LONDON'S FINEST, The Metropolitan Police will not force the Guardian newspaper to reveal its sources for the phone hacking story that shattered News International.
The newspaper was responsible for breaking the news that Rupert Murdoch's newspapers were routinely hacking phone calls and voicemails, although anyone that might have glanced at their front pages could have assumed the same.
A number of arrests have been made and some heads have rolled at News International, while others have simply ducked blows.
The problem will not go away for Murdoch's empire, despite closing down the scandal rag The News of the World. Recently the Metropolitan Police threatened the Guardian newspaper to obtain more evidence against the company.
The police have had to back down though, according to a report in the Guardian today. "The Metropolitan police has dropped its attempt to order the Guardian to reveal confidential sources for stories relating to the phone-hacking scandal," says the newspaper in its lead story.
"The Met had been hoping to force Guardian reporters to reveal confidential sources for articles disclosing that the murdered teenager Milly Dowler's phone was hacked on behalf of the News of the World. But after an intervention by the Crown Prosecution Service and widespread outrage, Scotland Yard was forced into an abrupt climbdown."
The Yard was about to apply for a production order at the Old Bailey, which would have given it access to documents belonging to a reporter at the paper. However, according to a comment made to the Guardian it looks like the Metropolitan Police realised that this was a fight that it did not want to get into.
"Obviously, the last thing we want to do is to get into a big fight with the media. We do not want to interfere with journalists," a Scotland Yard source told the newspaper. "In hindsight the view is that certain things that should have been done were not done, and that is regrettable." µ