Tuesday 24 April 2018

Brooks had 'active part in phone-hacking conspiracy'

Paying for information also approved, court told

Rebekah Brooks and husband Charlie leaving the Old Bailey as the prosecution case against her and seven others began
Rebekah Brooks and husband Charlie leaving the Old Bailey as the prosecution case against her and seven others began
Cheryl Carter leaving the London court

Martin Evans

Rebekah Brooks was "active" in a conspiracy to hack phones while she was editor of the 'News of the World', London's Old Bailey has heard.

She went on to approve "quite large sums" of money to public officials for information after she was appointed editor of 'The Sun', a jury was told.

The prosecution began opening its case against Mrs Brooks, who became chief executive of Rupert Murdoch's News International, and Andy Coulson, who was later David Cameron's communications chief.

Andrew Edis QC, prosec- uting, told jurors: "This is the phone hacking trial, but it is not only the phone hacking trial, as you already know.

"It has arisen out of an investigation which started in January 2011 into phone hacking at the 'News of the World'. That investigation uncovered other things against various people.

"The investigation and discoveries resulted in the closure of the 'News of the World'. That came about because of the discovery that the phone of (murdered schoolgirl) Milly Dowler had been hacked."

Mr Edis said that Mrs Brooks had been the editor of the 'News of the World' and during this period was "active in the conspiracy" to hack phones.

Later, while editing 'The Sun', she also approved "quite large sums" of money to officials for information, the court heard.

The prosecutor went on to outline charges of perverting the course of justice in the dying days of the 'News of the World, which was closed in the summer of 2011.

He said it "wasn't a secret" that an investigation was being carried out into the paper and it was quite clear that the storm wasn't going to go away.

Mr Edis said that during this period Mrs Brooks and her trusted personal assistant Cheryl Carter obtained Mrs Brooks' old notebooks.

"They were got out of the archive on the Friday before the last edition of the 'News of the World' was closed. After that the building was sealed and became a crime scene," he said. The prosecutor alleged that the notebooks "would have revealed the way she (Mrs Brooks) operated" if they had not "disappeared".

Mr Edis said phone hacking became a crime in 2000, and was defined by the law as "unlawful interception of communications".

Mr Edis said four of the people on trial – Mrs Brooks, Mr Coulson, Stuart Kuttner, and Ian Edmondson – who were charged with conspiring to intercept communications, had all been in senior positions at the 'News of the World'.

TARGETED

The prosecutor said the evidence in the case would show that some public officials had illegally sold private information to the 'News of the World' and 'The Sun'.

The public figures targeted by the papers included Paul McCartney and his former wife Heather Mills as well as Jude Law and Siena Miller, the jury heard. Mr Edis directed the jury to articles they would be looking at, including one in 'The Sun' headlined: "Army bonking in the Congo".

Closing his submissions for the day, the prosecutor asked the jurors to consider the role of the management at the 'News of the World' and ask whether it was possible that they did not know what was going on.

Mrs Brooks (45) is accused of conspiracy to intercept voicemails, conspiracy to cause misconduct in public office and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. Mr Coulson (45) is facing charges related to phone hacking and to alleged corrupt payments.

They are standing trial with six others, including Mrs Brooks' racehorse trainer husband Charlie (50); Mr Kuttner (73), a former managing editor; Mr Edmondson (44) ex-head of news; Clive Goodman (56), ex-royal editor; Ms Carter (49); and Mark Hanna (50), former security chief. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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