A relevant official commits a criminal offence if they wrongfully disclose PTI (see RSTP9002). A person who commits such an offence is liable:
- on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term up to 12 months and/or a fine not exceeding £10,000 (the statutory maximum); or
- on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term up to 2 years and/or an unlimited fine.
It is a defence for a person charged with such an offence to show that they reasonably believed that the disclosure was lawful or that the information disclosed had already lawfully been made public. A disclosure can lawfully be made by a relevant official under RSTP9004, RSTP9005 or RSTP9006, read with RSTP9007.
Wrongful disclosure of PTI would also be a serious disciplinary matter for the relevant official concerned. Depending on the circumstances we may pursue other remedies such as dismissal and for civil proceedings for breach of confidence.
Persons other than relevant officials, for example members of the public or journalists, are not subject to the specific criminal offence mentioned above but in the event of any wrongful dealing in PTI or other confidential information we may pursue remedies such as proceedings relating to breach of confidence.