Roy Greenslade on the case of the News of the World journalist and the police officer | Media | The Guardian
Thurlbeck and Farmer had been charged under the 1906 Corruption Act, facing up to three years in jail if found guilty. It was claimed that they had a corrupt relationship because Thurlbeck had paid Farmer for supplying him with confidential information. Both men vehemently denied this claim and the prosecution was unable to produce a jot of evidence to show that any money had changed hands between them.
Both men have cheerfully admitted having a close friendship from which they mutually benefited, as the NoW did with various police forces. Sometimes Thurlbeck provided Farmer with information useful to the police. Sometimes Farmer, a member of the National Crime Intelligence Service (NCIS), gave Thurlbeck information he required.
Crucially, the judge ruled that what Farmer told Thurlbeck was “not confidential or sensitive… but information principally about criminals’ previous convictions”. Mr Justice McKinnon considered their relationship to be “perfectly legitimate and appropriate”, adding: “There is no suggestion supported by any evidence that Mr Farmer in any way behaved improperly in conducting the Police National Computer checks.”