Operation Elveden: Sun journalist Nick Parker and prison officer face charges in payments probe

 

The Sun's chief foreign correspondent and a prison officer will be charged over alleged payments to public officials, prosecutors said today.

Journalist Nick Parker and prison officer Lee Brockhouse are accused of conspiring together to commit misconduct in public office between April 2007 and October 2009.

It is claimed that Brockhouse, who worked at Swaleside prison in Kent, received £1,750 from the Sun for information about prison life and inmates, and £900 from the People.

He is facing the conspiracy charge, and one count of misconduct in public office between February 2009 and June 2011.

Parker faces two other counts alleging that he conspired with an unnamed police officer to commit misconduct in public office - one charge between March 26 and April 3 2009 and the other between December 2 and 7 2009.

Gregor McGill, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "We have concluded that Nick Parker, a journalist at the Sun newspaper, should be charged with three counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office.

"We have also concluded that Lee Brockhouse, a prison officer at HMP Swaleside, should be charged with one count of misconduct in a public office and one count of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.

"It is alleged that on two occasions the Sun newspaper paid money to a public official in exchange for the unauthorised disclosure of information to Nick Parker relating to well-known individuals.

"It is also alleged that, between April 23 2007 and October 27 2009, the Sun newspaper paid £1,750 to prison officer Lee Brockhouse for the unauthorised disclosure of information to Nick Parker.

"Additionally, it is alleged that Lee Brockhouse provided similar information to the People newspaper, for which he was paid £900.

"It is alleged that information provided by Lee Brockhouse included that relating to the movement of prisoners, prison procedures and methods used by prisoners to smuggle items into prison."

Prosecutors have decided that no further action should be taken against one journalist over allegations of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office in relation to the same case.

Parker and Brockhouse will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on July 11.

In an internal message to News International staff, it was confirmed that deputy News Editor of the Sun John Sturgis has been told he will face no further action over the investigation.

News International chief executive Mike Darcey also said he was disappointed that Parker is being charged but that he will be given legal support.

PA