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Former reporter denies leaking police information

by Media Lawyer staff

A former weekly newspaper reporter who became a police community support officer has denied leaking confidential police information to the press.

Policeman’s daughter Emma Smiter, 26, of Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, told a jury at Basildon Crown Court that she had not illegally given information gleaned from Hertfordshire Police computers to a news agency journalist.

Smiter, who was a reporter with the Welwyn and Hatfield Times before becoming a police community support officer with Hertfordshire Police, said she used police computers and e-mails only for legitimate reasons.

She knew journalist Neil Hyde, a director of INS news agency, but told the jury they were just friends, adding that she had not passed confidential police information to him.

Smiter denies misconduct in a public office, unlawfully disclosing personal data and trying to pervert the course of justice. Her trial is expected to end next week.

Prosecutors say she gave information to Mr Hyde, who then passed it on to newspapers, and allege that confidential information she passed on about an inquiry into an allegation of attempted murder appeared in reports in The Sun and the Daily Mirror.

She is also accused of passing on details about a charity box at a police station in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, being “£12 short”.

Prosecutors say Smiter breached trust placed in her by the police and the public.

Jurors have also been told that Smiter said some of the information found in newspapers had come from internet blogs – not police files.

But prosecutors allege Smiter created the blogs after being charged in an attempt to support her defence, mislead jurors and pervert the course of justice.

Smiter, told the court that her father, Rod Reeves, was a senior officer with Hertfordshire Police and had been in the police service for around 30 years.