31/07/2014

Rebekah Brooks charging and Leveson inquiry

Posted by MereNews On May - 15 - 2012

5.48pm: Here is audio of Rebekah and Charlie Brooks’s statement:


5.28pm: Rebekah Brooks adds:

Whilst I have always respected the criminal justice system, you have to question whether this decision has been made on a proper impartial assessment of the evidence.

Although I understand the need for a thorough investigation, I am baffled by the decision to charge me. However I cannot express my anger enough that those close to me have unfairly been dragged into this.

As the details of the case emerge people will see today as an expensive sideshow, and a waste of public money as a result of this weak and unjust decision.

5.28pm: Charlie Brooks says:

I feel today is an attempt to use me and others as scapegoats, the effect of which is to ratchet up the pressure on my wife, who I believe is the subject of a witch hunt.

There are 172 police officers, about the equivalent of eight murder squads, working on this; so it doesn’t surprise me that the pressure is on to prosecute, no matter how weak the cases will be.

I am confident that the lack of evidence against me will be borne out in court, but I have grave doubts that my wife will ever get a fair trial, given the volume of biased commentary which she has been subject to.

We look forward to fighting this in court.

5.23pm: Charlie and Rebekah Brooks are making a statement outside the offices of the couple’s lawyers, Kingsley Napley, in central London.

5.05pm: Rebekah Brooks is to make a statement on BBC News at 5.15pm, according to the BBC home duty editor Neil Henderson.

We will bring you the statement live.

5.01pm: Harriet Harman, Labour’s shadow culture secretary and deputy leader, has released a statement withdrawing 15 parliamentary questions over the Jeremy Hunt row about News Corp’s bid for BSkyB.

She says:

The Speaker yesterday rightly asserted the rights of parliament. Lord Justice Leveson today explained how he intended to proceed as chairman of his Inquiry, and said he intended to question Fred Michel and Adam Smith, as well as Jeremy Hunt, about the BSkyB bid.

As shadow secretary of state for culture, Olympics, media and sport, it is my responsibility to hold the secretary of state to account.

Lord Justice Leveson has said today that the Leveson inquiry will be questioning Fred Michel, Adam Smith, Jeremy Hunt and any other witnesses they might choose to call, such as Jonathan Stephens.

So, we have today withdrawn 15 written parliamentary questions that were awaiting answer by the secretary of state.

I will return to these questions if necessary after the further evidence to the Leveson inquiry.

4.44pm: The inquiry has now finished for the day.

4.43pm: Boulton does not believe the inquiry should “throw self-regulation aside” because of the failings of the PCC.

Leveson agrees that regulation “independent of government is absolutely critical.


Sarah Brown in front of 10 Downing Street
Sarah Brown. Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

4.40pm: Boulton is asked whether he believes governments and top media executives have been too close.

He says:

I don’t blame the people on the media side excessively because one of the things about the media is seeking access and if you’re pushing at an open door it’s quite difficult to know when you should pull back.

He describes as “completely bonkers” the pyjama party hosted by Gordon Brown’s wife Sarah at which Rebekah Brooks and Rupert Murdoch’s wife, Wendi Deng, were present:

I remember a then cabinet member telling me about that at the time and I just thought this is completely bonkers that this sort of intimacy is being indulged by the prime minister and his wife and a proprietor and his wife and I thought ‘this will end in tears’.

Was there a carelessness? Did it become too excessive? Yes.

When invited to the News Corp summer party last year and Boulton saw the PM and senior politicians show up, he thought: “I was a little surprised that they all felt compelled to turn up”.

4.31pm: Boulton says he expects the issue of media cross-ownership will be revisited by the government after the fallout of News Corp’s abandoned bid for BSkyB.

But he urges caution about further regulation in this area because it would be “difficult to balance with the public interest and freedom of speech”.

He adds: “Things are never going to be the same again for some of the key actors caught up in this affair and so it has been self-policing in some respect.”

4.21pm: Professional journalism will only survive if people want to consume it, says Boulton, and that will only happen if people trust the media.

“There’s actually quite a strong commercial imperative to behave in the right way,” he adds.

4.17pm: Harriet Harman, deputy leader of the Labour party, who asked the Speaker the question about Jeremy Hunt’s evidence, has said she will comply with Leveson’s request to back off.

Two hours after his intervention, she tweeted:

4.16pm: Boulton suggests that the Leveson inquiry would not exist today if the Guardian had not reported in July last year that Milly Dowler’s voicemails had been deleted, leading to a “false hope” moment among the missing girl’s family.

“Without that allegation, subsequent history – possibly including the existence of this inquiry – would be very different,” he says, adding that he is “posing it as a question”.

The Met police said earlier this month that the full truth about the circumstances of hacking into Milly Dowler’s phone may never be known.

4.15pm: Boulton is asked about the MPs’ expenses scandal and the theory that lobby journalists had ignored the story before it was exposed.

“I can’t see any evidence of a cover-up by lobby journalists on that,” he says.

4.08pm: “Off the record” is not a concept understood by members of the public, Boulton says.

“If you put the PM’s spokesperson on the record you risk creating mini celebrities,” he says, adding: “Or, in the case of Alastair Campbell, big celebrities.”

He is similarly irked by official embargos which he says are often used to benefit one news medium or another.

4.04pm: Boulton says that if journalists want to know what the prime minister is thinking they would go to Gabby Bertin or Steve Hilton, rather than Steve Field, David Cameron’s official spokesman.

He says that the lobby system should switch to the White House model and adds: “At the moment I think it’s a corrupt system.”

4.01pm: In his witness statement, Boulton says that briefings are best delivered by a non-civil servant and speaks warmly of the Alastair Campbell days.

Asked about this by Barr, he explains that civil servants “never really have the authority to brief on behalf of a government, both politically and informational terms”.

4.00pm: Political parties can exclude broadcasters from interviews, conferences and other day-to-day events as a “sanction”, Boulton says.

“The immediate effect of that is that your offering is weaker than the offering of your competitor who has full access to all the political parties,” he adds.

3.58pm: Boulton was chairman of the political lobby of journalists in Westminster in 2007.

He says the lobby gave members physical access to politicians and to twice daily briefings with the prime minister’s spokesperson.

He adds that the lobby means less now than in the 1980s and that only a few of the briefings are on the record.

3.54pm: Politicians have “expressed to me their fear over intrusion and exposure and very often they mention the [Daily] Mail”, says Boulton.

He adds that he is not accusing the Daily Mail of anything illegal, but that “it is not a pleasant process and I can see why people might be intimidated by that”.

Barr asks if this is an unhealthy state of affairs between politicians and the media.

“It certainly speaks to the fact that the two are not friends,” Boulton says.

He adds that news organisations being able to “debunk the powerful in society” has a “salutary” effect overall, but that other pursuits by the media are not so pleasant.

3.53pm: We now have the full text of Lord Justice Leveson’s statement on the Jeremy Hunt row. You can read it here.

3.52pm: Patrick Wintour, the Guardian’s political editor, has just tweeted:

3.49pm: Boulton says that newspapers have been forced into a “secondary market” of comment because the primary facts of news now plays out online.

“I think that in some areas, pertinent to this inquiry, has led to a degree of desperation in getting something different,” says Boulton.

“Interesting,” replies Leveson, before David Barr moves on.

3.48pm: Boulton does not believe that the media “hunt in a pack”, as has been claimed.

However, he adds that it is part of the function of TV news to try and get a pictures and words with one particular person of interest if they are in the news. He uses the example of doorstepping politicians.

“I’m the only person to doorstep the Queen and get her to talk about politics,” Boulton says, describing this practice as justified for TV news journalists. “I regard that as a legitimate journalism.”

He added that Blair tried to “stop” doorstepping, never responding to questions.

3.37pm: Boulton says the Blair government’s 45-minute claim over the threat from Iraqi weapons of mass destruction “was something I had my attention drawn to by Downing Street as something worth reporting … and I would say that was sensational”.

He says it is not the job of journalists to regurgitate government press releases and statements.

3.32pm: Boulton says, anecdotally, some ministers are not keen to appear on BBC’s Newsnight because they believe they will not be able to discuss something they were “promised”.

3.28pm: Rebekah Brooks and five others accused of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice will appear at City of Westminster magistrates’ court on 13 June, according to Press Association.

3.24pm: The inquiry has resumed and Boulton is asked about his own hospitality of politicians.

Often politicians will ask to have lunch if an interview Boulton has done with them “has not gone particularly well for them”.

He will meet contacts on expenses half a dozen times a month, according to his witness statement.

3.20pm: Back in May 2010, Boulton was in the headlines for his on-screen clash with another recent Leveson inquiry witness, former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell. You can watch footage above, while Andrew Sparrow’s report at the time is here. The pair had a rematch the following January, which MediaGuardian reported here.

3.17pm: The inquiry is taking a short break.

3.16pm: Boulton says that colleagues at Sky News believe it is “increasingly difficult” to get lunch partners with politicians.

Print journalists are given “modest” stories over lunches with politicians, he says, so it is a constructive way of establishing a good relationship.

He says these meetings should be disclosed by ministers and special advisers to ministers.

3.14pm: Sky News has never sought or been invited to attend a No 10 briefing, Boulton says.

“It’s not particularly our style. We’re quite busy and sometimes they take up more time than they’re necessarily worth, in my judgment,” he adds.

3.14pm: Boulton says Sky News journalists have been careful not to be seen to express an opinion on News Corp’s BSkyB bid.

He received emails from the BSkyB chief executive, Jeremy Darroch, but says it was not the job of Sky News to lobby or take sides over the bid.

3.10pm: Boulton is asked about News Corp’s bid to take full control of BSkyB.

He says he tried to make it clear to people that BSkyB was “independent” and regulated in the same way as ITV.

People sometimes make or have made in the past the wrong assumption about that. It’s very important to our reputation that BSkyB’s and Sky News’s integrity as an independent broadcaster should be well understood.

He says he has had three discussions with Rupert Murdoch in 23 years at Sky News.

3.06pm: Boulton is asked whether his invitation to Chequers was an example of media management by the New Labour machine.

He says: “In that period the politicisation of the power of information was recognised by Tony Blair, Alastair Campbell … so all meetings with the media became negotiable. Things which I think should be handed out as a right became favours of one kind or another.”

Boulton says the “obligation to tell the truth at all times” was not felt by the Blair or Brown governments.

3.04pm: Boulton believes government ministers should disclose the fact that meetings have taken place because it is often “worse than useless that partial information is given”.

He adds that this level of disclosure should apply to other captains of industry.

Boulton says he has not had an exclusive Sky News-only briefing from a government minister, but has been invited to Chequers along with other journalists.

2.59pm: Journalists develop a “semi-social” relationship with politicians so there is not a “direct transaction” in meetings, says Boulton.

David Barr, counsel to the inquiry, asks whether the relationship between journalists and politicians breeds “fertile ground for quid pro quos”.

No, Boulton says, adding that it is “perfectly understandable” for politicians to draw journalists’ attention to issues because news outlets offer “a window to the public”.

2.53pm: Boulton says the Guardian has focused on media matters because of MediaGuardian, while other newspapers do not have a dedicated media desk.

However, Nick Davies, the Guardian journalist who exposed the phone-hacking scandal, is not on the MediaGuardian section of the newspaper.

2.52pm: Boulton says that all media are subject to “the court of public opinion” and ethics, which can ultimately have commercial consequences for news outlets.

On the phone-hacking scandal, Boulton says he is not sure it was an “unreasonable proposition” for the news media to move on after the convictions of Clive Goodman and Glenn Mulcaire in 2007.

He adds that if it had not been for the Milly Dowler allegations “we wouldn’t have had the watershed moment which we had”.

“I have to say I felt after one session … of Mr Davies [Nick Davies, the Guardian journalist] before the culture, media and sport committee I didn’t feel he had unearthed any new information at all … and subsequently he did.”

2.51pm: Tory MP Louise Mensch has just tweeted:

2.44pm: Boulton says there are different types of journalism and that Sky News is “less inclined and probably not so well suited to” the investigative journalism that might appear in newspapers or magazines.

He says that type of journalism “might not take place” if newspapers were regulated by an Ofcom-style body.

Is there any other inhibition by being regulated by Ofcom?

Boulton replies that there is a place for people to go “over the top” in journalism, adding: “I think it’s good that not everything comes under regulation.”

2.40pm: Boulton says broadcasters are “held to a higher level of accountability” than newspapers because they are regulated by Ofcom. “I don’t feel inhibited by it,” he adds.

2.37pm: Sky News field producer Jim Old has just tweeted:

2.33pm: Boulton says he thinks the media should have no greater rights than the individual in terms of freedom of speech.

2.28pm: Barr asks Boulton if his marriage to Tony Blair’s former spin doctor Anji Hunter is typical of the close links between the media and politics.

Boulton says Hunter’s role might have led to conflicts of interest, but she left her No 10 role before they were in a serious relationship.


Leveson inquiry: Adam Boulton
Leveson inquiry: Adam Boulton

2.26pm: Adam Boulton, political editor of Sky News, has taken the witness stand.

It emerges as he is sworn in that his middle name is Babbington.

David Barr, counsel to the inquiry, is questioning Boulton.

2.24pm: Leveson says it is a matter for parliament to decide how Hunt should account for himself over the BSkyB bid. “It is but a small, albeit significant, part of the evidence I have been hearing,” he adds.

The judge says that requiring ministers to first give evidence to the Commons before the inquiry would “equally undermine the fairness of the procedure”.

2.23pm: Leveson confirms he will call the two aides at the heart of the row over Jeremy Hunt’s handling of the BSkyB-News Corp bid – Adam Smith, the former special adviser to Hunt, and the News Corp lobbyist, Fred Michel – before the end of May.

2.19pm: After reading a lengthy Hansard extract from yesterday’s exchanges in parliament, Leveson repeats that he will not adjudicate on whether the House of Commons has been misled.

“It is of course open to the prime minister to take any action he wishes in connection with the conduct of one of his ministers,” he says.

2.17pm: Leveson now turns to requests for Hunt to provide material to the House of Commons before the Leveson inquiry.

The Speaker of the House of Commons yesterday said that parliament should be “pre-eminent” over the Leveson inquiry.

Hunt was accused by the shadow culture secretary, Harriet Harman, of dodging accountability to the House of Commons by maintaining that he was providing information to the Leveson inquiry.

2.14pm: Leveson repeats that he will not be making a judgement on whether there has been a breach of the ministerial code.

He adds that the emails are significant because they display “manifestations, to return to the terms of reference, of the relationships between media operations and politicians”.

2.11pm: Leveson says he is acutely aware that documents such as the Michel emails can “frequently bear more than one meaning” and interpretation.

He says he will make findings based on the terms of reference in due course. “I am absolutely not taking sides,” he says, adding that there will be room for further inquiries once his has concluded if necessary.

2.09pm: Lord Justice Leveson is opening this part of the inquiry with a statement.

He refers to emails sent by News Corp lobbyist Fred Michel to a special adviser to Jeremy Hunt.

Leveson says he will approach the inquiry from a “non-partisan judicial perspective”.

1.44pm: Mark Hanna, the News International head of security charged this morning with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, has said in a statement: “I have no doubt that ultimately justice will prevail and I will be totally exonerated.”

Hanna’s statement was reported by the Press Association crime correspondent, Tom Morgan.

1.30pm: Campaign group Hacked Off has issued a statement on the charging of Rebekah Brooks:

The Hacked Off campaign believes the CPS decision to charge Rebekah Brooks and others means a welcome opportunity to get to the bottom of accusations that have so far been the subject of intense speculation by the media.

Now that charges are being brought, this is a matter for the criminal courts.


Charlie Brooks
Charlie Brooks leaves Hammersmith police station. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

12.28pm: The Press Association is reporting:

Charlie Brooks was spotted leaving Hammersmith police station, in west London, this morning while Rebekah Brooks, wearing a black trouser suit, was filmed entering Lewisham police station.

12.03pm: Sky News has just carried pictures of Charlie Brooks leaving a London police station. He was pictured by about half a dozen waiting photographers as he left the station, saying to one: “You don’t have to walk back into the road, just let me know when you’re done”.

Rebekah Brooks was pictured earlier entering a separate London police station.

12.01pm: The Leveson inquiry will return at 2pm, when Lord Justice Leveson will make a statement “of some significance” on recent events. Adam Boulton, political editor of Sky News, will give evidence after the judge’s statement.

We will continue our coverage of the CPS decision to charge Rebekah Brooks, Charlie Brooks and five others with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

11.40am: Lord Justice Leveson says he will make a statement at 2pm on recent events that will be of some significance. He did not say what recent events he was referring to.

The inquiry is taking a short break.

11.38am: Owen Bowcott, the Guardian’s legal affairs correspondent, has just filed this on the potential sentences for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice:

The maximum sentence that a judge can impose on a defendant convicted of perverting the course of justice is life imprisonment. It is a common law offence that must be tried before a jury in a crown court.

But the average sentence being served by those jailed for the offence, according to Ministry of Justice figures from December 2010, was only 10 months. Curiously, the average for women – 12.3 months – was higher than for men – 9.6 months.

If found guilty, Rebekah and Charlie Brooks and others charged today with with perverting the course of justice are likely to face an immediate custodial sentence. The couple issued a statement deploring what they said was “weak and unjust decision” to charge them.

A 2007 appeal judgment said that the appropriate sentence should depend on three determinants, the “seriousness of the substantive offence to which the perverting of the course of justice related, the degree of persistence and the effect of the attempt to pervert the course of justice on the course of justice itself”.

According to Archbold, the criminal lawyers’ reference book, the normal range in sentencing those guilty of concealing evidence is between four and 18 months – but longer in more serious cases.

The millionaire novelist Lord Archer received four years in prison for perverting the course of justice by concealing the existence of a diary, in 2001. He was also imprisoned for several offences of perjury.

11.33am: Wakeham says Northern Shell’s decision to quit the PCC is a “serious” one. He believes that Lord Hunt’s proposals for contracts is a way of getting round the Richard Desmond issue.

However he says he would be “very reluctant to advise the government to bring in statutory control of the press”.

11.30am: Henri Brandman, Cheryl Carter’s solicitor, has issued the following statement:

Cheryl Carter understands that she is to be charged today with attempting to pervert the course of justice.

She vigorously denies the commission of that or any offence.

She would like to thank her family and friends for their continued support during this most unhappy period of her life.

Neither she, nor I, will be making any further comment at this stage.

11.28am: Christopher Hope, senior political correspondent of the Daily Telegraph, writes that the charges faced by Rebekah and Charlie Brooks will hang over David Cameron until the next general election:

He says:

Unquestionably the decision to charge the former tabloid editor and chief executive of the News of the World hugely increases the pressure on the Prime Minister, who is due to give evidence under oath to the Leveson inquiry on press ethics within the next few weeks.

11.16am: Wakeham is asked about the future of press regulation.

“I was never a regulator. I didn’t see myself as a regulator,” he says.

He denies a speech made in 1995 calling for the removal of the “sword of Damocles suspended over the fourth estate” was about regulator. “I wanted to get rid of the regulation and have self-regulation,” he said.

11.06am: Wakeham says he was against fines for newspapers while he was chairman of the PCC.

He says the changes made to press regulation in the aftermath of Princess Diana’s death were “right at the time”.

Asked about the Human Rights Act – which he has publicly criticised – Wakeham says that it does not have appropriate safeguards for journalism in the public interest.

10.57am: Changes to the PCC code proposed by Lord Wakeham following the death of Princess Diana came into force in 1998.

Patry-Hoskins asks whether he believes those changes really made a difference. She refers to complaints by the actor Sienna Miller and the biography of Darryn Lyons, founder of Big Pictures.

Wakeham says: “I think they did make a difference. The crux of what I tried to do was to say that the editor is responsible for what appears in his newspaper.”

“The respect of the PCC has gone down in recent years because they haven’t had the high profile of complaints that we had … The system in my day was it was not right to do anything about it if the person didn’t complain, and there was good reason for that.”

10.52am: Wakeham is asked about the aftermath of the death of Princess Diana. He was chairman of the PCC at the time and launched an urgent review of the committee’s code following accusations that chasing by paparazzi contributed to her death.

About half of all complaints to the PCC at the time were about the local press, Wakeham says, pointing out how much the newspaper industry has changed since 1997.

Wakeham says he had to “move carefully” to make sure editors were satisfied with any proposed changes to the PCC code.

10.48am: Wakeham recalls an incident where a picture of a member of the royal family, before she became a royal, was published in a Sunday paper.

He says he ran Buckingham palace to say they had to make a complaint. Nothing happened. He wanted the prime minister to be able to say it was a matter before the PCC. He rang three times and still didn’t get an answer so issued a statement saying he was “expecting a complaint” from the palace and he then got one.

“It would not have been dealt with had I weighed in. I did it with various other people. It’s to get the thing dealt with and not allow the continuous story how feeble they were and how difficult they were.”

This is presumably a reference to Sophie Rhys-Jones, although the picture was published in the Sun, not a Sunday paper.

He also recalls a separate incident where a chief executive of a major company had divorced his wife, married someone else, divorced the second wife and went back to the first. He couldn’t understand why the newspapers couldn’t report it. “I told him there was no point complaining to me. That’s life,” said Wakeham.

10.47am: Patry Hoskins tells the inquiry that Wakeham in his evidence says that the PCC had lost credibility under his predecessor (Lord McGregor) especially in relation to the royal family, the “Camilla tapes” and pictures of Princess Diana.

“Leaderless and didn’t command widespread respect,” is how he describes it.

“It was important to get the Press Complaints Commission more highly respected,” says Wakeham.

10.46am: Recalling his appointment, Wakeham says the newspaper industry accepted they needed a chairman “with a bit of clout to stop statutory control, to get standards up to an acceptable level”.

Leveson intervenes – but the point is the newspaper industry was doing the appointing for the newspaper industry, rather than “somebody who is going to be square about this”.

Wakeham says they were not necessarily after someone on the side of newspapers but “what they wanted was someone who could make self regulation work in a way that was satisfactory”.

10.44am: Wakeham was appointed chairman of the PCC in January 1995. Patry Hoskins describes his appointment as a “tap on the shoulder” by the chairman of Pressbof, the Press Standards Board of Finance. Is that appropriate, she asks.

Wakeham replies: “It was 18 years ago. It wouldn’t be done like that today. Whether they get a better chairman by the new system…”


Leveson inquiry: Lord Wakeham
Leveson inquiry: Lord Wakeham

10.43am: Back at the Leveson inquiry, former PCC chairman Lord Wakeham is giving evidence. Carine Patry Hoskins, junior counsel to the inquiry, is doing the questioning.

Wakeham on why he opposed a privacy law:

It would not have been very easy to define the public interest, secondly I did not think that it would be at all easy to get the legislation through parliament, thirdly I did not think it would protect the people who read newspapers. The privacy law this would have created would have been very difficult for public unless they are rich and not quite as bad for newspapers as they pretend.

10.41am: The Daily Mail deputy political editor, Tim Shipman, has tweeted:

10.39am: Separately, the Metropolitan police has arrested two suspects in relation to its Operation Elveden investigation into allegations of illegal payments to public officials.

A man, 50, who is employed by HM Revenue Customs and a 43-year-old woman were arrested at their home address in northwest London early on Tuesday morning.

The arrests followed material passed to the police by News Corporation’s management and standards committee.

Scotland Yard said in a statement:

The 50-year-old man is an employee of HM Revenue and Customs. He was arrested on suspicion of misconduct in a public office (Elveden arrest ’28′), contrary to common law and suspicion of corruption under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906.

A 43-year-old woman was also arrested at the address on suspicion of aiding and abetting misconduct in a public office and suspicion of money laundering offences under Section 328 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. (Elveden arrest ’29′).

Both are being questioned at a central London police station.

Today’s arrests are the result of information provided to police by News Corporation’s management standards committee. They relate to suspected payments to a public official and are not about seeking journalists to reveal confidential sources in relation to information that has been obtained legitimately.


Cheryl Carter
Cheryl Carter. Photograph: Dave Parry/PA Archive

10.31am: Cheryl Carter, 47, was Brooks’s longstanding personal assistant and worked with her for 19 years. She was taken into custody in January in Essex on suspicion of attempting to pervert the course of justice and has been rebailed three times since.

Carter worked with Brooks when she was editor of the News of the World and the Sun and latterly when Brooks was elevated to the chief executive’s role.

In 2003 Carter was given a beauty column in the Sun and co-founded her own makeup brand called Famous.

On Thinkingslimmer.com she dished out tips on everything from how to get glossy lips to the nourishing and hydrating qualities of rosewater.

As recently as July, she was listed as the Sun’s beauty editor.

10.21am: Our full story on the decision to charge Brooks with perverting the course of justice is now live. Sandra Laville writes:

Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive of News International, is to be charged with perverting the course of justice, the Crown Prosecution Service said on Tuesday.

She faces three charges of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice including the alleged removal of seven cases of material from the archive of News International and the concealing of documents and computers from officers investigating phone hacking.

Brooks, who was arrested in March by Scotland Yard police officers investigating phone hacking, is the first person to face charges in the major criminal investigation into hacking and allegations of bribing public officials.

Her husband, Charlie Brooks, the racehorse trainer and friend of the prime minister, is also to be charged, the CPS announced.

Four other people are also being charged with perverting the course of justice. One other person who was arrested will not face charges.

You can read the full article here.

10.16am: Sky News reports that Rebekah Brooks is poised to make a statement to camera in response to the charges announced by the CPS.

Brooks and her husband, Charlie, described the charges as “weak and unjust” in a statement released to the Press Association shortly before the CPS announcement.

10.08am: Alison Levitt, the CPS’s principal legal adviser to the director of public prosecutions, has made a short statement on the charges facing Brooks.

Here is the statement read by Levitt:

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 27 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’ 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 6 July and 19 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 6 July and 9 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 15 July and 19 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.

10.02am: Brooks and her racehorse trainer husband Charlie said they were to be charged with perverting the course of justice minutes before the official Crown Prosecution Service announcement.

Here is the full statement from the pair:

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.

9.57am: Rebekah Brooks and her husband Charlie Brooks are to be charged with perverting the course of justice during the phone-hacking scandal, the pair have said in a statement.

The pair said:

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.

9.55am: Lord Wakeham, who is due to give evidence today at the Leveson inquiry, was the chairman of the PCC at the time of Princess Diana’s death.

Wakeham launched an urgent review of the PCC code following accusations that the chasing by paparazzi contributed to her death.

9.46am: Good morning and welcome to the Leveson inquiry live blog.

This morning we will be focusing our coverage on Rebekah Brooks, the former News International chief executive who will learn at 10am whether she is to face charges for perverting the course of justice.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is to announce whether Brooks, her husband Charlie, and five other suspects will face charges for perverting the course of justice.

The decision on whether criminal charges will be brought or not has been made by Alison Levitt QC, who is the CPS’s principal legal adviser to the director of public prosecutions. Levitt is in charge of the CPS’s decision-making concerning the investigations into phone hacking and other related police inquiries.

We will bring you coverage and reaction to the CPS announcement live from 10am.

Later we will cover the Leveson inquiry, where the former PCC chairman Lord Wakeham and the Sky News political editor Adam Boulton will give evidence.

Please note that comments have been switched off for legal reasons.

9.46am: Good morning and welcome to the Leveson inquiry live blog.

This morning we will be focusing our coverage on Rebekah Brooks, the former News International chief executive who will learn at 10am whether she is to face charges for perverting the course of justice.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is to announce whether Brooks, her husband Charlie, and five other suspects will face charges for perverting the course of justice.

The decision on whether criminal charges will be brought or not has been made by Alison Levitt QC, who is the CPS’s principal legal adviser to the director of public prosecutions. Levitt is in charge of the CPS’s decision-making concerning the investigations into phone hacking and other related police inquiries.

We will bring you coverage and reaction to the CPS announcement live from 10am.

Later we will cover the Leveson inquiry, where the former PCC chairman Lord Wakeham and the Sky News political editor Adam Boulton will give evidence.

Please note that comments have been switched off for legal reasons.

Article source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/may/15/rebekah-brooks-charging-leveson-inquiry

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