Senior counter-terrorism detective appears in court accused of leaking information to the News of the World

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A senior counter-terrorism detective appeared in court today accused of leaking information to the News of the World about a police investigation into alleged phone hacking by staff at the defunct tabloid.

Detective Chief Inspector April Casburn is charged with misconduct in a public office for allegedly seeking payment for passing on information about Operation Varec, the codename for the Metropolitan Police’s assessment in 2010 about whether an investigation into phone hacking should be re-opened.

It can also be reported for the first time today that DCI Casburn, 53, of Hatfield Peverel, Essex, has been charged with breaching the Official Secrets Act for allegedly keeping secret documents at her home without permission.

The ban on publishing details of the Official Secrets Act charge was lifted by District Judge Quentin Purdy after representations were made by a number of media organisations.

Ms Casburn appeared in the glass-panelled dock at Westminster magistrates’ court today for the short hearing. She spoke only to confirm her name, address and date of birth.

Ms Casburn, the former head of the National Terrorist Financial Investigation Unit, was arrested in December. She was released on unconditional bail today until November 2 when she will appear at the Old Bailey.