April 4, 2012 7:48 pm

Police resisted inquiry into hacking lead

The director of public prosecutions faced resistance from a senior police officer when he suggested further investigation of an email containing a transcript of phone hacking at the News of the World, he told the Leveson Inquiry.

Keir Starmer, who heads the UK’s crown prosecution service, said there was a “degree of pushback” from John Yates, assistant commissioner at the Metropolitan Police, when he suggested the police should examine an email marked “For Neville”.

Mr Starmer said the email, which could have implicated a second News of the World journalist, was a “flag” that said dig further. But Mr Starmer said it was clear from his discussions with Mr Yates that he was not going to necessarily accept that invitation.

“To the best of my recollection, Mr Yates said that it was not new, it had been seen before, and thus I took from that that he didn’t consider at that stage there was any point for investigating the “For Neville” email,” he said.

Earlier in the day, the lead prosecutor on the 2006 phone-hacking case against Clive Goodman, royal editor of the News of the World and Glenn Mulcaire, a private detective, said that the police had said there was no evidence that there could be other suspects.

“We were informed that there was no such evidence,” David Perry QC told the inquiry into press ethics. “I can’t recall which officer gave that reply. In fairness to everyone involved in the case, I think it’s right to say that this was still at a time when the information that we were obtaining was continuing to develop.”

Mr Perry added that in 2009 he asked the police if there was evidence that Andy Coulson, who was editor of the News of the World in 2006, was involved in phone hacking and he was told that there was not.

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