The details of a woman who complained she had been raped by two police officers were sold by another policeman to a Sun reporter in exchange for cash, the Sun corruption trial heard today.
Reporter Jamie Pyatt told Kingston Crown Court that he had received the woman’s name and address along with the “circumstances of the incident” from a serving Surrey constable, Simon Quinn, an investigating officer in the case. He agreed that the material received from PC Quinn – who sold information to him over a 10-year period until 2011 – included witness statements.
As he was cross-examined by Peter Wright QC over his role in paying PC Quinn, Mr Pyatt agreed that rape complainants have a statutory right to anonymity throughout their lifetime.
Mr Pyatt, The Sun’s Thames Valley reporter, is on trial accused of conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office in relation to PC Quinn and another public official he paid, Broadmoor worker Robert Neave.
In his admissions, Mr Pyatt has acknowledged that he had paid PC Quinn for information about 13 stories published in The Sun, including a story about the aftermath of an alleged rape on a drunken woman by two Surrey police officers.
At their trial in March 2005, the police officers, Mark Witcher and Andrew Lang, were acquitted of raping and indecently assaulting the woman but jailed for 15 months for wilful misconduct in a public office. Questioned by his lawyer Richard Kovalevsky QC, Mr Pyatt said that at the time, in March 2004, PC Quinn gave him details of the case because he was disgusted by his fellow officers – and instructed that the material only be used in the event of a guilty verdict.
Today in answer to a question about the confidentiality of the material by the prosecutor Mr Wright, Mr Pyatt said that although it could not be published, the complainant’s identity would eventually be known to anyone attending the subsequent court case.
Mr Wright pressed him: “You knew there there were no circumstances in which that information could properly be given to you?”
Mr Pyatt acknowledged: “It shouldn’t have been given to me, I agree.”
He added: “But I would have got it at the court case.”
Asked what information he had received about the complainant, Mr Pyatt told the court: “There would have been a name, who she was and the circumstances of the incident.”
Mr Wright went on: “And her address?”, to which the reporter saidMr Pyatt: “I can’t recall… yes.”
He agreed that he received copies of the witness statements given to police.
The prosecutor asked the reporter: “There wasn’t much left unsold from this story from PC Quinn, was there?”
He replied: “This was material to be used at the culmination of a court case..”
Interrupting, Mr Wright pressed: “There wasn’t much information left unsold, was there?” – to which Mr Pyatt replied: “He gave me copies of the witness statements he had carried out.”
The case continues.