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'Guardian' journalist escapes prosecution over hacking

By
The Guardian newspaper

© Digital Spy / Tom Mansell

The Guardian journalist David Leigh has escaped prosecution for admitting that he had hacked a voicemail as part of an investigation into corrupt arms deals.

Police officers for Operation Weeting, the Metropolitan Police investigation into phone hacking by journalists, had passed a file on Leigh to the CPS on April 18.

This asked for advice on a potential prosecution over an article published in The Guardian on December 4, 2006, along with evidence he gave to the Leveson Inquiry into media ethics last year.

Leigh had admitted to accessing the voicemail while working on the story about corrupt arms deals, but claimed the public interest defence while speaking under oath to the Leveson Inquiry in December, 2011.

Today (June 14), the CPS said that it has advised the police that in Leigh's case "the public interest does not require a prosecution".

The CPS went on to report that the Met now no longer intends to pursue a prosecution of the journalist.

> Guardian journalist Amelia Hill not charged over hacking leak

"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," the CPS spokesperson stated.

"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."

In a statement issued to The Guardian, Leigh said: "This shows that the DPP's new guidelines, designed to protect journalists acting in the public interest, have worked well in this case.

"I deliberately publicised, in a 2006 Guardian article, the incident involving me. This was in order to stimulate debate about the difference between legitimate investigative journalism, and the wholesale criminal industry apparently taking place at News International."

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