No evidence in phone hacking probe

No evidence in phone hacking probe

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Claims about Tory communications chief Andy Coulson were made in a New York Times article

There is no evidence to bring criminal charges in the News of the World phone hacking investigation, the Director of Public Prosecutions has said.

Former News of the World reporter Sean Hoare, who made claims about Tory communications chief Andy Coulson in a New York Times article, was questioned by police under caution but refused to comment, Keir Starmer QC said.

Other witnesses also “either refused to co-operate with the police investigation, provided short statements which did not advance matters, or denied any knowledge of wrongdoing”.

Mr Starmer said: “Sean Hoare, who made significant allegations in the New York Times and elsewhere, was interviewed by the police but refused to comment.

“A number of other witnesses were interviewed and either refused to co-operate with the police investigation, provided short statements which did not advance matters, or denied any knowledge of wrongdoing.

“Against that background, there is no admissible evidence upon which the CPS could properly advise the police to bring criminal charges. The contents of the reports in the New York Times and the associated reports and coverage are not enough for criminal proceedings unless those making allegations are prepared to provide the police with admissible evidence to support their assertions.

“None have been prepared to do so.”

A panel of police officers and prosecutors will be put together to investigate any further allegations that are made, Mr Starmer said.

He added: “I have made it clear that a robust attitude needs to be taken to any unauthorised interception. But a criminal prosecution can only take place if those making allegations of wrongdoing are prepared to co-operate with a criminal investigation and to provide admissible evidence of the wrongdoing they allege.

“It is possible that further allegations will be made and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) remains willing to consider any evidence submitted to us by the police. To facilitate this, the CPS and the Metropolitan Police Service intend to convene a panel of police officers and prosecutors to assess those allegations with a view to determining whether or not investigations should take place.”

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