Operation Elveden journalists blast 'vindictive prosecution'

Journalists who have had bribery cases against them dropped have spoken out against the Metropolitan Police and Crown Prosecution Service.

Metropolitan Police: more than £20m was spent on Operation Elveden
Metropolitan Police: more than £20m was spent on Operation Elveden

Graham Dudman, former managing editor at The Sun, described how he was "treated like a terrorist or a murderer" after he attended a 45-second court hearing to dismiss the charges against him.

"In January 2012, somebody decided I posed such a danger to society that 10 police officers raided my home at dawn in front of my terrified wife and young children," he told the media.

"They confiscated my passport before locking me in a cell stripping me of any dignity and swabbing my mouth for DNA."

Meanwhile, the ex-News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman who served jail time for phone-hacking, also had fresh charges dropped. He was due to stand trial for allegedly conspiring to pay police officers to access details about the royals.

"It has been a pretty grim four years, not just for me but for everyone involved in this case and others still going through it," he told journalists outside court.

"I felt it was important to come today to see the people responsible for this vindictive prosecution stand in court and admit they got it wrong."

Nine journalists awaiting trial had their cases dropped after an urgent legal review earlier this month.

Overturning one of the convictions that resulted from Elveden, Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas, said trial judge Charles Wide had misdirected the jury by not making it clear how high the threshold for conviction needed to be.

Jurors had to be satisfied that the actions of the journalists were not only a disciplinary breach but also harmed public interest. As it began to emerge that almost all the stories garnered by paying for information were in the public interest, the CPS abandoned many of the remaining cases.

Altogether 34 journalists were arrested and charged under Operation Elveden. Despite the Metropolitan Police and the CPS spending upwards of £20m during the process, they have defended the decision to prosecute.

The CPS will press ahead with prosecutions of three Sun journalists – Jamie Pyatt, Chris Pharo and Anthony France.

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