David Leigh won't be charged over phone-hacking

David Leigh, The Guardian investigations executive editor who admitted phone-hacking in 2006, was told today that he will not face prosecution.

Leigh admitted listening to the voicemails of a 'corrupt'arms company executive in a December 2006 article in The Guardian, admitting he got a 'voyeuristic thrill in hearing another person's private messages".

But Leigh insisted he had intercepted the voicemails to expose 'bribery and corruption", not 'tittle tattle". He also admitted using ‘blagging' techniques to get stories.

Today the Crown Prosecution Service said it was not in the public interest to pursue a case against Leigh.

In a statement it said: 'As we said on April 18, the CPS was passed a file relating to one journalist with relation to alleged offences under RIPA (Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act).

"The journalist in question is David Leigh of The Guardian and the request for advice related to an article he wrote on December 4, 2006 and the evidence he gave to the Leveson Inquiry on that subject.

"We have now considered this file and, although the investigation is not complete, the view has been taken that this is one of those rare cases in which it is clear that, prior to the collection and consideration of all the evidence, the public interest does not require a prosecution. The police have been advised accordingly.

"This advice was given under paragraph 4.2 of the Code for Crown Prosecutors and having considered the interim guidelines on assessing the public interest in cases affecting the media.

"In summary, the guidelines say that prosecutors should consider whether the public interest served by the conduct in question outweighs the overall criminality.

"If the answer is yes, it is less likely that a prosecution is required in the public interest."

It added: 'Prosecutors are only able to take such a decision when they are satisfied that the broad extent of the alleged criminality has been determined and that they are able to make a fully informed assessment of the public interest.

"This is not a charging decision based on a review of a full file of evidence, but is advice to the police before their investigation is complete.

"Whilst it is a matter for the police whether to continue any investigation, regardless of advice received, we understand the decision has been taken that no further action will be taken."

Last month Guardian journalist Amelia Hill was also told she would not be prosecuted in relation to allegations she received confidential information from an officer working on the Met's phone-hacking probe Operation Weeting.

When he appeared at the Leveson Inquiry in December, Leigh said that phone-hacking could be justified if it was in the public interest and exposed corruption

He added: 'I like to think that if the incident I have described came to the attentions of the DPP [Director of Public Prosecutions], and I was asked about it, the DPP would conclude that there was no public interest in seeking to prosecute me or another person for doing something like that. That is a backstop that the law has to stop it making an ass of itself.'

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