Phone-hacking suspect released without charge

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The Independent Online

The former News of the World reporter who became a lecturer and was arrested in Northumbria last week in connection with phone hacking, was released yesterday with Scotland Yard saying "no further action" would be taken.

Bethany Usher, 31, a lecturer in journalism studies at Teesside University, said she had never been involved in the interception of telecommunications "in any way". A statement from Operation Weeting, the Metropolitan Police's specialist unit investigating the illegal activities inside the NOTW, said Ms Usher had initially been released on bail pending further inquiries but had since been released and no further action would be taken.

Ms Usher, a former Young Journalist of the Year in 2003, who also worked at The People, said she would later be delivering her own response to the period between her arrest and release.

The release of Ms Usher came after officers from Operation Weeting re-arrested Glenn Mulcaire in connection with allegations of phone hacking. Mulcaire was jailed in 2007 along with the NOTW's former royal correspondent over the illegal interception of voicemails. So far there have been 18 arrests since Operation Weeting started in January.

The inquiry into press standards, chaired by Lord Leveson, heard yesterday that the ethical dimensions contained in the training of journalists were a "small corner" on the current diploma curriculum. Professor Brian Cathcart of Kingston University and Professor George Brock of City University said current journalism courses were servants of the industry and were led by commercial priorities rather than influenced by professional ethics.

The inquiry heard that ethics took a back-seat when the pressures of a newsroom were felt by new entrants. Professor Steven Barnett of the University of Westminster, said instilling "moral courage" remained an industry problem.

The inquiry will today hear from the former Information Commissioner, Richard Thomas.