A former senior Sun journalist, an ex-Daily Mirror journalist, a police officer and a prison officer have appeared in court charged in relation to the investigation into corrupt payments to police and public officials.
Graham Dudman, the former managing editor at The Sun; Greig Box-Turnbull, a former journalist at the Daily Mirror; Darren Jennings, an officer with Wiltshire Police; Grant Pizzey, a prison officer at HMP Belmarsh in south east London; and his partner Desra Reilly, appeared at London’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court.
Sun journalist Vince Soodin; John Troup, who used to be a journalist at the same paper; Alan Ostler, who was formerly an assistant technical instructor at Broadmoor Hospital in Berkshire; and Marc Alexander, a former prison officer at HMP Holloway in north London, also appeared for the brief hearing.
The defendants appeared side by side in the dock with Ostler sitting in front of the other eight.
They spoke only to state their dates of birth and addresses before they were told to appear at the Old Bailey for a preliminary hearing on 18 September.
More than 30 Sun and Mirror journalists attended the hearing in what was seen as a show of solidarity and support.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced the charges last month following an investigation by the Metropolitan Police.
It is alleged that, between September 5 and 27 2002, Dudman requested the authorisation of payments of £3,000 to one or more police officers in exchange for information relating to investigations.
It is also claimed that, between June 2002 and December 2007, he authorised payments to public officials relating to the health of a patient at high-security psychiatric hospital Broadmoor, details of an incident at a hospital and details of an incident relating to army combat.
It is further alleged that Dudman, who is now editorial director of Newsroom 360 at News UK, approved a payment requested by Troup for information relating to the death of a prison inmate.
Dudman (pictured below), 50, of Brentwood, Essex, was charged with three counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office, one reflecting conspiracy with Troup, 47, of Saffron Walden, who was charged as a co-conspirator.
It is also alleged that, between December 2005 and January last year, Pizzey, 47, and Reilly, 51, both of Eltham, south east London, provided information to Box-Turnbull in exchange for payment.
It is claimed they received almost £20,000 for more than 40 pieces of information about incidents at high-security prison Belmarsh, a number of which related to high-profile prisoners, the CPS said.
It is also alleged that, between February 2006 and December 2009, Alexander, 38, of Albion Road, Port Talbot, South Wales, received £2,700 for information sold to Box-Turnbull relating to events at Holloway prison.
Box-Turnbull, 38, of Morden, Surrey, faces two charges of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.
The file of evidence also included allegations against one other member of the public, but it was decided there was insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and no further action should be taken.
Soodin, 38, of Greenwich, south east London, was charged with conspiring with a police officer to commit misconduct in public office.
It is alleged that, between June 18 and July 20 2010, he paid a police officer £500 in exchange for information including contact details for witnesses in police investigations.
Jennings, 40, of Harnham, Salisbury, Wiltshire, was charged with misconduct in public office after he allegedly provided information to The Sun in relation to a police officer who was facing criminal proceedings.
It is alleged that, on or around September 6 2010, he sought payment of £10,000 in exchange for personal background information about the police officer and other individuals who were in police custody at the time.
Meanwhile, it is claimed that Ostler, 32, of Green Lane, Denham, Buckinghamshire, provided information to journalists at The Sun and the Daily Mirror relating to patients and incidents inside high-security psychiatric hospital Broadmoor, allegedly receiving £900 from the latter paper.
He was charged with committing misconduct in public office between June 1 and July 10 2008, the CPS said.
The inquiry into corrupt payments to police and public officials is being run alongside two other investigations – Operation Weeting, which is looking at alleged phone hacking, and Operation Tuleta, which focuses on computer hacking and other alleged privacy breaches.
All nine defendants were given continued unconditional bail.