Police officer is first to be charged over leaks to 'News of the World'

A high-ranking Metropolitan Police officer has been charged with leaking information to the News of the World. Detective Chief Inspector April Casburn is accused of passing information to the tabloid in September 2010, 10 months before it was closed down.

The charge of misconduct in public office – the first arising from Scotland Yard's Operation Elveden into unauthorised disclosures to the press by police and other officials – was announced by the Crown Prosecution Service last night. DCI Casburn is the first police officer to be charged by any of the three linked criminal inquiries into Rupert Murdoch's News International group.

The Met's Specialist Operations Directorate, where she worked, deals with counter-terrorism and royal security. Alison Levitt QC, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "The CPS received a file of evidence from the Metropolitan Police Service which arose from Operation Elveden in relation to April Casburn.

"We have concluded, having carefully considered the file of evidence, that there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and that it is in the public interest to charge DCI Casburn with misconduct in public office.

"The particulars are that on 11 September 2010, April Casburn, being a public officer, and acting as such, without reasonable excuse or justification, wilfully misconducted herself to such a degree as to amount to an abuse of the public's trust."

Ms Levitt, principal legal adviser to the Director of Public Prosecutions, added: "This charge relates to an allegation that DCI Casburn contacted the News of the World newspaper and offered to provide information." DCI Casburn will appear at Westminster magistrates' court on Monday.