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Magazine of the Chartered Institute of Journalists

France ruling welcomed

Press release
Release date: 31 October 2016

Anthony France ruling welcomed

The Chartered Institute of Journalists welcomes the Court of Appeal decision to quash the conviction and sentence imposed on Sun crime reporter Anthony France for being involved in paying a police source based at Heathrow Airport.

The Institute condemns the decisions of the Metropolitan Police, Crown Prosecution Service and Director of Public Prosecutions to initiate and pursue ‘Operation Elveden’ against journalists and their sources.

The Institute equally condemns the volunteering by News International (now News UK) and Trinity Mirror of confidential journalistic information to the police without which Operation Elveden could not have taken place.The Inquiry cost at least £15 million. Of the 34 journalists arrested, most were acquitted by juries or had their charges dropped. Two journalists found guilty have had their convictions quashed by the Court of Appeal. Only one journalist pleaded guilty and received a non-custodial sentence.

Institute President Mark Croucher said: “The series of not guilty verdicts by juries clearly indicates these journalists were reporting in the public interest.”

He added: “The use of misconduct in public office against journalists was an attempt to revive a discredited section of the Official Secrets Act that made it an offence for any journalist to receive official information without permission.

“What has happened is a disgrace and scar on the history of our democracy. Many journalists and their families have been needlessly traumatised by oppressive and disproportionate abuse of state power.”