New hacking arrest as British reporter quizzed over leaks

7th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

British police investigating phone hacking at the News of the World tabloid said Wednesday they had made a fresh arrest, as another newspaper said one of its journalists had been quizzed over leaks in the case.

A 35-year-old man was arrested at his home shortly before 6:00am (0500 GMT) before being taken to a police station in north London, Scotland Yard said.

He is the 16th person arrested this year as part of the inquiry into phone hacking at the Rupert Murdoch-owned News of the World, which was closed down in July after it emerged that a murdered girl was among those targeted.

The weekly's royal editor and a private detective were jailed for hacking in 2007 but a flood of allegations suggesting that the practice was widespread prompted the police to reopen their investigation in January.

In another development, The Guardian newspaper, which had published many of the allegations, revealed that one of its journalists had been questioned over the alleged leaking of police information in the case.

"We can confirm Amelia Hill has been questioned in connection with an investigation into alleged leaks," said a statement published on the newspaper's website, which reported she had been quizzed under caution several days ago.

The paper raised concerns that the case could have lasting repercussions for the way journalists deal with police officers.

"On a broader point, journalists would no doubt be concerned if the police sought to criminalise conversations between off-record sources and reporters," the statement said.

Last month, a 51-year-old detective working on the police investigation into phone hacking was arrested, reportedly for leaking information to The Guardian.

The hacking scandal has led to the resignation of two of Murdoch's top aides and two senior police officers, and dragged in Prime Minister David Cameron after his ex-media chief, former News of the World editor Andy Coulson, was arrested.

© 2011 AFP

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