Rebekah Brooks charged with perverting course of justice
Brooks and her husband Charlie attack 'unjust decision' to prosecute them
FORMER News International CEO Rebekah Brooks and her racehorse trainer husband Charlie have been charged along with four other people of perverting the course of justice in relation to the phone hacking scandal.
Brooks, 43, resigned as NI boss in July 2011 following allegations of phone hacking by News of the World journalists. She was editor of the Sunday tabloid from 2000-03 before moving to edit NI’s other tabloid The Sun. She became chief executive of NI in 2009.
Brooks’s PA Cheryl Carter has also been charged, along with Mark Hanna, NI’s head of security, Paul Edwards, a driver employed by NI, and Daryl Jorsling, a security guard. Along with Brooks and her husband, all are accused of conspiring to conceal material from police between 6-19 July, the BBC reports.
Brooks and Carter are also charged with conspiring to remove seven boxes of material from the NI archive between 6-9 July. Brooks, her husband, Hanna, Edwards and Jorsling are accused of conspiring to conceal documents, computers and other electronic equipment from police officers between 15-19 July.
Brooks, who gave evidence to the Leveson inquiry into media ethics only last week, was arrested on 13 March by police under the auspices of Operation Weeting. She says she was unaware of phone hacking while at NI.
Brooks and her husband said in a statement: "We have this morning been informed by the Office of the Department of Public Prosecutions that we are to be charged with perverting the course of justice.
"We deplore this weak and unjust decision.
"After the further unprecedented posturing of the [Crown Prosecution Service] we will respond later today after our return from the police station."
The Week’s political columnist The Mole said this “big scalp” could well upset Murdoch’s US businesses – not to mention putting the wind up other executives who have been arrested in the course of the phone hacking investigation.
Other commentators have focussed on the fall-out which the Prime Minister David Cameron can expect. The Daily Telegraph’s Christopher Hope says that the charges mean that more embarrassing revelations about Cameron’s chummy relationship with Brooks are likely to emerge well after the Leveson inquiry has summed up.
“The spectre of phone hacking will hang over the Government right up until the next general election, due in 2015, with the prospect of potentially more embarrassing disclosures from the court process,” he writes.
Patrick Wintour, writing in The Guardian - the paper that did most to force police to reopen the investigation into phone hacking - says “Cameron has now discovered that the allegations of wrongdoing by senior figures at News International are not just being taken seriously by Guardian conspiracy theorists, but also by the most senior figures in the legal profession”.