UK closes four-year-old phone hacking investigation

LONDON: UK today ended its four-year-old probe into the mammoth phone hacking scandal that rocked country''s media establishment and led to the closure of media-moghul Rupert Murdoch''s ''News of the World'' tabloid.

London, December 11

UK today ended its four-year-old probe into the mammoth phone hacking scandal that rocked country's media establishment and led to the closure of media-moghul Rupert Murdoch's 'News of the World' tabloid.

"No further action will be taken against journalists over phone hacking," the UK's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced today.

The body responsible for bringing cases to the court said there was "insufficient evidence" to bring corporate liability charges against Murdoch's News Group or against 10 individuals at the Mirror Group of newspapers.

"After a thorough analysis, we have decided there is insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of a conviction and therefore no further action will be taken in any of these cases," said Alison Saunders, the director of public prosecutions at the CPS.

A total of 12 prosecutions for offences relating to phone hacking were brought and there have been nine convictions over the past few years.

Operation Weeting, the hacking investigation which included looking into corporate liability at News UK, the publisher of the 'Times', the 'Sun', the now defunct 'News of the World', had resulted in a dossier of evidence being passed to the CPS in July this year.

"Potential charges for phone hacking and perverting the course of justice were considered. After thorough analysis of the evidence, it has been decided that no further action will be taken for either charge," the CPS said.

"We have reviewed the evidence in relation to the 'News of the World' employees' conduct during the original police phone-hacking investigation and concluded that there is nothing that these employees could have done which would have altered or affected the resulting prosecution.

"Therefore the company cannot be said to have perverted the course of justice," it added.

News UK, parent company of the News Group, said it welcomed the decision by the CPS.

"We now relish the chance to focus fully on what this company does best – world class professional journalism," a spokesperson for the company said.

Scotland Yard began an investigation into phone hacking in 2011, which eventually led to the conviction of the former 'News of the World' editor Andy Coulson.

Murdoch-owned 'News of the World', which was Britain's biggest-selling newspaper, was eventually shut down.

The former spokesman for No. 10 Downing Street, was also jailed for 18 months for conspiracy to hack phones in July 2014. — PTI

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