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July 8, 2015

Court of Appeal quashes conviction of former News of the World reporter Ryan Sabey

By PA Mediapoint

A former News of the World royal reporter who was found guilty of getting scoops from one of Prince Harry's comrades has had his conviction quashed.

While working at the now-defunct Sunday tabloid, Ryan Sabey, 35, was accused of cultivating his contact Paul Brunt, 33, who was in the same regiment as the young royal.

Sabey was found guilty of aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office following an Old Bailey trial.

At the Court of Appeal, the Lord Chief Justice quashed the conviction on the grounds that the jury was misdirected by the trial judge.

Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders has already announced she would not pursue his case.

Lord Thomas confirmed there would be no retrial.

Orlando Pownall QC told the court it was understood the Crown did not oppose Sabey's appeal which was similar to that of fellow NoW reporter Lucy Panton.

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Trial Judge Charles Wide had given the same "misdirection" to the jury which led to Panton's successful appeal earlier this year.

In written directions, Judge Wide "misdirected the jury in that insufficient emphasis was given in the need for the jury to conclude what had occurred harmed the public interest".

The lawyer said: "We submit there is no material difference in directions. We submit if it was a misdirection in one it was a misdirection in the other."

Lord Thomas agreed, saying: "It seems to us, the logic of the argument presented in the case of Ryan Sabey must be right. We accept the decision of the CPS, there will therefore be no retrial."

He went on to quash the conviction of Sabey's co-accused, Brunt.

He accepted the prosecution's application for a retrial of Brunt at the Old Bailey, calling for it to take place "as expeditiously as possible".

Leaving court, Sabey said he was "naturally pleased" by the outcome of his appeal.

He said: "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."

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