Tags: Charges | News | Phone | Hacking

Prosecutors Weigh Charges in News Corp. Phone-Hacking Probe

Wednesday, 18 April 2012 08:07 AM

U.K. prosecutors received police files outlining possible criminal charges against at least one journalist, a police officer and six members of the public in a phone-hacking probe of News Corp.’s News of the World tabloid.

The files concern violations of Britain’s data-protection law, perverting the course of justice, witness intimidation and other offenses, the Crown Prosecution Service said today in a statement. Police have been investigating News Corp.’s U.K. titles on suspicion of intercepting mobile-phone voice mail, hacking into computers and bribing public officials.

“We are unable to give any timescale for charging decisions, except to say that these cases are being considered very carefully and thoroughly,” CPS said in the statement, without identifying the suspects.

The allegations already triggered a judge-led inquiry into media ethics that has pulled in News Corp.’s competitors and heard testimony from victims. News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch and his son, Deputy Chief Operating Officer James Murdoch, are scheduled to testify at the inquiry in London next week, according to a person familiar with the matter who declined to be identified because the witness list hasn’t been published.

Brooks, Coulson

The scandal, involving journalists intercepting the voice mail of politicians and celebrities, led to the arrests of more than 30 people including Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive officer of News Corp.’s British publishing unit, and former News of the World editor Andy Coulson, who served as press chief to U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron.

The information from the Metropolitan Police Service was included in four files on possible charges, with each file involving one unidentified journalist. CPS spokesman Calum Grant declined to say whether the files involve separate journalists.

One file involves a journalist and a police officer in relation to misconduct in a public office and offenses of the data protection act. Another file relates to a journalist and six members of the public accused of perverting the course of justice. The two other files concern a journalist involved in witness intimidation and a law covering data interception.

A message left at the press office of News Corp.’s U.K. unit, News International, wasn’t immediately returned.

Rupert Murdoch shuttered the News of the World in July after revelations it hacked the voice mail of a murdered schoolgirl in 2002. Civil lawsuits against the company also shed light on evidence proving the practice was more widespread than News Corp. claimed, triggering the new police probes.

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Wednesday, 18 April 2012 08:07 AM
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