The Crown confirmed it will seek a retrial of charges against four current and past Sun journalists on charges related to payments to police officers and other public officials. A retrial is expected to take place at the Old Bailey within the next few months.
The Sun’s head of news, Chris Pharo, Graham Dudman, its development director, Jamie Pyatt, a district reporter, and Ben O’Driscoll, a former deputy news editor, had been on trial for four months accused of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.
Sun picture editor John Edwards and ex-reporter John Troup, who had been in the dock alongside them, were acquitted by the jury on Friday. But at 12.15pm today the foreman confirmed he and his peers could not reach any verdicts on the remaining nine counts. The jury had been in retirement for 49 hours over eight days.
A male juror suffering from stress was discharged from the case yesterday, leading the jury foreman to ask for more time today to consider the evidence. But two hours deliberation today failed to break the deadlock and all parties were called back into court to hear the news.
Asked by the court clerk whether the jury had reached any verdicts, the foreman replied only “No”. Responding to the hung jury, Oliver Glasgow, for the Crown, told the judge “In the circumstances, the Crown seeks a retrial”.
Judge Richard Marks QC thanked the remaining 11 jurors for their efforts and excused them from doing jury service for the next 10 years. He said that they probably expected to spend two weeks trying a “relatively ordinary and mundane case”, adding “But it’s turned out very differently”.
The judge thanked counsel in the case, saying it had been “the best possible advertisement for the English legal system and the English bar”.
Turning to the defendants, he said “I recognise it’s an unfortunate ending from their point of view.”
A hearing to discuss a retrial is due to take place the Old Bailey on Friday 6 February.