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'Guardian' journalist Amelia Hill not charged over hacking leak

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The Guardian newspaper

© Digital Spy / Tom Mansell

Guardian journalist Amelia Hill will not be charged over the alleged leak of sensitive information about the police phone hacking inquiry, it has been confirmed.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said today that Hill would not face prosecution over "unauthorised disclosures", and neither would a detective constable for Scotland Yard's Operation Weeting investigation.

However, prosecutors said that they will be calling for disciplinary proceedings to be brought against the officer over alleged breaches of the Data Protection Act.

The unnamed officer has been on suspension since he was arrested in August 2011 by officers from the police directorate of professional standards.

Hill was not arrested at the time, but did come in for questioning under caution last September.

Alison Levitt QC, principal legal advisor to the Director of Public Prosecutions, said that Hill had written 10 articles between April 2011 and August 2011 which "contained confidential information derived from Operation Weeting, including the names of those who had been arrested".

But in a lengthy statement, Levitt said that there is "insufficient evidence" against Hill or the officer to "provide a realistic prospect of conviction for the common law offence of misconduct in a public office or conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office".

"In this case, there is no evidence that the police officer was paid any money for the information he provided," she said.

"Moreover, the information disclosed by the police officer, although confidential, was not highly sensitive. It did not expose anyone to a risk of injury or death.

"It did not compromise the investigation. And the information in question would probably have made it into the public domain by some other means, albeit at some later stage."

Levitt said that the public interest was served in Hill's alleged criminal conduct in that she was working with other journalists on articles that were "capable of disclosing the commission of criminal offences, were intended to hold others to account, including the Metropolitan Police Service and the Crown Prosecution Service, and were capable of raising and contributing to an important matter of public debate, namely the nature and extent of the influence of the media".

She added: "The alleged overall criminality is the breach of the Data Protection Act, but, as already noted, any damage caused by Ms Hill's alleged disclosure was minimal.

"In the circumstances, I have decided that in her case, the public interest outweighs the overall criminality alleged."

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