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Blackfriars Crown Court gave four men two-year conditional discharges last week over charges relating to their sale to the press of confidential data held by the police national computer on celebrities, according to reports.

Two private investigators, John Boyall and Stephen Whittamore, civilian police worker Paul Marshall, and retired police officer Alan King, were involved in a conspiracy to sell details relating to actor Ricky Tomlinson, London Mayor Ken Livingstone and EastEnders actress Jessie Wallace.

According to reports, on 19 occasions, Marshall, who worked at Wandsworth Police Station, carried out unauthorised Police National Computer searches and passed the information on through intermediaries King and sometimes Boyall, to Whittamore, who peddled the data to the newspapers.

Such actions are in breach of the UK's Data Protection Act.

According to the Guardian newspaper both Marshall and King pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office, while Whittamore and Boyall pleaded guilty to breaches of the Data Protection Act.

All four men received a two-year conditional discharge.

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OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

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