End of Hacking Prosecutions: Piers Gets Off

The Crown Prosecution Service have signalled the end of phone hacking trials after dropping their investigations into ten individuals at Mirror Group:

“The CPS has looked in great detail at the comprehensive files submitted to us by the police, both in relation to corporate liability at News Group Newspapers and against 10 individuals at Mirror Group Newspapers for alleged phone hacking.

“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.

“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.”

Someone is very happy:

So no more embarrassments in court for the embattled CPS. Worth noting that Mirror Group have paid out huge sums in settlements to people accusing them of hacking. Yet the CPS say there is insufficient evidence to prosecute…

UPDATE: This is the CPS statement on Mirror Group. They say their activities were “suspicious” but they couldn’t put forward whistleblowing former staff as witnesses:

Ten files were considered by the CPS as part of Operation Golding, relating to allegations of phone hacking at Mirror Group Newspapers. These files concerned ten individual journalists who worked at Mirror Group Newspapers. It has been determined there is insufficient evidence against any individual suspect to provide a realistic prospect of conviction for phone hacking.

In reaching this decision, we considered a number of strands of evidence, including scrutiny of suspicious call data. The call data showed a regular pattern of two calls being placed to the same number (double tapping) and also a large number of calls placed to voicemail platform numbers. However, it is not possible to prove the fact that the ‘double taps’ and calls to voicemail platform numbers are definitely instances of phone hacking. In addition, it was common practice at Mirror Group Newspapers for journalists to use one another’s telephones, and so it is not possible to determine which individuals were responsible for making specific calls.

Whilst the call data was deemed suspicious it could not be said with certainty that it showed instances of phone hacking by any specific individual and was ultimately found to be insufficient to bring a prosecution.

We considered statements from two potential witnesses, both former employees of the Sunday Mirror, who made direct allegations against certain individuals. Following thorough scrutiny of the allegations we decided we were unable to put either forward as a prosecution witness.

The first stage of the Full Code Test is that there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction against each suspect on each charge. Without the evidence passing the first stage a prosecution in any individual case cannot take place.




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