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Police officer sentenced to prison in British phone-hacking scandal

February 01, 2013|By Janet Stobart
  • British police officer Det. Chief Inspector April Casburn arrives at Southwark Crown Court in central London last month in her corruption trial.
British police officer Det. Chief Inspector April Casburn arrives at Southwark… (Carl Court / Agence France-Press…)

LONDON — A senior police officer was given a 15-month term in prison Friday, the first person sentenced in the wide-ranging phone-hacking inquiry in Britain.  

Det. Chief Inspector April Casburn was convicted last month of illegally attempting to sell information to a tabloid journalist in 2010. Judge Adrian Fulford was handed down by who called her actions "a corrupt attempt to make money out of sensitive and potentially very damaging information," according to a BBC report.

Scotland Yard, where Casburn had headed the counter-terrorism squad at the time of her offense, issued a statement expressing its “great disappointment” that she “abused her position.”

During her trial, Casburn spoke of her unhappiness at work and anger that counter-terrorist officers were diverted to investigate accusations that the now-defunct News of the World tabloid had made extensive use of phone hacking to gain news scoops.

The tabloid did not buy her information and no money changed hands, the court heard. However, the Scotland Yard statement quoted Fulford as saying: “If the News of the World had accepted her offer, she would have taken the money and posed a significant threat to the integrity of the phone-hacking investigation.”

Her arrest resulted from one of three ongoing police investigations into phone hacking that have so far involved about 100 people, including editors, public officials and editors.

The investigations followed reports in July 2011 that the News of the World, one of News Corporation’s British tabloids, in 2002 had hacked into mobile phone messages of a teen crime victim Milly Dowler, who as later found dead.

Since then the News Corp. has pledged to collaborate with police in their inquiries and Scotland Yard acknowledged Friday the “this officer’s wrongdoing was provided to police by the News Corporation’s Management and Standards Committee.”

A further arrest of an unidentified police officer in the Specialist Crime and Operations command on “suspicion of misconduct in public office” was also announced Friday by Scotland Yard.

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