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Police drop hacking sources bid

Scotland Yard has dropped its legal bid to force the Guardian newspaper to reveal information about the source of its phone hacking stories.

The Metropolitan Police said it had "decided not to pursue" production orders against the broadsheet and one of its reporters after taking legal advice.

Editor Alan Rusbridger said: "We greatly welcome the Met's decision to withdraw this ill-judged order. We would have fought this assault on public interest journalism all the way. We're happy that good sense has prevailed."

The force had said it wanted to identify evidence of "potential breaches relating to Misconduct in Public Office and the Official Secrets Act". It had intended to seek the orders in a court hearing at the Old Bailey on Friday.

An officer working on Operation Weeting, the force's investigation into phone hacking, was arrested last month on suspicion of misconduct in public office relating to the unauthorised disclosure of information. He has been suspended from duty and is on bail.

The Metropolitan Police's Directorate of Professional Standards on Monday consulted the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which asked for more information to be provided to them.

A police spokesman said: "In addition the MPS has taken further legal advice this afternoon and as a result has decided not to pursue, at this time, the application for production orders scheduled for hearing on Friday September 23.

"We have agreed with the CPS that we will work jointly with them in considering the next steps. This decision does not mean that the investigation has been concluded."

He added: "Despite recent media reports, there was no intention to target journalists or disregard journalists' obligations to protect their sources."

Guardian reporter Amelia Hill, the newspaper's special investigations correspondent, was interviewed under caution by Scotland Yard over alleged leaks from Operation Weeting. She has broken a string of exclusives about the phone hacking inquiry.


From Belfast Telegraph