Two journalists, Sun picture editor John Edwards and the paper’s former district reporter John Troup, were today cleared of conspiring to make illegal payments to public officials.
After eight days in retirement, the jury at the Sun Six trial at Kingston Crown Court found the pair not guilty of conspiring to commit misconduct in public office.
They also found Ben O’Driscoll, The Sun’s former deputy news editor and Graham Dudman, its current editorial development director, not guilty of one count they face.
However the jury have not reached verdicts on the other charges faced by Mr O’Driscoll and Mr Dudman and on all the charges faced by The Sun’s head of news, Chris Pharo, and the Thames Valley district reporter Jamie Pyatt.
The jury will continue its deliberations on those nine counts on Monday morning.
At 3.30pm, Judge Richard Marks QC, told the court that he had received two notes from the jury indicating that they had reached some verdicts but were unable to reach unanimity on others. He agreed to take the partial verdicts and the jury were called into Court 9 to return their verdicts.
Shortly before 4.00pm, the clerk read out each count, and each defendant on each count, and asked the jury foreman for a verdict.
The foreman said “Not guilty” to the case against Mr O’Driscoll and Mr Edwards on Count 3, which relates to payments made by Mr Pyatt to a Surrey police officer, Simon Quinn, in return for information for stories. The jury has so far not reached a verdict against Mr Pyatt and Mr Pharo on that charge.
Mr Edwards was found not guilty on Count 4, which relates to Mr Pyatt’s payments to Robert Neave, a health care assistant at Broadmoor psychiatric hospital. The jury has so far not reached a verdict against Mr Pyatt, Mr Pharo and Mr Dudman on that charge.
The jury also cleared Mr Troup and Mr Dudman of Count 8, over a payment made by Mr Troup to an informant for a story on the suicide of a prisoner at Whitemoor jail in Cambridgeshire.
Discharged by the judge, Mr Edwards shook the hands of the remaining four defendants in the glass-walled dock and briskly left the court.
Mr Troup, who was made redundant from the Sun before he was arrested and charged, looked straight ahead as he walked from the dock.
The jury will continue their deliberations on Monday morning at 10am.
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