Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, her husband Charlie and four others are to be charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice during the phone-hacking investigation.
Rebekah Brooks is facing three conspiracy charges and it is alleged that she concealed information, documents and computers from the Met Police investigation into the phone-hacking scandal.
Brooks and her racehorse trainer husband Charlie revealed the charges in a statement in which they criticised the decision by the Crown Prosecution Service.
They said: “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.”
The charges were publicly released a few miniutes later, shortly after 10am, in a CPS statement.
Alison Levitt, QC, Principal Legal Advisor to the Director of Public Prosecutions, said: “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 – Brooks’s personal assistant;
- Mark Hanna – Head of security at News International;
- Paul Edwards – Brooks’s chauffeur who was employed by News International;
- Daryl Jorsling and a seventh suspect – both of whom provided security for 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.”
The CPS said that when the suspects appear at police stations later today they will be charged as follows:
- Charge one – conspiracy to pervert the course of justice – alleges that: “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.”
- A second charge of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice alleges that: “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.”
- A third charge of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice alleges that: “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.”
The CPS said: “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.”
Former News of the World editor Brooks resigned from her job as NI chief executive on 15 July following the closure of the NoW.
On 13 March 2012, the pair were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.