The first person to be prosecuted as part of the investigation into payments by journalists to officials has been sentenced to 15 months in prison.
Counter-terrorism officer April Casburn was found guilty of misconduct in public office
At her sentencing, Mr Justice Fulford told her it was “a corrupt attempt to make money out of sensitive and potentially very damaging information”. Casburn is in the process of adopting a child, and the judge said had that not been the case she would have been sentenced to three years.
The judge said her offence could not be described as whistle-blowing. “If the News of the World had accepted her offer, it’s clear, in my view, that Ms Casburn would have taken the money and, as a result, she posed a significant threat to the integrity of this important police investigation,” he said.
The Sunday tabloid was closed down in 2011 amid outrage over its hacking into the voicemails.
Her trial heard that in September 2010 Casburn contacted the News of the World, days after Scotland Yard reopened its inquiry. The newspaper did not print a story after the call and no money changed hands.
The offence happened when Casburn, from Hatfield Peverel, was managing the national terrorist financial investigation unit.
‘Unhappy at work’
Southwark Crown Court heard one of her team had been asked to carry out financial investigations as part of the inquiry into phone hacking.
The detective, at the time the most senior female investigator in Scotland Yard’s counter terrorism command, denied asking for cash – and said she had contacted the newspaper out of the public interest.
At her trial, Casburn said she was angry that her superiors had decided to divert officers from counter terrorism.
Ahead of sentencing, Casburn’s defence team told the judge her only offence was “being very unhappy at work and making a mad telephone call” to the News of the World.
Her arrest was one of 59 made under Operation Elveden. Operation Elveden is running alongside the Operation Weeting inquiry into phone hacking, and Operation Tuleta into allegations that computers were hacked to obtain private information.
Evidence in the trial was provided to police by News Corporation’s management standards committee, which was set up in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal at its News of the World newspaper.