Reporter attacks News Corp’s role as corrupt police officer is jailed


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The Independent Online

A former News of the World reporter whose evidence helped to convict a senior counter-terrorism officer attacked Rupert Murdoch’s media empire today for its role in the case, saying it had broken a tenet of journalism by revealing a source.

Tim Wood accused the body set up by News Corp to inquire into phone hacking and alleged corrupt payments to public officials of sacrificing Detective Chief Insp April Casburn, below, so the company could protect “its reputation and its share price”.

Casburn, 53, today became the first person to be jailed as part of Scotland Yard’s ongoing investigations into voicemail interception and bribery by journalists. She was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment after offering to sell information to the defunct Sunday tabloid.

The former police officer from Hatfield Peverel, Essex, is in the process of adopting with her partner. Her lawyer, Patrick Gibbs QC, had earlier asked the judge to pass a suspended sentence on the grounds that the time she will spend in prison will cause “life-long” damage to the child.

Mr Wood was praised by Mr Justice Fulford as a “reliable, honest and disinterested witness” following the trial of Casburn, who had phoned the NOTW’s newsdesk in 2010 and sought payment for intelligence about the re-opening of the phone-hacking inquiry by police.

The judge said Casburn had made a “corrupt attempt to make money out of sensitive and potentially very damaging information”.

The journalist strongly criticised News Corp’s management and standards committee (MSC) for handing over to police an email which he wrote to executives after he took the call from her on 11 September 2010.

In an article for the Exaro News website, Mr Wood said: “The MSC was established to counter damaging claims of a cover-up at News International over phone hacking. But I believe that it has gone too far, betraying more confidential sources than any other body or person in the history of journalism.”

News International declined to comment.