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No charges over hacking probe leaks

A Guardian journalist and a Scotland Yard detective will not be prosecuted over leaks relating to the phone hacking scandal.

There is "insufficient evidence" to bring charges against Amelia Hill, the newspaper's special investigations correspondent, and a 51-year-old detective constable over unauthorised disclosures from Operation Weeting, prosecutor Alison Levitt QC said.

The police officer has been suspended since being arrested at his desk last August by officers from the force's directorate of professional standards. He is understood to be answering bail. Ms Hill has only been questioned under caution.

All staff on Weeting - the Metropolitan Police's 16-month inquiry into voicemail interceptions by journalists - were required to sign confidentiality agreements before working on the case. A security review was sparked into how information about the case started appearing in the press over the summer.

Ms Levitt, the principal legal adviser to the Director of Public Prosecutions, said: "All the evidence has now carefully been considered and I have decided that neither the police officer nor the journalist should face a prosecution."

Despite bringing no charges, Ms Levitt has written to the Metropolitan Police and the Independent Police Complaints Commission to recommend disciplinary action against the officer.

She said 10 articles written by Ms Hill in The Guardian "contained confidential information derived from Operation Weeting, including the names of those who had been arrested. I am also satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to establish that the police officer disclosed that information to Ms Hill".

But the prosecutor added: "I have concluded that there is insufficient evidence against either suspect to provide a realistic prospect of conviction for the common law offence of misconduct in a public office or conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office. In this case, there is no evidence that the police officer was paid any money for the information he provided."

Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger tweeted: "CPS not prosecuting Guardian's Amelia Hill or MPS officer. Sensible decision." A statement on the Guardian's website said: "We welcome the Crown Prosecution Service's sensible decision to abandon this worrying attempt to criminalise legitimate contact between journalists and confidential sources. Nevertheless, the paper makes no comment on the validity of the Met Police assertion that the officer it identified was Amelia's source in this case."

The inquiry into leaks was dubbed Operation Kilo by detectives. Ms Hill, who has broken a string of exclusives surrounding the investigation, was contacted by police after the detective was arrested.

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