Ryan Sabey, a former News of the World reporter previously convicted of bribing a police officer for stories about Prince Harry, has now been cleared of that conviction.
Sabey appealed his verdict for aiding and abetting misconduct by paying a police officer, and this week “the Lord Chief Justice quashed the conviction on the grounds that the jury was misdirected by the trial judge,” according to the Press Gazette, which noted Sabey won’t be re-tried.
“I just want to say I’m thankful for the judgment from the Lord Chief Justice. I would like to thank the many people for their support – friends, family and colleagues – over the recent months,” Sabey said after the decision by the judge, the Press Gazette reported.
Sabey was the second News of the World reporter to appeal a conviction under the argument the judge misdirected the jury. Because the previous conviction, that of former New of the World reporter’s Lucy Panton, was also thrown out, the judge in Sabey’s case agreed it was the same argument and therefore Sabey’s conviction was thrown out, as the Press Gazette explained.
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While Panton’s name wasn’t linked to reports on her successful bid to have her conviction thrown out, it appears she was the journalist found guilty in Nov. 2014 and had her conviction quashed in the spring. Due to “legal reasons,” the reporter wasn’t named, but news outlets covered the 2014 conviction and the spring rejection of the conviction for an unnamed News of the World reporter.
Sabey was convicted in March 2015 of aiding and abetting misconduct in public office. He was accused of paying soldier Paul Brunt “more than £16,000” for stories and photos of Prince Harry. The soldier Brunt was found guilty, but his verdict was also rejected. As iMediaEthics previously wrote, Sabey said his payouts to Brunt were for stories in the public interest.
Despite the soldier Brunt’s conviction being thrown out, he will be retried, the Telegraph noted.