The Crown Prosecution Service announced this morning that the former deputy editor of the News of The World, Neil Wallis and his then features editor, Jules Stenson are to be charged with an alleged conspiracy to hack phones.
The CPS confirmed that Wallis and Stenson will be charged with conspiring together with former News of the World editor Andy Coulson, private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, five journalists and “other persons unknown” to illegally listen to the voicemail messages “of well-known people and those associated with them” between 1 January 2003 and 26 January 2007.
Both are being charged as a result of evidence submitted to the CPS by Scotland Yard’s Operation Pinetree.
Since the news broke this morning Jules Stenson has remained silent but Neil had this to say on Twitter.
“I am devastated that more than three years after my initial arrest, this has been brought against me. My family and I have already paid a huge price from the police’s very public attention.
“Perhaps it is inevitable that after being such an outspoken critic of the collateral damage and pain caused by this endlessly vindictive and enormously costly investigation the ire has been turned on me for something that occurred at News International which I was not party to and have always said was wrong.
“Sadly, legal reporting restrictions prevent me commenting further on this sad day.”
What are we talking about here? Listening to the messages of Z-list porn stars, Mums of the century, Christian authors, dolphins with human legs and frozen yogurt moguls? I mean, crime of the century right?
Dan Evans, a features writer at the now-defunct tabloid previously told the CPS that the practice of eavesdropping on people’s voicemails was endemic and that he had listened to (and recorded) around 1,000 voicemails from over 200 different people. Those crimes he admitted at his recent trial and to the police.
In return for his evidence Dan was spared a “significant” jail sentence in recognition of his cooperation with prosecutors in the now infamous hacking trial of Andy Coulson, Rebekah Brooks and others at the Old Bailey. Evans also received 200 hours of community service and might never again work in the newspaper business.
It only remains for Dan’s evidence (against Wallis and Stenson) to be heard at trial. Both are due to appear before Westminister magistrates’ court on 21 August.
Now, if after reading all that you feel the need to watch a silly little bunny rabbit playing in the grass, then here you go…