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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 October, 2004, 15:30 GMT 16:30 UK
Journalists will not face charges
The case was referred to Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan
The case was referred to Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan
Two Northern Ireland journalists will not face charges over an alleged breach of the Official Secrets Act.

Liam Clarke, Sunday Times Northern Ireland editor, and his wife Kathryn Johnston, have been told the DPP has directed they should not be prosecuted.

The case surrounded leaked phone calls between Downing Street and Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness.

Transcripts of the calls between him and Jonathan Powell, the prime minister's chief of staff, were published in a biography of Mr McGuinness written by Mr Clarke and his wife.

In a statement on Thursday, the couple said: "The DPP's decision comes as no surprise.

Legal proceedings have already been issued and we will be continuing to vigorously prosecute our clients' claim for damages against the chief constable
Couple's solicitor

"However, we are most suprised to note that although there has been a decision not to prosecute us, charges are still outstanding in respect of a retired police officer.

"We are bewildered that this situation continues in the circumstances."

On Sunday, the Police Ombudsman called for disciplinary action against a number of police officers over a raid at the couple's home in May last year when they were both arrested.

'Admitted as unlawful'

In a report to Chief Constable Hugh Orde, ombudsman Nuala O'Loan also criticised the search of the newspaper's Belfast office.

The report described the operation as "poorly led and unprofessional".

In September last year, the High Court heard the raid at the newspaper offices had been admitted as unlawful.

The search was invalid as a warrant obtained by police to carry out the raid was signed by a Justice of the Peace instead of a judge, the court was told.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland was ordered to pay the paper's legal costs.

Mr Clarke and his wife are pursuing a compensation claim against the police.

"Legal proceedings have already been issued and we will be continuing to vigorously prosecute our clients' claim for damages against the chief constable," said their solicitor.




SEE ALSO:
Action urged over police raids
03 Oct 04  |  Northern Ireland


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