Sun royal editor to be charged over alleged payments

Duncan Larcombe is accused of making payments to an army sergeant and his wife for stories about the royal family.

Note: This article is from the Guardian.


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Sun royal editor to be charged over alleged payments to soldier” was written by Josh Halliday, for The Guardian on Wednesday 24th April 2013 12.15 UTC

The Sun’s royal editor, Duncan Larcombe, has been charged over allegations he paid £23,000 to an army sergeant and his wife. Larcombe is accused of making 34 payments to the sergeant, John Hardy, and his wife, Claire Hardy, between February 2006 and October 2008 for stories about the royal family, the Crown Prosecution Service said on Wednesday.

Hardy was a colour sergeant based at the Royal Military Training Academy in Sandhurst, where Prince Harry and Prince William trained. At the time of the alleged payments Larcombe was chief royal correspondent.

Larcombe and the Hardys were arrested under Scotland Yard’s Operation Elveden investigation into alleged illicit payments by journalists to public officials. They have both been charged with conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office, the CPS said, and will appear at Westminster magistrates court on 8 May. A fourth person, Tracy Bell, a former pharmacy assistant at Sandhurst medical centre, was charged with misconduct in public office over allegations she received £1,250 from the Sun between October 2005 and July 2006 for five articles about Sandhurst.

The prosecutors added in a statement: “These decisions were considered carefully in accordance with the DPP’s guidelines on the public interest in cases affecting the media. These guidelines require prosecutors to consider whether the public interest served by the conduct in question outweighs the overall criminality before bringing criminal proceedings.

“May I remind all concerned that these defendants have a right to a fair trial. It is very important that nothing is said, or reported, which could prejudice that trial. For these reasons it would be inappropriate for me to comment further.”

Larcombe’s solicitor, Richard Mallet, said that his client denies any wrongdoing. Mallett said: “Mr Larcombe categorically denies any wrongdoing and is entirely confident that the matter will be resolved and he will be exonerated in full. He is extremely shocked and disappointed that he has been charged with this offence. Mr Larcombe is renowned within the industry as being an upright and trustworthy individual and fully expects to clear his name.

“We are unable to comment any further at this stage.”

Larcombe was made royal editor of the Sun in January 2011 after 14 months as its defence editor. He was the paper’s royal correspondent between 2005 and 2009 after joining the Sun in October 2002.

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