Skip to main content

UK journalist, police officer face charges over alleged illegal payments

By Laura Smith-Spark and Claudia Rebaza, CNN
January 22, 2013 -- Updated 1340 GMT (2140 HKT)
Virginia Wheeler, defense editor at The Sun is accused of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.
Virginia Wheeler, defense editor at The Sun is accused of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A journalist and a former police officer are charged over alleged illegal payments
  • Prosecutors say The Sun paid Paul Flattley thousands of dollars for information
  • This included details about the tragic death of a 14-year-old girl, prosecutors say
  • Police began probing alleged media misconduct after a phone hacking scandal

London (CNN) -- A journalist at Britain's best-selling tabloid newspaper, The Sun, and a former London police officer will face criminal charges over alleged illegal payments for sensitive information, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Virginia Wheeler, defense editor at The Sun, and Paul Flattley are accused of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office, the Crown Prosecution Service said.

Flattley, who was a serving officer with the Metropolitan Police at the time, was allegedly paid at least £6,240 ($9,900) by The Sun between May 2008 and September 2011 in exchange for information, said Alison Levitt, chief legal adviser to the director of public prosecutions.

Flattley provided "information about the tragic death of a 14-year-old girl, as well as details about both suspects and victims of accidents, incidents and crimes," her statement said.

"This included, but was not limited to, information about high-profile individuals and those associated with them."

The two will appear before Westminster Magistrates' Court in London at a date yet to be announced.

The charges stem from police inquiries in the wake of a phone hacking scandal at the now-defunct News of the World newspaper, owned -- alongside The Sun -- by the British subsidiary of media mogul Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., News International.

Murdoch protege Rebekah Brooks and co-worker Andy Coulson, who went on to work for Prime Minister David Cameron, were charged in November with conspiracy over alleged illegal payments to a Ministry of Defence employee.

Brooks and Coulson are both former editors of the News of the World newspaper. Brooks also was editor of The Sun from 2003 to 2009 before becoming chief executive of News International.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1526 GMT (2326 HKT)
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1801 GMT (0201 HKT)
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1548 GMT (2348 HKT)
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0507 GMT (1307 HKT)
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1215 GMT (2015 HKT)
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0006 GMT (0806 HKT)
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 2327 GMT (0727 HKT)
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.
ADVERTISEMENT