AddThis SmartLayers

Former reporter jailed for leaking police information

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

Emma Smiter, 26, of Welwyn Garden City, was found guilty of misconduct in a public office and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Basildon Crown Court heard that she passed on information gleaned from police computers to the news agency INS.

The former reporter with the Welwyn and Hatfield Times, who was herself the daughter of a policeman, had denied the charges.

The court heard that Smiter’s illegal tip-offs included one which related to an allegation of attempted murder.

The material, gleaned from Hertfordshire Police computers, was passed to an INS journalist and subsequently appeared in national newspapers including The Sun and Daily Mirror.

Smiter had told the court that she used police computers and e-mails only for legitimate reasons.

She told jurors she knew Neil Hyde, a director of the INS news agency, but said they had been “just friends”.

One accusation was that she told the news agency about a charity box at a police station in Borehamwood being £12 short.

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