5 Jun 2013

Rebekah Brooks denies phone hacking charges

Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks denies phone hacking charges during an appearance at Southwark crown court.

The ex-News of the World and Sun editor also denied conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Rebekah Brooks, who used to run the whole British newspaper arm of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, appeared in a packed courtroom alongside fellow former News International staff.

Former News of the World news editor James Weatherup and former managing editor Stuart Kuttner also denied hacking charges.

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 in 2011.

Brooks, her husband Charlie Brooks, former News International head of security, Mark Hanna, security staff Lee Sandell and David Johnson, and driver Paul Edwards are all accused of conspiracy to pervert the court of justice by allegedly hiding documents, computers and other electronic equipment from police officers investigating allegations of phone hacking and corruption of public officials. They all deny the charges.

Former royal editor Clive Goodman also appeared in court and denied two charges of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.

All of the defendants were released on bail and are due to stand trial later this year.

Brooks, 45, was arrested at the height of the inquiry into illegal reporting practices in 2011.

The investigation, which prompted the closure of the mass-selling News of the World Sunday tabloid and a year-long public inquiry, sent shockwaves through the establishment as it revealed the close ties between the country’s media, police and politicians.

It was revealed that journalists at the News of the World routinely hacked into the voicemail messages of the rich and powerful.