EX-DOWNING Street communications chief Andy Coulson and ex-News International executive Rebekah Brooks have been charged in connection with payments to police and public officials.
This is the full CPS statement made by Alison Levitt QC, Principal Legal Advisor to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
‘This statement is made in the interests of transparency and accountability to explain the decisions reached in respect of allegations arising from Operation Elveden into allegations of unlawful payment by News International staff to public officials.
‘This announcement relates to two files of evidence received from the Metropolitan Police Service.
The two files were received on 30 August 2012 and are:
• A file for charging advice involving two journalists in relation to allegations of misconduct in public office.
• A file for charging advice involving two journalists and two public officials in relation to allegations of misconduct in public office.
‘The first of these two files relates to:
• Clive Goodman, who was the royal correspondent for News of the World before 2007; and
• Andy Coulson, who was the News of the World’s deputy editor between 2000 and 2003 and editor between 2003 and 2007.
‘We have concluded, following a careful review of the evidence, that Clive Goodman and Andy Coulson should be charged with two conspiracies.
‘The allegations relate to the request and authorisation of payments to public officials in exchange for information, including a Palace phone directory known as the “Green Book” containing contact details for the Royal Family and members of the household.
‘The second of these two files relates to:
• Rebekah Brooks, who was editor of the Sun between 14 January 2003 and 1 September 2009;
• John Kay, who was chief reporter at the Sun between 1990 and 2011;
• Bettina Jordan Barber, employed by the Ministry of Defence; and
• One further suspect in relation to whom the investigation is still ongoing
‘We have concluded, following a careful review of the evidence, that Bettina Jordan-Barber, John Kay and Rebekah Brooks should be charged with a conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office between 1 January 2004 and 31 January 2012.
‘This conspiracy relates to information allegedly provided by Bettina Jordan-Barber for payment which formed the basis of a series of news stories published by The Sun.
‘It is alleged that approximately £100,000 was paid to Bettina Jordan Barber between 2004 and 2011.
‘All of these matters were considered carefully in accordance with the DPP’s guidelines on the public interest in cases affecting the media.
‘This guidance asks prosecutors to consider whether the public interest served by the conduct in question outweighs the overall criminality before bringing criminal proceedings.
‘Following charge, these individuals will appear before Westminster Magistrates’ Court on a date to be determined.
‘May I remind all concerned that these five 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.’
The full charges are as follows:
Andy Coulson & Clive Goodman:
Clive Goodman and Andrew Coulson, between 31 August 2002 and 31 January 2003, conspired together and with a person or persons unknown to commit misconduct in public office. Contrary to s.1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977
Clive Goodman and Andrew Coulson, between 31 January 2005 and 3 June 2005, conspired together and with a person or persons unknown to commit misconduct in public office. Contrary to s.1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977
Bettina Jordan-Barber, John Kay & Rebekah Brooks:
Bettina Jordan-Barber, John Kay and Rebekah Brooks, between 1 January 2004 and 31 January 2012, conspired together, and with others, to commit misconduct in public office. Contrary to s.1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977.
Jordan-Barber, a strategy officer at the MoD in London with responsibility for Afghanistan, allegedly handed the Murdoch press information for stories between 2004 and 2012 in return for £100,000.
Scotland Yard has been carrying out three inquiries into illegal newsgathering techniques at News International.
Operation Weeting into phone hacking, Tuleta into computer hacking and other breaches of privacy and Elveden into corruption of police and public officials have made 97 arrests, of journalists, police officers, civil servants, prison and tax officials and members of the Armed Forces.
Yesterday’s announcement brings the number of people charged to 20.
Brooks, a former editor of the News of the World and The Sun, and five others – including her husband, former Cameron school chum Charlie Brooks – have been accused of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and conspiracy to hack phones.
Coulson, who served as prime minister Cameron’s director of communications for five years, until his resignation in January last year, is accused of perjury in Scotland and conspiracy to hack phones in England and Wales.
Five other former NoW journalists – managing editor Stuart Kuttner, chief reporter Neville and news editors Ian Edmonson, Greg Miskiw and James Weatherup – have been charged with phone hacking offences, along with private detective, Glenn Mulcaire.
Two other former senior staff at the News of the World’s Scottish edition have been charged in Scotland: former editor Bob Bird with attempting to pervert the course of justice and ex-news editor Douglas Wight with perjury, conspiracy to hack phones, and conspiracy to obtain personal data.
Counter-terrorism officer, Detective Chief Inspector April Casburn, is accused of leaking information to the News of the World about the police inquiry into whether to reopen the investigation into phone hacking in 2010.
She is due to stand trial in January next year, while the phone hacking cases are due to be heard in September.
All the accused deny the charges.
The Leveson Inquiry report into the ‘culture, practice and ethics’ of the press is expected to be published next week.