Don’t prosecute journalists who pay for public-interest leaks, says ex-DPP | Law | The Guardian: "The Crown Prosecution Service will now offer no evidence in the cases of nine journalists, who include Coulson, the former editor of the News of the World, and Clive Goodman, the paper’s former royal editor, who were awaiting trial.
The prosecution will continue of a further three Sun journalists: Chris Pharo, head of news, and district reporter Jamie Pyatt who both face a retrial after a jury failed to reach a verdict earlier this year, and Anthony France, the paper’s crime correspondent.
The decision to drop the cases came after a review forced on the CPS by an appeal court ruling last month that questioned prosecutors’ use of the charge of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office – an ancient common-law offence – to pursue the journalists.
The new CPS guidelines state that where journalists are involved with corrupt police officers, there would be a “high public interest” in prosecuting. But for journalists who deal with other types of officials, such as prison guards, the harm to the public interest in corrupt payments may be “finely balanced” against the lack of harm caused by the resulting stories.
In these circumstances, the prosecution of journalists “may not always be in the public interest”." 'via Blog this'