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article imageRebekah Brooks: 'I am baffled by the decision to charge me'

By Yukio Strachan     May 16, 2012 in Crime
Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive of News International, now faces criminal charges and possible prison time over the phone hacking scandal that has rocked Britain to its core.
“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,” said Alison Levitt, the principal legal adviser to the director of public prosecutions.
"Others" were identified as Cheryl Carter, Brooks’ fiercely loyal personal assistant; Mark Hanna, the head of security at News International, the British newspaper subsidiary of the Murdoch family’s News Corporation; a chauffeur, Paul Edwards; and two security consultants, Daryl Jorsling and a second suspect who was not named.
According to The Guardian UK, Levitt also explained that the decision to charge six of the seven individuals arrested over the allegations came after prosecutors applied the two-stage test required of them when making charging decisions.
"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," she said.
"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."
The crime? Levitt said the six suspects conspired to “conceal material” from police officers and to “remove seven boxes of material from the archive of News International.”
Brooks, her race trainer husband, Charlie Brooks, Hanna, Edwards and Jorsling also conspired “to conceal documents, computers and other electronic equipment” from during the investigation.
“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,” Levitt concluded.
Brooks and her husband went to separate police stations in London on Tuesday, and a statement from The Crown Prosecution Service said it had received a file of evidence from the police on March 27 concerning Brooks, her husband and five other suspects, the New York Times reported.
But before the prosecution made a statement, before their trip to the police station, Brooks and her husband had something to say.
“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,” Brooks and her husband, Charlie, said in a statement. “We deplore this weak and unjust decision.”
“After the further unprecedented posturing of the C.P.S., we will respond later today after our return from the police station,” the couple’s statement said.
And they didn't disappoint.
According to the Independent, in a defiant statement The former News International chief executive said allegations that she, her husband and four others plotted to hide evidence were "an expensive sideshow and a waste of public money".
She added: "Although I understand the need for a thorough investigation, I am baffled by the decision to charge me. However I cannot express my anger enough that those close to me have unfairly been dragged into this."
The 43-year-old with her husband Charlie by her side, said the decision to charge her as nothing but a "witch hunt" against her.
Brooks said: "Whilst I have always respected the criminal justice system, I have to question today whether this decision was made on a proper impartial assessment of the evidence."
Charlie Brooks said: "I feel today is an attempt to use me and others as scapegoats, the effect of which is to ratchet up the pressure on my wife, who I believe is the subject of a witch hunt.
"There are 172 police officers, about the equivalent of eight murder squads, working on this; so it doesn't surprise me that the pressure is on to prosecute, no matter how weak the cases will be.
"I have no doubt that the lack of evidence against me will be borne out in court but I have grave doubts that my wife can ever get a fair trial, given the huge volume of biased commentary which she has been subjected to.
"We will fight this in court."
Indeed, they will. There's even a court date set: June 13.
More about rebekah brooks, News of the world, Rupert Murdoch