Rebekah Brooks is Sharon Shoesmith – will David Cameron condemn her in an open letter to the Sun?
SO. Rebekah Brooks and her husband Charlie Brooks have been charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice during the phone-hacking investigation. The allegation is that the former editor of the News of the World and the Sun who was promoted to the role of Chief Executive Officer of News International concealed computers, information, and documents from the Metropolitan Police.
If guilty, then everything the Sun has ever stood for is dust. The couple say they are innocent, issuing this statement:
“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.”
So much for tabloidese. It turns out that Brooks sounds more like a North Korean despot than a champion of clear and snappy English.
Alison Levitt, QC, Principal Legal Advisor to the Director of Public Prosecutions, issued her own statement:
“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:
Cheryl Carter – Brooks’s personal assistant; [and Sun Beauty editor]
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 allegations are:
Charge one: “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.”
Charge 2: “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.”
Charge 3: “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 adds:
“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.”
And then this bit:
“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.”
So anyone who says Rebekah Brooks is an “oddball” or “weirdo” like Robert Murat or Chris Jefferies weren’t, or is in any way like Sharon Shoemsith, the head of Haringey social service who became the subject of a tabloid witch-hunt and an open letter by David Cameron in the Sun, is wrong. Innocence must always be presumed.
Meanwhile, anyone remember what Dave said about Shoesmith? Here you go – a refresher. Just change the name Baby P to Milly Dowler:
…More than 1.3million signed The Sun Baby P petition, each name a cry for justice. Yesterday, those cries were answered. The sackings, suspensions, resignations were long overdue. Thank God the Government answered our call for the independent inquiry that was needed.
But other big questions remain unanswered.
Why should the serious case review which tells the full story of what went wrong remain top secret?
The public will have to wait months to see a summary of the report. That is totally unacceptable.
It reveals serious mistakes that led to Baby P’s death. It is vital that other professionals learn from these mistakes.
What have they got to hide? Why can’t the public read the facts in full?
What kind of culture puts safeguarding the system before children, protecting bureaucrats before our babies?
The army of Sun readers who signed their names to that petition want answers to these questions, and so do I. It’s thanks to pressure from this paper that we’ve got this far, but we’ve got to keep pushing for the truth.
Let us know when you see a similar petition in the Sun for this little matter…