UK phone hacking probe brought to a close

  • 12/12/2015
UK phone hacking probe brought to a close

By Robin Millard

British prosecutors have closed their mammoth phone hacking probe, ending a four-year investigation that rocked the political and media establishment to the core.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) on Friday (local time) said it would take no further action against News Group Newspapers (NGN), global media baron Rupert Murdoch's British tabloid publisher.

England's state prosecutors also said there would be no further action against 10 journalists from the rival Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) - among them former Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan.

The phone hacking scandal, which first emerged in 2006 and resurfaced explosively in 2011, engulfed top newspaper executives, police chiefs and politicians.

It swiftly sank the expose-led News of the World weekly tabloid, which was Britain's biggest-selling newspaper.

The probes into voicemail interception and other alleged media crimes amounted to the biggest police investigation in British history.

Several journalists from Murdoch's publications have been individually convicted of voicemail interception offences.

But since July, the CPS was also considering whether to prosecute NGN as a whole for corporate liability.

It was further deciding whether to bring phone hacking charges against 10 MGN journalists.

But Alison Saunders, the director of public prosecutions, announced the CPS was dropping both probes.

"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," she said.

"There has been considerable public concern about phone hacking and invasion of privacy. Over the past three years, we have brought 12 prosecutions and secured nine convictions for these serious offences.

"These decisions bring the CPS's involvement in current investigations into phone hacking to a close."