No further charges on News of the World phone hacking case

NO further charges will be brought over the News of the World phone hacking scandal because witnesses refused to co-operate with police, the Director of Public Prosecutions said.

Keir Starmer QC said the Sunday paper’s former reporter Sean Hoare made claims in a New York Times article about the prime minister’s communications chief Andy Coulson, who has faced calls to resign over the matter.

But Hoare refused to comment when questioned by police while other witnesses “either refused to co-operate with the police investigation, provided short statements which did not advance matters, or denied any knowledge of wrongdoing”, Starmer said.

Coulson was editor of the News of the World in 2007 when its royal editor Clive Goodman was jailed for conspiracy to access phone messages involving Princes William and Harry, but always denied any knowledge of the practice.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) was asked to consider the case when a Scotland Yard inquiry was revived after an investigation by the New York Times which alleged that the practice was more widespread at the paper than previously admitted.

But yesterday 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.”

A panel of police officers and prosecutors will be put together to investigate any further allegations that are made in the future.

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