Nov. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Britain’s Surrey Police, which knew about phone hacking by the News of the World tabloid almost a decade ago and didn’t investigate, was denied permission to join in the U.K. government’s probe of the scandal.
Criticism of the force doesn’t justify giving it access to documents and “core participant” status in the probe, Judge Brian Leveson said in a decision posted yesterday on the inquiry’s website. The department admitted last month it learned of the News Corp. newspaper’s voice-mail interceptions in 2002 while searching for murdered schoolgirl Millie Dowler, whose phone was hacked, and decided against a criminal probe.
While someone may ask “why no step was taken to investigate the interception” of Dowler’s phone, “I do not intend to investigate the rights or wrongs of that decision, if such a decision was made,” Leveson said in the ruling. London’s Metropolitan Police are at the center of the inquiry, while Surrey Police are on the periphery, he said.
Leveson’s inquiry was announced in July by Prime Minister David Cameron days after the revelation journalists at the News of the World hacked into Dowler’s phone in 2002, hampering the search while she was still missing. The probe’s scope extends beyond the now-shuttered newspaper to ethics of the press and its relationship with politicians and police. Lawyers for Surrey Police said some of its officers’ phones may have been hacked.
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