Paul Brunt, a former soldier from North London, had his name cleared once and for all when he was found not guilty of misconduct in a trial at the Old Bailey.
Mr Brunt was accused of breaching the public’s trust by selling stories about Prince Harry’s regiment to The Sun and News of the World and had reportedly received payments of over £16,000 from News International in 2006 and 2007. The jurors were told that he was the one who first told the press about the fancy dress Christmas parade that eventually made headlines as “Swastika Shame of Prince Harry’s Regiment”. This information allegedly resulted in a £5,000 payday for the veteran.
However, Mr Brunt denied two counts of misconduct, and it eventually took the jury less than three hours to acquit him.
Once outside the court, Mr Brunt spoke about his relief at the end of the ordeal. “I’m just so glad it’s over obviously,” he said. “I’m really, really grateful. I’m happy that I can spent time with my two children over Christmas which was my main worry.”
“I just want to thank everyone for their support and bearing with me, especially my fiancee who has gone through as much as me over the last two years. It obviously has an effect on your life because you are in constant fear of being sent to prison. I’m just really grateful the public have seen through all that.”
“I understand that the laws are there. I accept speaking to the press is wrong but everyone from the Armed Forces do need to be aware there are legal consequences they could face,” the former soldier added.
The jury were not informed that this was in fact a retrial, and that the Court of Appeal had quashed Mr Brunt’s earlier conviction this spring. This was the last of a series of trials related to Operation Elveden, the Metropolitan Police’s investigations into alleged corrupt payments to public officials for confidential information.
Prince Harry joined the Blues and Royals Regiment in 2006, after graduating from The Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. After completing his Troop Leader’s Course in October of the same year, Harry was responsible for a troop of 11 soldiers and 4 reconnaissance vehicles. In 2008, the Prince was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant with The Household Cavalry (Blues and Royals). Prince Harry has undertaken two operational tours of Afghanistan and promoted to the rank of Captain in 2011. However, earlier this year it was announced that His Royal Highness was to leave operational service, after nearly 10 years in the Armed Forces.