The jurors at the Sun Six Trial case at Kingston Crown Court retired to consider their verdicts this afternoon. They are due to return 14 separate verdicts in the case of six current and former Sun journalists accused of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.
The Crown alleges there was a culture at Britain’s best-selling newspaper of paying police officers and other officials.
Before sending out the jury at 2.51pm, Judge Richard Marks QC, told them:
“This is a serious and a very important case as far as all the defendants are concerned. You must give – as I know you will – the utmost attention, and deal with it fairly in a calm dispassionate and analytic evaluation of the evidence.”
He told the jury there was no pressure of time on them. Although the jury may have heard of majority verdicts, they were “not the position in this case at this time,” he added.
After the judge finished his summing up, one juror asked about the requirement for there to have been a “single agreement” [a conspiracy] to reach a guilty verdict each count. He asked whether there still be a single agreement if conspirators had come and gone during the length of the conspiracy. The judge told the jury that there could be – and gave the example of a plan to rob the Bank of England. Judge Marks said: “That might be a plan that by reason of its complexity went on over a number of years. To be guilty of the conspiracy you don’t have to be in on day one and stay for the entirety of the agreement.”
However, he added, if, for instance, the jury decided that reporter Jamie Pyatt had entered into a series of discrete, separate arrangements with the Surrey police officer Simon Quinn, rather than a single agreement, then the prosecution case would not be made out.
All the defendants – Chris Pharo, Ben O’Driscoll, John Edwards, Graham Dudman, Jamie Pyatt and John Troup – deny the charges.