Phone hacking: Met hands file to CPS

Scotland Yard has come in for considerable criticism over the phone hacking allegations
Scotland Yard has come in for considerable criticism over the phone hacking allegations

By Ian Dunt

The chances of further prosecutions over phone hacking at news of the World increased today after the Metropolitan police handed a file to the Crown Prosecution Service.

The file contains "new material in connection with phone hacking", the Met said in a statement.

The file will now be considered by the CPS, who will assess whether there is a realistic chance of prosecution before proceeding.

The decision to pass the CPS the file brings to a close another chapter in the long-running saga of phone hacking at news of the World.

Andy Coulson, editor at the time of the allegations and now director of communications at Downing Street, has managed to survive the row up to now, despite repeated demands from the Labour benches that David Cameron sack him.

The police have come in for severe criticism over the affair. They closed the case after royal editor Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire were jailed in 2007.

A Guardian investigation last year reopened the issue, but the Met insisted there was no new evidence and therefore no reason to re-open the case.

This year, a New York Times investigation finally managed to drag the allegations back into the media spotlight, resulting in the police re-opening the case.

Requests from the Met for access to the new evidence held by the two newspapers were met with bemusement from Guardian and New York Times editors, who insisted their stories concerned evidence the Met already had access to.

Some sources suggested the Met closed the investigation because it did not want to jeopardise its relationship with the News of the World.

But the vast number of celebrities affected, from politicians to sportsmen and entertainment stars, poured immense pressure on the police, the News of the World and the Tory party, as all three struggled to defend themselves from blame.

Mr Coulson was interviewed by police earlier this month.


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