LONDON — U.K. prosecutors have decided that there is insufficient evidence to bring charges of corporate liability against Rupert Murdoch’s News Group Newspapers regarding phone hacking at the shuttered News of the World newspaper, and allegations that the group “perverted the course of justice.”
News Group Newspapers is part of News UK, which is owned by Murdoch’s News Corp. News UK’s CEO is Rebekah Brooks, who was formerly chief executive of News International, the group that published the News of the World.
Prosecutors have also decided that no charges would be brought against 10 employees of Mirror Group Newspapers, including former Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan, for alleged phone hacking.
“The Crown Prosecution Service has looked in great detail at the comprehensive files submitted to us by the police, both in relation to corporate liability at News Group Newspapers and against 10 individuals at Mirror Group Newspapers for alleged phone hacking,” Alison Saunders, director of public prosecutions, said Friday.
“After a thorough analysis, we have decided there is insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of a conviction and therefore no further action will be taken in any of these cases… These decisions bring the CPS’s involvement in current investigations into phone hacking to a close.”
Saunders pointed out that over the past three years, the CPS has brought 12 prosecutions and secured nine convictions for phone hacking and invasion of privacy. One of those convicted was Andy Coulson, a former News of the World editor who later worked as the U.K. government’s director of communications.
The CPS said it had considered bringing charges of corporate liability against News Group Newspapers for phone hacking and perverting the course of justice. However, the company would only be liable “if it can be proved that the individual involved is sufficiently senior, usually close to or at board level, to be the ‘controlling mind and will’ of the company,” the CPS said. It added: “Mr. Coulson cannot be said to have been a ‘controlling mind’ at News Group Newspapers; he was not a director or senior officer.”
Morgan, who was interviewed by London’s Metropolitan Police twice, wrote on Twitter Friday: “I’ve today been informed by CPS that no further action will be taken against me re: Met police phone hacking investigation.
“As I’ve said since the investigation began four years ago, I’ve never hacked a phone and nor have I ever told anybody to hack a phone. Thanks to all my family and friends, and kind people on here, for all their support. It was greatly appreciated.”