Rebekah Brooks and her husband Charlie, plus four others, were yesterday charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. Charlie is a chum of PM Cameron since their Eton days.
Alison Levitt, QC, principal legal adviser to the Director of Public Prosecutions overseeing CPS decision-making, outlined the charges.
She said: ‘Charge 1 – conspiracy to pervert the course of justice:
‘Rebekah Brooks between 6th 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.
‘Charge 2 – conspiracy to pervert the course of justice:
‘Rebekah Brooks and Cheryl Carter between 6th July and 9 July 2011 conspired together permanently to remove seven boxes of material from the archive of News International.
‘Charge 3 – conspiracy to pervert the course of justice:
‘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.
‘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.’
In response, Brooks and her husband said in a joint statement: ‘We deplore this weak and unjust decision.’
Brooks was editor of the News of the World when murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler’s voicemails were allegedly intercepted.
Conspiring to pervert the course of justice has to be tried in the Crown Court before a jury and can lead to a life sentence.