Prosecutors consider phone hacking charges

2012-04-18 15:00
London - British prosecutors said on Wednesday they are considering criminal charges against 11 people in four cases related to investigations into tabloid phone hacking and other alleged misconduct by reporters.

Four reporters, one police officer and six other people are involved in the four cases - which relate to allegations of misconduct in public office, an attempt to pervert the course of justice, witness intimidation and offenses under the country's surveillance laws.

In a statement, Britain's Crown Prosecution Service refused to disclose the identities of those involved, or give any estimate on when decisions on potential prosecutions may be reached.

"We are unable to give any timescale for charging decisions, except to say that these cases are being considered very carefully and thoroughly, and the decisions will be made as soon as is practicable," the service said in a statement.

The cases are the first to be referred to prosecutors since police widened their inquiries into allegations of criminality by reporters following a wave of public revulsion at the extent of tabloid tactics.

Police are currently carrying out three parallel investigations into alleged bribery of public officials, phone hacking and computer hacking, which grew out of revelations that journalists at the News of the World routinely intercepted voice mails of those in the public eye.

News Corp chief Rupert Murdoch closed down the 168-year-old tabloid in July and the scandal triggered a judge-led public inquiry into media ethics.

At least 25 past and present employees of News International - the British newspaper division of Murdoch's News Corp - have been arrested in the police investigations, including Rebekah Brooks, former chief executive of News International, and Andy Coulson, former editor of the News of the World and Prime Minister David Cameron's ex-communications director.

Read more on:    news corp  |  rupert murdoch  |  david cameron  |  uk hacking scandal

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