Thursday, a senior Scotland Yard detective was caught trying to sell confidential information to a tabloid. The detective was the unwitting subject to a corruption probe spawned by Britain’s phone-hacking scandal and she was ready to tell them all about it.
It only took a London jury a few hours to find Detective Chief Inspector April Casburn, one of the force’s highest-ranking female detectives, guilty of misconduct in public office. Leaking details of the phone-hacking investigation for pay was not in her jurisdiction and she should have known better. The News of the World was the very newspaper under investigation for tapping into private voicemails of countless people for a story, and she got caught trying to help them, says the Times.
A public uproar in July 2011 caused the tabloid to be shut down after it emerged that reporters had intercepted messages left on the cellphone of a kidnapped 13-year-old girl later found murdered. Three police investigations, including one into the journalistic bribery of public officials, caused the public knowledge of the scandal.
According to the LA Times, Detective Chief Supt. Gordon Briggs said that Casburn, an officer of Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism unit, had disgraced the force:
“It is totally unacceptable for a serving police officer to leak confidential information about a live police investigation to journalists for private gain. In doing so, they let down the public, and they let down their hardworking, honest colleagues. To act in that way is a gross breach of public trust.”
Greg McGill, a senior lawyer with the Crown Prosecution Service, said:
“Not only did she seek to divulge confidential information; she sought to leak details of a case to the very newspaper under investigation. This is a very serious offense.”
The arrest of police officers and other public officials, including an employee with Britain’s Defense Ministry, had been inevitable with the investigation.
“I hope today’s verdict demonstrates our commitment to rooting out that kind of corruption and demonstrates that corruption of this kind will not be tolerated within the Metropolitan Police Service.”