Bloomberg News

Sky News Reporter Won’t Be Charged on ‘Canoe Man’ E-Mail Hacking

March 18, 2013

The Crown Prosecution Service said it won’t file charges against a Sky News journalist over hacking of the e-mail accounts of a man who faked his own death.

Gerald Tubb allegedly hacked the e-mails of Anne and John Darwin, who was known as the “canoe man.” Prosecutors said the public interest served by the “conduct in question outweighs the potential overall criminality.”

The e-mail hacking at British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc (BSY)’s Sky News was one incident of wrongdoing by the British press discovered during a media-ethics inquiry triggered by phone- hacking at News Corp.’s News of the World. Judge Brian Leveson, who led the inquiry, said last year that BSkyB, which is 39 percent owned by News Corp., shouldn’t be able to use the public-interest defense for hacking.

BSkyB said last year that it cleared Tubb to access the e- mails as part of an investigation into Darwin, who faked his own death in a canoe accident. The Darwins were both sentenced in 2008 to more than six years in prison for committing insurance fraud after Tubb broke the story.

“In reaching this decision, we took into account that the e-mails were accessed with a view to showing that a criminal offense had been committed,” Malcolm McHaffie, deputy head of special crime at the CPS, said in an e-mailed statement.

Britain’s main political parties agreed on measures to regulate newspapers based on Leveson’s report.

Leveson last year said that Sky News broke the law.

“At the end of the day you committed a crime,” he said during testimony by Sky News’s head of news.

Stephanie Jones, a Sky News spokeswoman, declined to comment on the CPS decision.

Parallel investigations into phone hacking, computer hacking and bribery by News Corp. (NWSA:US) titles have led to dozens of arrests since January 2011, including journalists accused of intercepting voice mail and paying bribes. Police officers, public officials and prison workers suspected of selling stories have also been detained.

To contact the reporter on this story: Anthony Aarons in London at aaarons@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net


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