Met officer April Casburn gets 15 months for corruption

First person convicted under Operation Elveden jailed for trying to sell info to News of the World

LAST UPDATED AT 13:39 ON Fri 1 Feb 2013

DISGRACED police officer April Casburn, the first person to be convicted as a result of the investigation into payments by journalists to officials, has been sentenced to 15 months in jail.

Her lawyers had asked for a suspended sentence because the 53-year-old counter-terrorism officer at the Met is in the process of adopting a three-year-old child.

But at the Old Bailey today, Mr Justice Fulford said the matter was too serious not to impose a custodial sentence, adding that he would have given Casburn a three-year jail term if she and her husband were not in the process of adopting a "vulnerable" child.

Casburn was convicted by a jury last month of misconduct in public office following an investigation by Operation Elveden. It discovered that she had telephoned the News of the World on a Saturday morning in September 2010 offering to sell it information after the resumption of the inquiry into phone-hacking at the newspaper.

At her trial her lawyer argued that she was angry and frustrated by the diversion of resources away from counter-terrorism and tried to paint her as a "whistleblower". But Mr Justice Fulford said her actions were simply "a corrupt attempt to make money".

As the BBC reports, Casburn’s barrister also argued during her trial that the exceptional nature of her offence – one "mad telephone call" - should not lead to a "precedent-setting sentence which would affect any future convictions relating to corrupt relationships between police and journalists".

But the judge made it clear today that "she had no excuse for her actions". He jailed her because it "was a straightforward and troubling case of corruption" and an act likely to "corrode" the public's faith in the police force. · 

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