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Swanscombe prison officer jailed for leaking information to journalists loses appeal

PUBLISHED: 12:17 20 October 2016 | UPDATED: 12:17 20 October 2016

General views of Belmarsh prison

General views of Belmarsh prison

Archant

Robert Norman, 54, was found guilty at the Old Bailey of committing misconduct in a public office while working at HMP Belmarsh in Thamesmead

A prison officer who was jailed for 20 months for being the paid mole of a tabloid journalist has lost his appeal against conviction.

Robert Norman, 54, was found guilty at the Old Bailey in June last year of committing misconduct in a public office while working at HMP Belmarsh in Thamesmead, which was home to a number of high-profile prisoners.

The court heard that between April 2006 and May 2011, he was paid £10,684 by the Daily Mirror and the News of the World for 40 tips to reporter Stephen Moyes.

Norman, of Milton Street, Swanscombe, denied wrongdoing and maintained he had acted in the public interest as a whistleblower to highlight problems at the prison.

Jailing Norman, the Common Serjeant of London, Richard Marks, said that was not his sole motivation.

He said he had decided on an immediate custodial sentence because of the “scope and scale of the offending”, but had reduced the term from 30 to 20 months after hearing he was the sole carer for his sick wife.

During the trial, prosecutor Julian Christopher QC said Norman - who became a prison officer in 1992 and was a member of the Prison Officers Association, acting as union representative to colleagues - effectively became “the journalist’s paid mole” at Belmarsh.

At the Court of Appeal on Thursday, Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas, Mr Justice Popplewell and Mr Justice Goss dismissed Norman’s appeal.

They said: “We have considered all the circumstances of the case and the conduct of the proceedings and the trial and are satisfied that the conviction was safe.”

Charges against Mr Moyes were dropped following a root-and-branch review of Operation Elveden cases by the Crown Prosecution Service.

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