First Mirror reporter to face charges of corrupt payments says it was the news desk that “had done the deal”

The first reporter from the Daily Mirror to be charged for alleged corrupt payments to public officials has told a jury that it was the paper’s news desk that “had done the deal” and he had been only sent along to have the source, who cannot be named for legal reasons, sign a contract with the paper.

The prosecution say that Graham Brough, 54, was buying information about the singer Boy George who, in 2009, had been sentenced to prison for assaulting a male escort. Brough it is alleged, paid a member of prison staff for the information that the singer had been moved from Pentonville Prison partly because he was proving to be too popular with the other inmates. It was claimed that amongst other things prisoners were queuing for his autograph. The prosecution say the prison source received £250 from Trinity Mirror for this article and two subsequent payments of £350 and £450.

Appearing alongside the Daily Mirror reporter are three journalists from The Sun all of whom plead not guilty to charges of conspiring or aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office. Also appearing is an ex-immigration detention officer who is pleading not guilty to charges of misconduct in a public office. Brough told the court that, in his long career in newspapers, he had joined the Mirror as “they came knocking and it was the paper of my youth, my family’s paper”.

Brough also told the jury about his work at the Sunday Times and the Mail on Sunday. He said that he had worked well with former Mirror editor Piers Morgan who, despite the different political views, had worked with him on a series of articles exposing racism. These included investigations into the murder of teenager Stephen Lawrence. The newspaper was “almost like a tabloid Guardian” he said.

He told the court that other than the event he had been charged with he had never paid a public official as it was “a journalistic no go area”.

The trial continues.

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