Prosecutor questions evidence of Met's Yates

Britain's top criminal prosecutor has challenged Scotland Yard over its justification for limiting the scope of its original inquiry into phone hacking.

In a letter to the Home Affairs Select Committee, Keir Starmer QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions, took issue with the evidence given to the committee last week by Acting Deputy Commissioner John Yates. Mr Yates had repeatedly stressed the inquiry had been limited by Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) advice that officers had to prove messages had not been heard by their intended recipients before they were intercepted.

According to Mr Starmer, the CPS advised the Met did not have to prove that under the Computer Misuse Act or the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA). "I accept... that provisionally there might have been a narrow definition of RIPA," Mr Starmer testified in person.

"But alongside that they were aware of, advised of, and were proceeding on the basis that the other offences were to be investigated and were available. They were not given advice by the CPS that limited their investigation."