Wednesday 13 December 2017

Rebekah Brooks denies conspiracy charges in court

Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks arrives at Southwark Crown Court in central London
Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks arrives at Southwark Crown Court in central London

Margaret Davis and Ellen Branagh

Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks appeared in court today and denied five charges.

The 45-year-old entered not guilty pleas to counts linked to an alleged conspiracy to hack phones, conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Brooks appeared in a packed courtroom at Southwark Crown Court alongside fellow former News International staff.

Brooks, of Churchill, Oxfordshire, denied conspiracy to hack phones between October 3, 2000, and August 9, 2006, as did former News of the World news editor James Weatherup and former managing editor Stuart Kuttner.

Brooks, former editor of both the News of the World and The Sun, also denied two charges of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office, one between January 1, 2004, and January 31, 2012, and a second between February 9, 2006, and October 16, 2008.

She also denied two counts of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

It is alleged that Brooks and her personal assistant Cheryl Carter, who also denies the charge, tried to remove boxes of archived material from the News International archive between July 6 and 9, 2011.

In a second count, Brooks, husband Charlie, former NI head of security Mark Hanna, security staff Lee Sandell and David Johnson, and driver Paul Edwards, are all accused of conspiring to pervert the course of justice between July 15 and 19, 2011, by hiding documents, computers and other electronic equipment from officers investigating allegations of phone hacking and corruption of public officials relating to the News of the World and The Sun.

All six today denied the charge.

Former News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman also appeared in court today and denied two counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.

The first offence allegedly took place between August 2002 and January 2003, and the second between January and June 2005.

All the defendants were released on bail and are due to face trial later in the year.

The charges arise from Operation Weeting, Scotland Yard's investigation into phone hacking; Operation Elveden, its probe into alleged corrupt payments to public officials; and Operation Sacha, the investigation into allegations of perverting the course of justice.

There was standing room only in the packed courtroom for the hearing today, with attendees including Labour MP Tom Watson.

Press Association

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