Today a policeman and prison officer have been given jail sentences of 10 months and 16 months for selling information to Murdoch's daily red top "newspaper", The Sun.
Both men had admitted misconduct in public office at an earlier hearing.The policeman had passed on details of formal cautions given against Rolling Stones member Ronnie Woods and the mother of a footballer, John Terry. (Police cautions are given where somebody admits to minor misconduct and accepts a caution. No further action is taken unless another offence is committed within a year.)
Mr Justice Fulford, who passed sentence on the men in separate hearings at the Old Bailey, said: "This country has long prided itself on the integrity of its public officials and cynical acts of betrayal of that high standard have a profoundly corrosive effect."
The prison officer had given details about Jon Venables, a convicted killer when he was aged ten years in a very high profile case involving a young child. After being released on licence (parole) he was subsequently convicted of downloading child pornography (shows how effective the treatment he got as a teenager in a supposedly secure and reforming environment!!!):
Venables and his friend Robert Thompson were only ten when they abducted, tortured and murdered two-year-old James Bulger in Bootle, Merseyside in 1993.The breach of the permanent injunction against revealing details of the pair's new identities was presumably the reason for the much higher sentence against the prison guard.
They were released on licence in 2001 and given new identities.
They are protected by an injunction granting them lifelong anonymity for fear of revenge attacks.
Venables was jailed again for two years in July 2010 after pleading guilty to downloading and distributing child pornography.
Note these are the first convictions involving public officials who have actually sold information to a Murdoch newspaper; an earlier conviction of a senior police officer involved her offering to sell information to the News of the World.
10:32 AM PT: As Ceebs points out a second police officer who cannot be named for legal reasons was also sentenced today:
Regarding the second, unnamed officer, Mr Justice Fulford said: "In my judgment this defendant was utterly indifferent as to whether his actions would harm particular police investigations and the course of justice, and overall he did not care what effect his activities would have on the victims and others involved in the various cases about which he provided information."The block on the name is probably due to the policeman appearing as either a witness or co-defendant in a future case and to avoid prejudicing a possible juror.