists – managing editor Stuart Kuttner, chief reporter Neville and news editors Ian Edmonson, Greg Miskiw and James Weatherup – have been charged with conspiracy to hack phones, along with a private detective, Glenn Mulcaire.

The former editor of the NoW’s Scottish edition, Bob Bird, has been charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice and its news editor Douglas Wight with perjury, conspiracy to hack phones, and conspiracy to obtain personal data.

In addition, a counter-terrorism officer, Detective Chief Inspector April Casburn, is accused of leaking information to the News of the World about the police inquiry into whether to reopen the investigation into phone hacking in 2010. She is due to stand trial in January.

All the accused deny the charges.

All five charged with conspiracy to commit misconduct in public will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.

The Leveson Inquiry report into the ‘culture, practice and ethics’ of the press is expected to be published next week.

Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
people
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
News
Shami Chakrabarti
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites Star Wars 7 rumours
Sport
football
News
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker