Sun journalist and prison officer charged in payments probe

New Scotland Yard sign The Metropolitan Police's Operation Elveden has resulted in numerous arrests and charges

A journalist and a prison officer will be charged with conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office over payments to officials, prosecutors say.

The Sun's chief foreign correspondent Nick Parker will be charged with three counts of conspiracy.

Lee Brockhouse, an officer at HMP Swaleside prison, Kent, will be charged with one count of misconduct and one of conspiracy.

They will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 18 July.

The charges are a result of the Met Police's investigation into alleged payments made to public officials by journalists, known as Operation Elveden.

The charges allege that information provided by Mr Brockhouse related to the movement of prisoners, prison procedures and methods used by prisoners to smuggle items into prison, the CPS said.

Gregor McGill, a senior lawyer with the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "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 23 April 2007 and 27 October 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."

The charges that Mr Parker faces also allege that during two periods in 2009 he "conspired together with a public official, namely a police officer, to commit misconduct in a public office".

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

The CPS also said that no further action would be taken in relation to allegations of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office against another journalist.

News International, publisher of the Sun, sent an internal message to staff saying that the paper's deputy news editor John Sturgis has been told he will face no further action over the investigation.

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