Acquittal of the last Sun journalist secured following re-trial

Richard Kovalevsky QC and Jamas Hodivala secured the acquittal of Jamie Pyatt, The Sun’s Senior Crime Reporter for the South East, following a retrial at the Old Bailey in relation to a charge of aiding and abetting Misconduct in a Public Office.

Mr Pyatt told the jury that he made payments totalling almost £10,000 over a period of 8 years to a serving police officer as the officer was the source for stories which subsequently appeared in The Sun between  2002 – 2010. Mr Pyatt was adamant in his evidence before the jury that the stories provided were in the public interest. In accordance with the recent case of R v Chapman & Others [2015] 3 WLR 726, the prosecution case focused on the harm to the public interest caused by making payments to a corrupt police officer over a number of years.

Mr Pyatt gave evidence that although the stories were not all related to “whistle-blowing” as such, there was a countervailing public interest in having a free and diverse press which should be allowed printed accurate and true information in a free society. His defence, which was accepted by the verdict of the jury was that the public had a right to receive the information contained within each of the stories provided to him by the serving police officer and that right continued notwithstanding the fact that the officer received modest payment for being a source.

Following the verdict of the jury it has been announced that there will be no further prosecutions of journalists under operation Elveden. Mr Pyatt’s acquittal therefore brings to an end this series of trials.


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