A former reporter with the Sunday Mirror today became the first journalist to be charged with phone hacking offences allegedly committed outside newspapers owned by Rupert Murdoch.
Dan Evans, 37, first arrested two years ago in connection with Scotland Yard’s investigation into illegal newsgathering techniques, is accused of plotting with unnamed others to intercept voicemails of “well-known people and those associated with them” while he was employed by the Sunday Mirror and later at The News of the World.
Two of the four charges announced by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) are linked to illegal phone hacking and relate to a time when Evans was at the Sunday Mirror.
Trinity Mirror confirmed to The Independent that Evans, from Kilburn, west London, joined their leading Sunday title in late 2002 and left at the end of 2004.
The group’s spokesman said the company was continuing to co-operate with the “on-going police investigation” adding: “We are unable to comment further because of the investigation.”
Evans, a former features writer, left the Sunday Mirror to join its Murdoch-owned rival, The News of the World, in early 2005.
One charge - conspiring to access mobile phone messages – covers a period which overlaps his employment first at the Mirror and then at the Murdoch title.
Announcing the decision to charge Evans, Gregor McGill, a senior CPS lawyer, said “We have concluded that there is sufficient evidence, and it is in the public interest, to charge Daniel Evans with four offences in connection with the phone hacking investigations.”
All charges relate to the Metropolitan Police’s ongoing investigations, Weeting and Elveden, into hacking and the payment of bribes by journalists to public officials.
The first charge, relating to the period of Evans’ employment by Mirror Group, alleges that “between 28 February 2003 and January 2005 [Evans] conspired with others to intercept communications in the course of their transmission, without lawful authority, namely the voicemail messages of well-known people and those associated with them”.
The second charge, also alleging illegal communications interception, relates to the period 30 April 2004 to 1 June 2010.
This covers a six year period when Evans was initially at the Sunday Mirror and subsequently at the top-selling Murdoch tabloid, which was closed in 2011 following revelations about the hacking of the mobile phone of the murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.
Evans is also charged in connection with Scotland Yard’s investigation into alleged payment of bribes by journalists to public officials.
He is further alleged to have conspired with others “to commit misconduct in public life” between 1 January 2008 and I June 2010.
The final charge alleges that between 21 June 2009 and 30 April 2010, he “committed an act which had a tendency to pervert the course of justice, namely making a false statement in connection with proceedings before the High Court.”
Four journalists currently or previously employed by Trinity Mirror, including former Sunday Mirror editor Tina Weaver, who edited the title between 2001 and 2012, were arrested earlier this year on suspicion of conspiracy to intercept voicemails.
Evans is due to appear before Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.