As reported earlier, Ian Edmondson pleaded guilty to phone hacking in the Old Bailey today, completing the main phase of police operation Weeting with seven convictions for the nine charged with conspiracy to phone hack since 2011. As well as private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, two reporters, four desk editor and the editor of the News of the World, Andy Coulson, have now been convicted. Rebekah Brooks and former managing editor Stuart Kuttner were acquitted. (The prosecution sentencing note is attached here as a pdf)
Today the CPS also announced it was taking no further action against former News International lawyer Tom Crone.
Gregor McGill, a senior lawyer at the Crown Prosecution Service said, “The CPS has today [3 October 2014] decided that no further action will be taken in relation to an individual arrested on 30 August 2012, concerning allegations of conspiracy to intercept phone voicemail messages and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
“After careful consideration it has been decided that there is insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction. This decision has been made in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.
“Any decision by the CPS does not imply any finding concerning guilt or criminal conduct; the CPS makes decisions only according to the test set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors and it is applied in all decisions on whether or not to prosecute.”
Crone had been arrested an interviewed under caution twice, and was mentioned extensively during the phone hacking trial, with his name redacted to NI lawyer under a 4.2 Contempt of Court Order. He can now be named as an regular adviser on legal issue phone hacking according to the testimony of several of those convicted. Tapes of the hacking of David Blunkett‘s voicemail were found in his safe at News International.
This (almost) brings to an end a sad and disturbing chapter in British journalism, and the main Operation Weeting investigation into News of the World. There are still trials pending under Operation Pinetree (former NOTW features editor Jules Stenson and deputy editor Neil Wallis) and Operation Elveden charges about misconduct in public office.
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