Tuesday 20 September 2011

Scotland Yard drops Official Secrets Act bid against Guardian


Scotland Yard had intended to take the Guardian newspaper to court on Friday in an attempt to force the newspaper into revealing how it obtained information that missing schoolgirl Milly Dowler’s mobile phone had been hacked. However, following discussions with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the force has abandoned its application for production orders against the newspaper. The decision comes following heavy criticism of the force’s attempt to make the Guardian, and one of its journalists, hand over information which would have revealed the source of many of the newspaper’s phone hacking stories. Various MPs, including the shadow culture secretary Ivan Lewis, questioned the Yard’s attempt. While many national newspapers carried leading articles condemning the Metropolitan Police’s apparent attack on press freedom. And today the former Attorney General Lord Goldsmith told the Daily Telegraph that the force’s decision to invoke the Official Secrets Act was “unusual” and could threaten press freedom.