Prosecutors review phone-hacking claims

Prosecutors are to look again at claims of alleged phone hacking by the News of the World, it was announced tonight.

Keir Starmer QC, the director of public prosecutions, said he had ordered an "urgent examination" of material provided by the police three years ago.



The annoucement came as police said they would not be mounting a new investigation into claims thousands of public figures had their phones hacked.





Mr Starmer said he wanted to reassure himself and the public that "appropriate actions" were taken over the material.

He said he expected to make a further statement on the allegations in "coming days".



He added: "I have no reason to consider that there was anything inappropriate in the prosecutions that were undertaken in this case.



"In the light of the fresh allegations that have been made, some preliminary inquiries have been undertaken and I have now ordered an urgent examination of the material that was supplied to the CPS by the police three years ago.



"I am taking this action to satisfy myself and assure the public that the appropriate actions were taken in relation to that material.



"Given the nature of the offences, the amount of material is, of course, extensive and complex, but it has all been located and a small team is now rapidly working through it.



"This process will need to be thorough, so it will necessarily take some time.



"I am only too aware of the need for urgency and I will issue a further statement as soon as this work has been completed.



"I anticipate being in a position to do so in coming days."





Earlier, Scotland Yard ruled out a fresh probe into the allegations, after new claims were made in The Guardian newspaper today.

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner John Yates said police had seen no additional evidence since its last investigation, which ended with the jailing of News of the World royal reporter Clive Goodman in 2007.



Mr Yates also said detectives had found no evidence that former deputy prime minister John Prescott's phone was tapped.



But he said police would now inform any potential victims that their phone may have been hacked where there was any suspicion.



He said: "No additional evidence has come to light since this case has concluded.



"I therefore consider that no further investigation is required.



"However, I do recognise the very real concerns, expressed today by a number of people, who believe that their privacy may have been intruded upon.



"I therefore need to ensure that we have been diligent, reasonable and sensible, and taken all proper steps to ensure that where we have evidence that people have been the subject of any form of phone tapping, or that there is any suspicion that they might have been, that they have been informed."



Goodman was jailed for four months and private investigator Glen Mulcaire for six months after they were found guilty of phone hacking.

The scandal led to the resignation of then News of the World editor Andy Coulson, who is now the Tories' PR chief.



Conservative leader David Cameron has defended his director of communications as Labour MPs lined up to demand his sacking.



The cross-party Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee announced this morning that it was reopening an inquiry it held after Goodman was jailed.



The committee's chairman, Tory MP John Whittingdale, said it would be asking former News International chief Les Hinton whether he wished to amend his previous assertion that no other journalists knew of Mr Goodman's activities.



He said the committee may also call Mr Coulson to give evidence, among several present and former News International executives.



Those allegedly targeted by the News of the World included former deputy prime minister John Prescott, Mayor of London Boris Johnson and celebrities including actress Gwyneth Paltrow and celebrity chef Nigella Lawson.



Mr Yates said the inquiry had not uncovered any evidence to suggest that Mr Prescott's phone had been tapped.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Joe Cocker performing on the Stravinski hall stage during the Montreux Jazz Festival, in Montreux, Switzerland in 2002
musicHe 'turned my song into an anthem', says former Beatle
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballLatest score and Twitter updates
Arts and Entertainment
David Hasselhof in Peter Pan
theatreThe US stars who've taken to UK panto, from Hasselhoff to Hall
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
News
newsIt was due to be auctioned off for charity
Life and Style
A still from a scene cut from The Interview showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's death.
tech
Environment
Sir David Attenborough
environment... as well as a plant and a spider
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'