Legal documents on News UK's decision to drop application for phone-hacking trial costs will not be made public, judge rules

Legal documents concerning News International's decision to drop its application for costs in relation to the multimillion-pound phone-hacking trial of Rebekah Brooks (pictured, Reuters) and her staff will not be made public, a judge has ruled.

The company, now known as News UK, decided not to proceed with the application because it had been "troubled" by "the sheer scale" of assessing costs, Robert Smith QC told the Old Bailey yesterday.

Today, Mr Justice Saunders said he did "not consider at the moment that it would be right to release them".

He said of News UK: "They have not had the opportunity to deal with the questions and it may look to the public that the questions represented my view. They do not."

Brooks, 46, was acquitted of being part of the hacking conspiracy along with her former personal assistant Cheryl Carter, 50, and News International head of security Mark Hanna, 51, following a 139-day trial which ended in June.

Smith, representing News UK, yesterday told the court that the company had "indicated that they have not felt willing to engage in an exercise which involves addressing these issues in these proceedings.

"The end result is that News UK would not seek or accept any part of any order by way of costs from central funds, public funds or however one wishes to express it."

A spokesman for the Rupert Murdoch-owned company said yesterday: "Given the certainty that our costs would continue to increase disproportionately, we've taken the pragmatic view not to seek repayment from the defendants for legal costs borne by the company."

Jonathan Laidlaw QC, representing Brooks, said she had already made clear she did not intend to attempt to recover her personal expenses incurred during the case.

Her husband, Charlie Brooks, 51, and retired managing editor Stuart Kuttner, 74, were also found not guilty of being part of the hacking conspiracy, which dates back to 2000, but are continuing to seek their costs.

Racehorse trainer Brooks, who attended the hearing, paid his own costs during the case and is seeking ballpark costs of £600,000, the court heard.

Jonathan Caplan QC, representing Kuttner, said he paid out "from his own pocket a little less than £135,000" until News UK indemnified him from January 2013 onwards.

Mr Justice Saunders is expected to announce his ruling on their application later this month.

Former News Of The World editor Brooks was found not guilty of hacking, conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office for allegedly signing off payments to a Sun journalist's "number one military contact" between 2004 and 2012, conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and perverting the course of justice.

Her husband was found not guilty of perverting the course of justice around the time of police searches in July 2011, while Kuttner was also cleared of hacking.

Carter was found not guilty of perverting the course of justice by removing seven boxes from the News International archive days before she was arrested in 2011 while Hanna was cleared of perverting the course of justice around the time of police searches in July 2011.

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