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News of the World's last issue (Credit: Wikipedia)

Neil Wallis has been found not guilty of phone hacking.

Wallis is a former deputy editor for the now-closed News of the World. He was cleared “nearly four years after Wallis’s original arrest,” according to the Press Gazette.

Wallis tweeted thanks to his supporters after the verdict. “Thanks so so much to all those who stood by me – so grateful,” he wrote.  Wallis added, “Overwhelmed by a tidal wave of support and good wishes from across all media and twitter upon my acquittal – thanks so much.”

Wallis also thanked the jury for its decision.

After the verdict, Wallis told reporters about the financial cost of the case, which he claimed was political and “a disgrace,” according to news reports including those of the Guardian, Press Gazette and the Telegraph.

“Four years. Four years after I was arrested, I finally walk out of here a free man. It’s cost me and my family most of our life savings,” Wallis said. “It’s ruined my life all because of a vicious politically-driven campaign against the press launched by (former Director of Public Prosecutions) Keir Starmer and (his then principal legal adviser) Alison Levitt.

“This is the culmination of a political drive by the police and the CPS. It’s a disgrace,” Wallis went on, noting, “I’ve been virtually unable to work for four years.”

“I believe the people who got me into this situation were the CPS and Operation Weeting detectives, who when I was arrested talked to me about Milly Dowler – basic detective research would have shown I was not even working,” he added.

Wallis was accused of knowing about hacking, pointing to hacking cases in 2004 related to former politician David Blunkett, 2005 related to Sienna Miller and Daniel Craig, and 2006 about Prince William.

“Wallis denied being involved in the hacking plot, saying he was not concerned with the details of the sources of big stories after they had already been vetted by company lawyers,” the Press Gazette reported.

But others at the paper admitted or were convicted for hacking, The Guardian noted, listing the cases of  Andy Coulson, Clive Goodman, Glenn Mulcaire, Dan Evans, Neville Thurlbeck, James Weatherup, Greg Miskiw, and Ian Edmondson. See here iMediaEthics 2014 report on the conviction or confessions of eight News of the World employees for hacking.

“Wallis is the last of the journalists from the tabloid to face legal action over the hacking it deployed in the hunt for exclusive stories on celebrities, royals and politicians,” the Press Gazette added.

Meanwhile, Scotland Yard stood by its “full and thorough investigation to establish if crime had been committed and to hold to account anyone responsible.”

Wallis “left the paper two years before it closed,” The Guardian noted.


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Neil Wallis Not Guilty of Phone Hacking

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