The brother of April Casburn, the Met officer convicted of offering to sell information to the News of the World (NoW), has warned whistleblowers will be too scared to approach journalists after his sister was jailed for 15 months.
Phillip Casburn has vowed to relinquish his British citizenship over what he believes to be a draconian sentence and criticised the prison service for placing her on an open wing.
And he remains adamant his sister did not ask for money when she called the NoW in September 2010 offering information on Scotland Yard’s investigation into phone-hacking.
He is also highly critical of NoW publisher News International’s decision to allow the Met access to an email incriminating the mother of three, accusing the company of setting a dangerous precedent for British journalism
“This has done so much damage,” he told Press Gazette.
“I don’t know how this is ever going to be repaired, if all of a sudden the Yard can come up and take journalists’ computers away. Freedom of speech is gone in that moment.”
He claims his sister’s conviction means confidential sources now have little protection, asking: “How are you journalists going to protect yourselves and protect your sources?
“It’s all over the cliff now: The police can turn up and take everything away from your office, and anyone who ever talked to you in the last year is going to be potentially implicated.
“I find these extremely scary times for everybody in the UK. How is journalism going to function in the future? Any of your potential sources out there will be scared to pick up the phone and give you a call.”
Casburn, a senior manager at energy conglomerate Johnson Controls Incorporated, said he will hand in his UK passport and become a citizen of Germany, where he lives, in protest at the British justice system.
His sister, a senior counter-terrorism detective, became the first person convicted under the fresh investigations into corruption and phone-hacking last week.