Phone-Hack Probe Will Redact Names to Shield Criminal Trials

The judge overseeing a British government-backed probe into phone hacking at News Corp. publications will redact the names of journalists and victims in documents to prevent damaging a police investigation into the scandal.

Judge Brian Leveson said he will work with police to ensure his inquiry doesn’t prejudice prosecutions of those involved in the practice, including disguising names in documents seized from Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator jailed for hacking into voice-mail messages in 2007.

Leveson said he would reveal some contents of Mulcaire’s notebook, which contains details of News of the World stories that used information gained from phone hacking.

“The notebook belonging to Mr. Mulcaire, which has formed an important part of the police investigation, will be summarized so that its true significance and extent may be understood," he said.

The Leveson inquiry was announced in July by U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron nine days after the revelation that journalists at News Corp.’s News of the World tabloid hacked into the phone of murdered school girl Millie Dowler in 2002. The probe’s scope extends beyond the now-shuttered tabloid, covering press ethics and its relationship with politicians and police.

While police have said suspects might reveal information that hampers prosecutions, Leveson said on his website that he ‘‘will not be prevented from calling a witness whom I believe can assist even if some areas of what might be contentious evidence will be left unexplored.”

The probe may also hear evidence of criminal activity not being investigated by the police, he said.

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