Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 1 November 2014

Rebekah Brooks: Decision to charge me is deplorable

Former News of the World Editor Rebekah Brooks arrives at Lewisham police station, London where she charged with perverting the course of justice during the phone-hacking scandal.
Former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks gives evidence to Britain's media ethics inquiry in central London Friday May 11 2012
Rebekah Brooks and her boss Rupert Murdoch will face a committee of MPs

Rebekah Brooks and her husband Charlie have lashed out at the CPS decision to charge her with perverting the course of justice during the phone-hacking scandal.

Mrs Brooks faces three conspiracy charges. Five other other people charged - including her husband Charlie - all face one charge each.

Among the others are Brooks's personal assistant Cheryl Carter and Mark Hanna, head of security at News International.

The charges include conspiring to conceal material from Scotland Yard detectives, conspiring to remove seven boxes of material from the archive of News International and conspiring to conceal documents, computers and other electronic equipment from detectives.

Alison Levitt QC, principal legal advisor to the Director of Public Prosecutions, revealed the details of the charges in a statement read out at CPS headquarters in London.

Miss Levitt said: "This statement is made in the interests of transparency and accountability to explain the decisions reached in respect of allegations that Rebekah Brooks conspired with her husband, Charles Brooks, and others to pervert the course of justice.

"The Crown Prosecution Service received a file of evidence from the Metropolitan Police Service on 27th March 2012 in relation to seven suspects: Rebekah Brooks; Charles Brooks; Cheryl Carter, Mrs Brooks' personal assistant; Mark Hanna, head of security at News International; Paul Edwards, Mrs Brooks's chauffeur who was employed by News International; Daryl Jorsling and a seventh suspect - both of whom provided security for Mrs Brooks supplied by News International.

"All the evidence has now carefully been considered.

"Applying the two-stage test in the Code for Crown Prosecutors I have concluded that in relation to all suspects except the seventh, there is sufficient evidence for there to be a realistic prospect of conviction.

"I then considered the second stage of the test, and I have concluded that a prosecution is required in the public interest in relation to each of the other six.

"All seven suspects have this morning been informed of my decisions.

"They are all due to answer their bail at police stations later today.

"When they do so, they will be charged as follows:

"Charge 1 - conspiracy to pervert the course of justice: Rebekah Brooks between 6th July and 19th July 2011 conspired with Charles Brooks, Cheryl Carter, Mark Hanna, Paul Edwards, Daryl Jorsling and persons unknown to conceal material from officers of the Metropolitan Police Service.

"Charge 2 - conspiracy to pervert the course of justice: Rebekah Brooks and Cheryl Carter between 6th July and 9th July 2011 conspired together permanently to remove seven boxes of material from the archive of News International.

"Charge 3 - conspiracy to pervert the course of justice: Rebekah Brooks, Charles Brooks, Mark Hanna, Paul Edwards and Daryl Jorsling conspired together and with persons unknown, between 15th July and 19th July 2011, to conceal documents, computers and other electronic equipment from officers of the Metropolitan Police Service.

"All these matters relate to the ongoing police investigation into allegations of phone hacking and corruption of public officials in relation to the News of the World and The Sun newspapers.

"Following charge, these individuals will appear before Westminster Magistrates' Court on a date to be determined.

"No further action will be taken against the seventh suspect.

"May I remind all concerned that these six individuals now will be charged with criminal offences and that each has a right to a fair trial. It is very important that nothing is said, or reported, which could prejudice that trial. For these reasons it would be inappropriate for me to comment further."

Mrs Brooks and her husband released their statement ahead of the official announcement by the CPS.

They said: "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 CPS we will respond later today after our return from the police station."

The charges are the first to be brought following Scotland Yard's multi-million pound investigations into phone-hacking, computer hacking and corruption, which have led to 50 arrests since they began in January last year.

The latest arrests took place today and involved a 50-year-old tax official and a 43-year-old woman, detained at the same address in London by detectives investigating corrupt payments to public officials.

Today's decision to bring charges comes just days after Mrs Brooks lifted the lid on her close relationship with the Prime Minister at the Leveson Inquiry into press standards.

Mrs Brooks, a Warrington-born high-flyer in Rupert Murdoch's News Corp media empire, is one of the most high profile figures in the newspaper industry.

She became News of the World editor in 2000 aged 31, landed the top job at The Sun in 2003 and was appointed chief executive of News International in 2009 before quitting in July 2011.

Days later she was arrested over alleged phone-hacking and corruption, offences for which she remains on bail without charge.

She was arrested again in March in connection with the separate perverting the course of justice allegation, with her husband and four others.

Mr Brooks, who has been a columnist for the Daily Telegraph as well as writing a novel entitled Citizen, met his wife at a party with Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson.

Mrs Brooks's former PA Cheryl Carter, the company's head of security Mark Hanna, News International chauffeur Paul Edwards and security consultant Daryl Jorsling have also been told they will face charges, the CPS confirmed.

An employee of HM Revenue and Customs was arrested today by detectives investigating corrupt payments to public officials.

The 50-year-old man was held on suspicion of misconduct in a public office by officers from Operation Elveden.

Scotland Yard said a 43-year-old woman was also arrested at the address in north west London.

She was held on suspicion of aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office and money-laundering offences.

Brooks devoted more than two decades to serving the British arm of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation empire before her resignation as the phone-hacking scandal intensified last July.

The 43-year-old's flair for tabloid journalism and dedication to the firm earned her the position of chief executive of News International.

The hacking revelations that finally ended her time at Wapping dogged her tenure in the top job from the start, but she was no stranger to controversy.

While editor of the News of the World, Mrs Brooks, nee Wade, launched a "naming and shaming" campaign identifying paedophiles following the murder of schoolgirl Sarah Payne.

The campaign boosted circulation and eventually led to new legislation - known as Sarah's Law - but was blamed by some for sparking vigilantism and even thwarting police investigations.

Away from the day job, an intriguing private life saw Mrs Brooks thrust briefly into the kind of limelight normally reserved for the subjects of a tabloid exclusive.

While married to former EastEnders actor Ross Kemp, she was arrested, but later released without charge, over claims that she had attacked him.

She dismissed the incident as a row that got out of hand.

The couple divorced and in 2009 she married former racehorse trainer Charlie Brooks, a contemporary of Prime Minister David Cameron at Eton.

The couple became key members of the influential Chipping Norton set, which also includes Mr Cameron and his wife Samantha, Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson, Mr Murdoch's daughter Elisabeth and her PR guru husband Matthew Freud.

The social links between the group, centred in the affluent and picturesque Oxfordshire Tory heartland, have been thrown into the spotlight since the phone-hacking scandal erupted.

In March Mr Cameron was forced to admit riding a retired police horse loaned to Mrs Brooks by Scotland Yard from 2008 to 2010, and his friendship with her was further laid bare at the Leveson Inquiry into press standards last week when she revealed how close she had been to the most powerful people in the country.

She enjoyed dozens of lunches and dinners with successive prime ministers and was so friendly with Mr Cameron that he signed off texts to her with "lots of love", the inquiry heard.

A formidable networker, Mrs Brooks is also said to have been close to former prime minister Tony Blair and her wedding to Mr Brooks was attended by Mr Cameron and then prime minister Gordon Brown.

Her News Corporation career started at the News of the World, where she eventually landed the top job aged 31 in 2000.

In 2003 she became the first woman to edit the Sun and in 2009 became News International chief executive.

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