Wednesday 21 March 2018

Brooks said it's easy to hack phones, court told

Rebekah Brooks: denies lunch conversation about voicemails
Rebekah Brooks: denies lunch conversation about voicemails

Estelle Shirbon

REBEKAH Brooks, former head of Rupert Murdoch's British newspaper group, told Eimear Cook, the ex-wife of golfer Colin Montgomerie, it was "easy" to listen to other people's voicemails, Ms Cook told a London court yesterday.

Ms Brooks, who is on trial alongside seven other defendants, has pleaded not guilty to charges related to phone-hacking at the 'News of the World' when she was editor, illegal payments to officials for stories and impeding police inquiries.

The prosecution told the jury earlier in the trial that the comments made by Ms Brooks to Ms Cook over lunch in 2005 about intercepting voicemails showed that the editor had known that phone-hacking was going on under her watch.

Ms Brooks denies this.


Ms Brooks' lawyer, Jonathan Laidlaw, accused Ms Cook of making up the conversation and other details about the lunch, a suggestion Ms Cook denied.

Ms Brooks was editor of the now-defunct Sunday tabloid 'News of the World', then of its sister daily paper 'The Sun', before rising to be chief executive of News International.

Appearing as a prosecution witness, Ms Cook was asked about an occasion in September 2005 when she and Ms Brooks had lunch along with two of Ms Cook's friends, a couple called the Manoukians.

"The bit I remember the most is the topic of how easy it is to listen to other people's voicemails as long as they haven't changed their factory-setting pin codes," Ms Cook told the court.

Asked who had said that, she answered: "Rebekah".

Asked to describe Ms Brooks' attitude while talking about these matters, Ms Cook said: "Quite flippant".

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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