September 7, 2011 / 10:35 AM / in 6 years

UK police make new arrest in phone hacking case

LONDON (Reuters) - British police arrested a man over suspected phone hacking in an early morning raid on Wednesday, the 16th person detained in a scandal centered on the News of the World tabloid, part of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp media empire.

Police have also questioned a reporter from Britain’s Guardian newspaper over alleged leaks of information from its team investigating phone hacking.

The scandal over methods used to get stories has embroiled James Murdoch, son of the company’s founder and its deputy chief operating officer, and shaken Britain’s political establishment.

Police said they had arrested the 35-year-old man at 5:55 a.m. (0455 GMT) Wednesday on suspicion of conspiracy to intercept voicemail messages. He was being held at a police station in north London.

Many of the other suspects have been arrested after attending a police station by appointment. Police gave no further comment on the arrest.

The left-leaning Guardian has pursued the story and was first with news that the News of the World had hacked the phone of a teenage murder victim, prompting a public and political backlash against News Corp.

“We can confirm Amelia Hill has been questioned in connection with an investigation into alleged leaks,” a Guardian News & Media spokesperson said.

“On a broader point, journalists would no doubt be concerned if the police sought to criminalize conversations between off-record sources and reporters.”

Police last month arrested one of the detectives involved in the inquiry on suspicion of leaking details about the case.

British Prime Minister David Cameron’s judgment has been questioned after his former media chief Andy Coulson was caught up in the scandal.

Coulson edited the News of the World from 2003-2007 but quit after the tabloid’s royal reporter was jailed for phone hacking.

The company had said the practice of hacking mobile phones was the work of one “rogue reporter” but that defense has unraveled as the list of victims grows.

News Corp closed the newspaper two months ago after deciding it was too damaged to continue.

Reporting by Keith Weir; Editing by Matthew Jones and Elizabeth Piper

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