Starmer defends CPS's role in phone-hack probe

The director of public prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, today defended the Crown Prosecution Service’s role in the News of the World phone-hacking investigation.

Starmer was giving oral evidence to the home affairs select committee and appeared to contradict John Yates, the acting deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, who had stated that the Crown Prosecution Service legal advice had limited his investigation because of its legal interpretation.

Starmer said he believed that ‘the legal advice given by the CPS to the Metropolitan police on the interpretation of the relevant offences did not limit the scope and extent of the criminal investigation”.

In his detailed letter to the select committee before the hearing, Starmer stated that the
Metropolitan Police had been advised that interception of voicemails was an offence under the
Computer Misuse Act, whether the intended recipients had heard the messages already or not.

Starmer added that he had shared his timeline of legal advice with Mr Yates and no “factual inaccuracies” were identified.

Keith Vaz, who chairs the committee, said the issue was of ‘huge public concern’and he said the CPS’s handling appeared to have been ‘chaotic”.

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