Crime & the Law

Belmarsh Prison officer jailed for 20 months for being paid for information by popular press

HMP Belmarsh. Image: Google satellite

HMP Belmarsh. Image: Google satellite

A Belmarsh prison officer trade union rep who received more than £10,000 for confidential information he gave to a journalist has been jailed for 20 months at the Old Bailey.

54 year old Robert Norman was found guilty of misconduct in a public office.

The court heard that between 30th April 2006 and 1st May 2011, Norman sold information to the now defunct News of the World and also the Daily Mirror Newspaper.

The information he passed resulted in 26 published articles in the Mirror, for which Norman was paid £8,384.

He was paid £2,300 for five articles published in the News of the World, for which he was paid £2,300.

The jury heard that he asked for 15 of the payments to be made to his son to avoid raising suspicion.

When he first contacted the Mirror in 2006 he called them with a story about staffing cuts at the prison.

This information made it into the paper as an ‘Exclusive’ and he was paid £400.

Norman regularly contacted and was contacted by the journalist Stephen Moyes who worked for the Mirror.

He continued to provide information about HMP Belmarsh its staff and prisoners held there who were considered to be high-profile in return for payment.

When the Mr Moyes moved from the Mirror to the News of the World, contact and payments between the two continued.

Norman was arrested by detectives from the controversial Met Police Operation codenamed ‘Elveden’ in 2013 and admitted supplying the information in the public interest.

Detective Chief Superintendent, Gordon Briggs, who leads Operation Elveden, said:

Robert Norman is the first public official to be tried and found guilty since the CPS review of Operation Elveden cases. Norman leaked confidential information obtained in the course of his duties to journalists for private gain. Over a five-year period he was paid in excess of £10,000. He was not a whistleblower as he attempted to portray in court, his corrupt activity was primarily motivated by money.

Much of the information Norman sold to the journalist was not in the public interest and often relied on the notoriety of high-profile prisoners. Norman even passed information about colleagues and some he personally knew through his activities as a union representative.

Norman breached the considerable trust that was placed in him by the public without reasonable excuse or justification. His dishonest actions damaged the public interest and merit criminal sanction.

The UK’s journalism professional online magazine Press Gazette is reporting that the prosecution came about because Norman’s  ‘confidential emails were released by Daily Mirror parent company Trinity Mirror (HQ pictured) to the Met Police.’

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