Guardian hacking journalist David Leigh won't be charged


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The Independent Online

A Guardian journalist who admitted phone hacking will not be prosecuted, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said today.

David Leigh, the paper's investigations executive editor, admitted hacking an arms company executive's phone.

But today the CPS said that although the police investigation was not complete, its view was that Mr Leigh should not be prosecuted and the police have been advised accordingly.

Mr Leigh made the admission in an article after former News of the World royal reporter Clive Goodman pleaded guilty in December 2006 to intercepting voicemail messages left on royal aides' phones.

He said in the article that he had got a "voyeuristic thrill" from listening to the voicemail messages.

The CPS statement said: "As we said on April 18, the CPS was passed a file relating to one journalist with relation to alleged offences under RIPA (Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act).

"The journalist in question is David Leigh of The Guardian and the request for advice related to an article he wrote on December 4, 2006 and the evidence he gave to the Leveson Inquiry on that subject.

"We have now considered this file and, although the investigation is not complete, the view has been taken that this is one of those rare cases in which it is clear that, prior to the collection and consideration of all the evidence, the public interest does not require a prosecution. The police have been advised accordingly.

"This advice was given under paragraph 4.2 of the Code for Crown Prosecutors and having considered the interim guidelines on assessing the public interest in cases affecting the media.

"In summary, the guidelines say that prosecutors should consider whether the public interest served by the conduct in question outweighs the overall criminality.

"If the answer is yes, it is less likely that a prosecution is required in the public interest.

"Prosecutors are only able to take such a decision when they are satisfied that the broad extent of the alleged criminality has been determined and that they are able to make a fully informed assessment of the public interest.

"This is not a charging decision based on a review of a full file of evidence, but is advice to the police before their investigation is complete.

"Whilst it is a matter for the police whether to continue any investigation, regardless of advice received, we understand the decision has been taken that no further action will be taken."

In a separate development, three people were arrested at around 6am today by police investigating allegations of inappropriate payments to police and public officials.

A 40-year-old man and 37-year-old woman were arrested at their homes in Corby, Northamptonshire, while a 31-year-old man was arrested at his home in Croydon, Surrey.

The 40-year-old, believed to be a former prison officer, was arrested on suspicion of corruption, suspicion of misconduct in a public office and suspicion of money laundering offences; the woman on suspicion of aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office and suspicion of money laundering offences; and the other man on suspicion of conspiracy to corrupt and suspicion of conspiracy to cause misconduct in a public office.

The 40-year-old and the woman are being questioned at a police station in Northamptonshire.

The 31-year-old man is being questioned at a south London police station.

Today's arrests bring the number of suspects held in connection with Operation Elveden to 33.

Scotland Yard said the arrests are the result of information provided by News Corporation's Management Standards Committee.

A News International spokeswoman confirmed that one of the three individuals arrested today is a Sun journalist.

She said she could not reveal the identity of the arrested person.