Public prosecutor will inspect News International phone hacking evidence

LONDON - The director of public prosecutions Keir Starmer has said he is re-examining evidence of phone hacking activity by The News of the World despite Scotland Yard's announcement that the case was closed.

Keir Starmer QC DPP said he had taken the decision to re-examine the files from the Metropolitan Police's initial investigation into The News of the World's royal editor Clive Goodman three years ago to ensure the "appropriate action had been taken".

He said a statement on whether the DPP is to take further action would follow in a matter of days.

However, the Metropolitan police said yesterday that they would not be investigating further having reviewed their original phone tapping inquiry in the light of this week's fresh claims by The Guardian, which alleged The News of the World and The Sun used private investigators for hacking into around "2,000 to 3,000" mobile phones throughout 2006.

The original investigation resulted in the jailing of Goodman and private investigator Glen Mulcaire in January 2007.

Metropolitan police assistant commissioner John Yates said the investigation had uncovered "insufficient evidence to show that tapping had been achieved" in the vast majority of cases and no additional evidence had come to light since the case concluded.

*To read the full statement from Yates click here.*

Some public figures involved are considering taking legal action. These include PR man Max Clifford and TV presenter Vanessa Feltz.

According to The Guardian, Scotland Yard's decision will not stop victims of the papers' actions from going to court.

The paper has also identified Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and former Newcastle United manager Alan Shearer as among the figures whose messages had been recorded by investigators working on behalf of The News of the World.

In addition the Press Complaints Commission has said it is opening an inquiry into the affair and a parliamentary select committee will question senior News International managers over what they knew about the allegations.

It is believed Andy Coulson, who resigned as editor of The News of the World in the wake of the affair and is now the current Conservative Party communications director, will be asked to appear.

News International has issued a statement in response to The Guardian's story. It said it was prevented by "confidentiality obligations" in discussing the allegations.

The statement went on to outline the chronology of events, pointing out that the Information Commissioner in an report in December 2006 had highlighted a number of papers using private investigators, including The Guardian Media Group.