British prosecutors to review phone-hack case

14th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

British prosecutors said Friday they will review police material on phone-hacking claims at a top newspaper, reviving the saga after actress Sienna Miller sued its Rupert Murdoch-owned parent company.

The announcement came just weeks after authorities said they had no evidence to bring charges over the scandal at the News of The World, which broke when it was edited by the man who later became the British premier's media chief.

Director of public prosecutions Keir Starmer had approved a "comprehensive assessment of all material in the possession of the Metropolitan Police Service relating to phone hacking, following developments in the civil courts," the Crown Prosecution Service said.

The scandal at the News of the World has refused to die down since its royal correspondent and a private investigator were jailed in 2007 for conspiracy to access mobile phone messages involving Princes William and Harry.

Andy Coulson, now director of communications for Prime Minister David Cameron, was editor of the paper at the time and resigned over the affair although he insisted he knew nothing about it.

The Sunday tabloid is Britain's biggest selling newspaper and is owned by Australian Murdoch.

But the issue flared up again last week when Ian Edmondson, the paper's assistant editor for news, was suspended over what it called "serious allegations."

A document lodged at the High Court in London links Edmondson with the interception of voicemail messages from the phone of Hollywood actress Miller.

Solicitor Mark Thomson has said paperwork and other records seized by police from Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator who had worked for journalists at the paper, implied Edmondson was linked to the hacking.

Miller, the fiancee of actor Jude Law, is suing the News of the World's parent company, News Group, and Mulcaire, accusing them of breaching her privacy and of harassment.

A spokesman for the News of the World said it would "co-operate fully".

The paper has claimed the 2007 case was a one-off but police revived an investigation into the scandal in September after a journalist said Coulson had encouraged him to hack voice mails.

Coulson was interviewed as a witness but prosecutors said last month there was no evidence to bring charges after several witnesses refused to testify.

© 2011 AFP

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