The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said 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 individuals no longer facing the threat of possible prosecution is former CNN television host andeditor Piers Morgan, who said on his Twitter account: “I’m now going to get spectacularly drunk. Happy Christmas.”
I'm now going to get spectacularly drunk. Happy Christmas.— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) December 11, 2015
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’stitle.
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 British prime minister David Cameron for hiring formerjournalist 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, 50, currently a presenter of ITV’scurrent affairs program, edited the from 1995 to 2004. He had been twice questioned by police over phone hacking at the paper but was never charged.
“I’ve today been informed by CPS that no further action will be taken against me re Met Police phone hacking investigation,” he said on Twitter.
I've today been informed by CPS that no further action will be taken against me re Met Police phone hacking investigation. mf— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) December 11, 2015
“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.”
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. mf— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) December 11, 2015
Trinity Mirror confirmed in a statement that no further action would be taken against its journalists but made no comment on the decision.
News UK welcomed the decision not to pursue a corporate charge.
“Long ago, we apologised for the conduct that occurred, immediately took steps to pay compensation to those affected, and updated and instituted substantial reforms in our business to ensure our governance is second to none,” the media group said in a statement.
“This matter has been concluded and the right decision has been taken.”