The head of news at The Sun newspaper has a told court of the “nightmare” of working with former editor Rebekah Brooks and the “phenomenal” amount of pressure he was under.
Chris Pharo, 45, is one of six journalists and senior staff at the newspaper on trial over allegations of corrupt payments to officials.
Yesterday, Judge Richard Marks QC ordered the jury at Kingston Crown Court in south London to clear the men of an “overarching conspiracy” which alleged they had all been in a single agreement with a number of public officials and other journalists.
But they are still charged with conspiring separately in “sub-plots” with staff at Broadmoor secure hospital, police officers and prison officials.
And the prosecution continues to maintain that there was a “culture” at the newspaper of paying bribes to public officials for confidential information.
Pharo told the court of a number of occasions when he was humiliated and threatened with dismissal by his then editor Mrs Brooks, who at the time was known as Rebekah Wade, and said he would receive up to 25 “ridiculous” and “extremely unpleasant” emails in a morning when he was news editor.
After one meeting, during which she had repeatedly sworn at him, she slammed the door so hard that the handle fell off and he and his colleagues were left stuck inside the room.
She once sent an email to around 3,500 people in the company complaining that her “idiot news editor” could not find any stories.
Pharo now faces a total of four charges of conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office, while ex-managing editor Graham Dudman and ex-Sun deputy news editor Ben O’Driscoll are accused of three.
Thames Valley district reporter Jamie Pyatt and picture editor John Edwards are charged with two counts each and ex-Sun reporter John Troup is accused of one count. All deny the charges against them.