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Andy Coulson and eight other journalists see Operation Elveden bribery charges dropped

Cases against Andy Coulson and eight other journalists accused of bribing public officials have been dropped by the director of public prosecution.

Operation Elveden, which began three years at the expense of around £20m so far, yesterday dropped charges against nine of the journalists from News UK and Trinity Mirror. This followed news that the Sun's night editor Brandon Malinsky, Sun reporter Neil Millard and the Mirror's Graham Brough had been cleared of paying public official’s yesterday at the Old Bailey.

The decision followed a review of the prosecutions use of the charge “conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office”.

Now evidence will be offered against other journalists, which included Coulson and the Sun’s former royal editor, Clive Goodman.

A statement from the Director of Public Prosecution, said: “The importance of a free press is paramount in any democracy and the prosecutions against the journalists involved were considered very carefully.

“We have promptly reviewed all the cases within Operation Elveden. At the same time we have updated our guidance. The court of appeal judgment emphasised the high threshold of seriousness required of misconduct in public office.

“It is also said that more consideration should be given to the potential harm, or lack of it, to the public interest in the disclosure of information, as opposed to relying on the strong benefit to the public interest in any resulting story.

“This may result in different considerations when applied to public officials and journalists.”

However, three journalists will still face conviction; Chris Pharo, head of news at the Sun, district reporter Jamie Pyatt, who both face a retrial, and Anthony France, the Sun’s crime correspondent.

In total, 27 journalists were charged under Operation Elveden, resulting in two convictions.