The Irish Times
No further action in UK over tabloid phone hacking allegations
Prosecutors ended one of the biggest scandals in British journalism yesterday saying they would take no more action over phone hacking charges against two of the country’s largest newspaper groups.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said in a statement it would not pursue a corporate charge against Rupert Murdoch’s News UK and individual charges against 10 people at rival publisher Mirror Group Newspapers.
Among the people no longer facing the threat of possible prosecution is former Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan, who said on Twitter: “I’m now going to get spectacularly drunk. Happy Christmas.”
Reporters on both groups’ tabloid newspapers have admitted hacking into phones to find stories, a practice that caused uproar when it became public in 2011, resulting in the closure of Murdoch’s News of the World title.
The CPS said it had brought 12 prosecutions and secured nine convictions for hacking over the last three years, but would take no further action.
“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 Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders.
“These decisions bring the CPS’s involvement in current investigations into phone hacking to a close.”
An eight-month trial into hacking featuring some of the most high-profile names involved in the scandal ended in June last year after shaking the political establishment.
It forced an apology from prime minister David Cameron for hiring former News of the World editor Andy Coulson as his communications director.
Coulson was convicted of conspiracy to intercept messages. Rebekah Brooks, the former boss of Murdoch’s British newspaper arm, was acquitted.
Morgan, a presenter of ITV’s Good Morning Britain programme, edited the Mirror from 1995 to 2004. He had been twice questioned by police over phone hacking at the paper but was never charged.
“As I’ve said since the investigation began four years ago, I’ve never hacked a phone and nor have I ever told anybody to hack a phone,” he said on Twitter.