Following an ongoing investigation into the phone hacking scandal, Rebekah Brooks has been charged with three counts of ‘conspiracy to obstruct the course of justice’ whilst in the position of Chief Executive of News International. The counts include conspiring to conceal documents from police investigation and removing materials from the News International archive between the sixth and nineteenth of July 2011. Also charged were Brooks’ husband Charles (Charlie) Brooks, her PA Cheryl Carter, Mark Hanna, head of security at News International, Paul Edwards, Brooks’ chauffeur and employee of News International and Daryl Jorsing, a member of Brooks’s security team.
Miss Levitt QC, Principal legal adviser to the Director of Public Prosecutions claimed that for all suspects, there was ‘“sufficient evidence for there to be a realistic prospect of conviction”’, evidence provided by the Metropolitan Police Service in March of this year. She added: ‘a prosecution is required in the public interest’. These are the first people to have been charged since the investigation, termed ‘Operation Weeting’ began in January 2011.
Despite allegations of phone hacking creating public outcry, particularly with those involving victims of crime such as Milly Dowler and Sarah Payne, Charlie Brooks announced in a televised statement with his wife, “we deplore this weak and unjust decision.” He added that he believes his wife Rebekah ‘“is the subject of a witch-hunt”’. Both expressed concerns over the impartiality of the charge, suggestion of the charges needed for some resolution of the case, and the possibility of a fair-trial for Rebekah Brooks due to the wealth of discussion against her. Mr Brooks believes there is insufficient evidence against him, which will be revealed in court.
In July of last year, a laptop, phone and documents were found in a bin outside the Brooks’ flat. Charlie Brooks attempted to retrieve the items from police, claiming they were accidentally there and nothing to do with his wife.
All persons will now be subject to a trial before Westminster magistrates’ court. If prosecuted Rebekah Brooks could face a maximum of life imprisonment, though the majority of cases only serve ten months.