Ex-Hertfordshire Pcso on trial over press leaks

A FORMER Pcso, who is accused of leaking confidential police information to the press, is standing trial.

Emma Smiter, of Great North Road, WGC, who worked as a Pcso for Hertfordshire Constabulary, is on trial at Basildon Crown Court.

She is alleged to have committed misconduct in a public office, breaching the Data Protection Act and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Former local newspaper journalist Smiter is, according to the prosecution’s opening statement yesterday (Monday), alleged to have accessed details on the police database and passed them to the press during 2008.

The 26-year-old is said to have leaked information on a stolen ambulance, an internal email from Hertfordshire Constabulary calling for officers to stump up �12, after a shortage was discovered in an ‘honesty box’, and the name of a member of the public who wrongly claimed police officers had parked in disabled bays at South Mimms service station.

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Prosecutor Richard Scott also said Smiter had passed on details to the press, via a contact called Neil Hyde, who works at the INS news agency.

It was alleged that Mr Hyde was given personal information on an attempted murder victim, details relating to a case of animal cruelty and a break-in on the set of EastEnders.

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Smiter, whose previous trial was abandoned, is also accused of attempting to pervert the course of justice, in relation to two internet blogs, which she claimed were created on January 13, 2009, days before the information was leaked to the press.

Smiter said at that trial the information which later appeared in national newspapers The Sun, The Mirror and The Observer, must have come from the blogs.

But, the prosecution claims the blogs were created by Smiter, during her abortive last trial in May last year, in a ruse to try and prove she was not the source of the leaks.

Mr Scott said the police database was “for legitimate police work – not undercover journalism”.

Smiter (formerly Reeves) worked for the Welwyn Hatfield Times from February 2005 to June 2007.

The trial continues.

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