Six ex-News of the World journalists avoid charges for phone hacking

Andy Coulson was convicted in June and jailed for 18 months for conspiracy to hack phones

Six journalists have been told they will not be charged over phone hacking at the now defunct News of the World.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said there was insufficient evidence to charge six of the eight people investigated over hacking linked to the features desk of the tabloid. Five of them had been on bail for 17 months. Evidence against two others remains under consideration, said the CPS.

The eight were being investigated under the “Pinetree” strand of the hacking inquiry, which was focused on the features desk.

Andy Coulson was convicted in June and jailed for 18 months for conspiracy to hack phones after a trial that focused on the news operation at the newspaper.

The trial saw five others – including the former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks – cleared of all charges.

Gregor McGill, a senior lawyer at the CPS, said: “Following a careful review of the evidence, we have now reached decisions in relation to six of the individuals referred to us under Operation Pinetree. The evidence in relation to two further suspects remains under consideration.

“Due to the ongoing review of evidence relating to the two remaining suspects in the case file, we are unable to provide further reasoning for our decisions at this stage. We will, of course, consider what more can be said concerning these decisions in future.”