Tom Wells, a Sun reporter, is accused of paying public officials for stories. He has told the court that he was unaware that his contacts were classified as public officials or that his actions could be considered criminal.

He is accused of paying two prison guards for information about murderer Jon Venables and an immigration center official for information on the way detainees were held.

Adrian Keeling QC, defending, said the jury must balance the “harm to the public interest” in stories like detainees having games consoles instead of proper discipline.

He asked them to consider whether Wells had acted criminally by dealing with the Immigration Guard and Prison officers.

He said: “Not for one moment did Tom Wells think the payments he made were criminal and if he had done, he wouldn’t have gone anywhere near them.” 

The trial continues.

Please click here to read the article reported by The Guardian.

Please click here to view profiles of Adrian Keeling QC and Michelle Heeley.