LONDON (Reuters) - Two more senior journalists from Rupert Murdoch’s defunct British tabloid the News of the World have been charged with phone-hacking, prosecutors said on Wednesday, weeks after the paper’s former editor was jailed for the crime.
Neil Wallis, the paper’s former deputy editor, and former features editor Jules Stenson, have been charged with conspiracy to intercept voicemails on mobile phones of well-known figures or people close to them, the Crown Prosecution Service said.
Andy Coulson, who edited the paper from 2003 until 2007 before working as Prime Minister David Cameron’s media chief, was jailed on July 4 for 18 months for encouraging staff to hack phones in a bid to get exclusive stories.
His trial, one of the most expensive of its kind in British legal history, heard that thousands of victims from celebrities to politicians and victims of crime were targeted by the paper.
Minutes after he was convicted, Cameron apologised for employing him.
Outrage at the paper’s activities forced Murdoch to close the paper in 2011 when the scale of the crimes came to light, since when dozens of reporters from his British tabloids have been arrested over allegations of criminal activity.
Four other former journalists and a private detective have also admitted phone-hacking while working for the News of the World.
A week ago, the CPS decided not to take action against six other staff. Prosecutors are still considering whether corporate charges should be brought against News Corp.’s British arm, formerly known as News International (NI).
“I‘m devastated that more than three years after my initial arrest, this swingeing indiscriminate charge had been brought against me,” Wallis said on Twitter.
“Perhaps it is inevitable that after being such an outspoken critic of the collateral damage and pain caused by this needlessly vindictive and enormously costly investigation, the ire has been turned on me for something that occurred at NI of which I knew nothing and which I have always said was wrong.”
News UK, as Murdoch’s British paper business is now known, said it had no comment on the charges while Stenson could not be reached for comment.
Wallis and Stenson are due to appear at London’s Westminster Magistrates’ court on Aug. 21.
Editing by Louise Ireland