Prosecutors will not reopen NoW phone-tapping probe

The director of public prosecutions has said he will not reopen an investigation into the two men at the centre of the News of the World phone-hacking row.

Keir Starmer said in a statement issued yesterday afternoon that “it would not be appropriate” to take a second look at criminal cases brought against the pair after the Guardian published fresh allegations last week.

But he did not rule out new action by the Crown Prosecution Service against others if new evidence is collected by the police.

News of the World reporter Clive Goodman and private investigator Glen Mulcaire were both jailed in 2007 for plotting to intercept phone messages.

Starmer called for an urgent review of material as a result of claims hundreds of public figures were targeted by telephone hackers.

He said he was satisfied prosecutors made the right decisions after being supplied with all relevant material.

“There has been much speculation about whether or not persons other than those identified above were the victims of unlawful interception of their mobile telephones,” the statement read.

“There has also been much speculation about whether other suspects were identified or investigated at the time.

“Having examined the material that was supplied to the CPS by the police in this case, I can confirm that no victims or suspects other than those referred to above were identified to the CPS at the time.

“I am not in a position to say whether the police had any information on any other victims or suspects that was not passed to the CPS.

“In light of my findings, it would not be appropriate to re-open the cases against Goodman or Mulcaire, or to revisit the decisions taken in the course of investigating and prosecuting them.

“However, if and insofar as there may now be further information relating to other possible victims and suspects, that should be reported to the police who have responsibility for deciding whether or not to conduct a criminal investigation.

“I have no power to direct the police to conduct any such investigation.”

Goodman and Mulciare were convicted of illegally accessing answering messages left on the phones of members of the royal household and several celebrities.

During the 2007 trial, the jury heard that documents found at Mulcaire’s office included details of other celebrities, politicians and household names who had been targeted.

The Guardian last week claimed the phone-hacking scam went far wider. It said former deputy prime minister John Prescott, PR agent Max Clifford, London mayor Boris Johnson and actress Gwyneth Paltrow were among the victims.

Starmer said that prosecutors were aware of evidence that others were targeted but chose to focus on up to six victims for the court case.

He said this was a common approach in court cases where the evidence could become too unwieldy and potentially confusing.

In his statement, he also said police wanted to charge one other unnamed suspect, not linked to a national newspaper.

He said: “On analysis there was insufficient evidence to prosecute the suspect and a decision was made in November 2006 not to charge.”

Earlier this week, two senior News of the World journalists were accused by Guardian journalist Nick Davies of involvement in the scandal during his appearance before the Commons culture, media and sport select committee.

Chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck was said to have received transcripts of intercepted calls and assistant editor Greg Miskiw allegedly offered a large bonus to Mulcaire for bringing in a key story.

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