No charges after 2 years on bail. A statement:
After two years on bail, the Metropolitan Police informed me today that I will not face any charges.
In January 2012 I became aware that the police were investigating an incident that occurred in 2009, when I was a 24-year-old junior reporter at The Times.
I immediately instructed my solicitor to convey to the police my willingness to assist with any enquiries they might have.
The police confirmed that it was "highly likely" that they would wish to speak to me, and that they would "keep in contact and make arrangements as necessary".
Despite this, seven months later, in August 2012, I was arrested in a dawn raid at my home.
The past two years of this unnecessarily heavy-handed police investigation have been a nightmare. I have been unemployable, but have had to bear the cost of substantial legal fees.
I have co-operated with the seemingly never-ending investigation at all times. In order to bring this regrettable episode to an end I have accepted the offer of a police caution, for committing a technical breach of the Computer Misuse Act 1990.
I cannot say how likely it is that I would have been charged, had I rejected the caution. In 2009, when I committed this technical breach, I was acting on the understanding, common across Fleet Street and amongst journalists and lawyers, that I would be able to rely on a public interest defence. That understanding was wrong.
Additionally, some journalists have waited up to 11 months after charge, before being put before a court. I have already been on bail for two years. I cannot in good conscience risk putting my family through many more months of heartache, and mounting legal costs.
It is only through the support of my family and friends, and the help of my solicitor, Bob Dynowski, that I have been able to get through the past two and a half years.
No one should ever have to suffer the extrajudicial punishment of two years on police bail, and my sympathies are with others still languishing in this invidious position.