Brooks charged with perverting justice

Written By: - Date published: 10:03 pm, May 15th, 2012 - 19 comments
Categories: john banks, john key, Media, uk politics - Tags:

Rebekah and Charlie Brooks have been charged with perverting the course of justice in relation to the News International phone-hacking affair. Others to be charged are Mrs Brooks’s former PA Cheryl Carter, the company’s head of security Mark Hanna, News International chauffeur Paul Edwards and security consultant Daryl Jorsling.

They were questioned as part of part of Operation Sacha, an investigation into alleged attempts to destroy material relating to Scotland Yard’s inquiries into phone-hacking, computer hacking and corrupt payments to public officials. The group was questioned after it was claimed News International implemented an “email deletion policy” in response to legal action launched by phone hacking victims against News Group Newspapers, which published the News of the World.

Rebekah Brooks appeared at the Leveson enquiry last week and revealed that David Cameron’s texts to her ended with “lol” which she said he thought meant “lots of love” but stopped after she told him it meant “laugh out loud.” Lord Leveson made it clear that his enquiry would not look into matters investigated by the police, and this development is significant.

Mr and Mrs Brooks said: “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.”

Watch this space. There have been 46  arrests so far and these won’t be the last charges either. This albatross will hang around Cameron’s neck till the next election now the matter is in the Courts.

In the courts is also where the John Banks affair should be as well. It hasn’t gone away either, with Key having to answer questions about it again today.

19 comments on “Brooks charged with perverting justice”

  1. Carol 1

    I saw the Brooks making an indignant statement on Firstline this morning, talking about a miscarriage of justice. Charlie was dismissive of the amount of police tied up with this investigation, when they should be dealing with really serious crimes like murder.

    Are such born-to-rule types completely morally bankrupt. Do they not realise the damage to large numbers of people brought about by their (alleged) corruption of the fourth estate and democratic political processes. Of course they should be innocent until proved guilty, but the charges are serious ones.

    Of course such players are probably the lieutenants and not the commanders-in-chief, and have probably been thrown to the wolves by those higher up, in order to save themselves. But anyone found guilty of inclusion in that political and democratic process deserves what they get.

  2. Adam 2

    Your throwaway at the end deserves a separate post, because Key is clearly lying.
    Here’s the transcript of John Key talking to Leighton Smith, Newstalk ZB May 15: “People can criticise the way it might have all worked out in terms of the donations and I don’t need to know all the ins and outs and I don’t because all I need is a clear assurance he hasn’t broken the law.
    “But I will say this. The Local Electoral Act, which is the act that covered taking of donations for the mayoral campaign, is a very liberal and loose act. So the previous Labour Government changed the act when it came to central government, chose not to do it for local government.
    “Under the old local government rules you can go and talk to a donor, I can say ‘Leighton I would love you to give to me.’ You can say to the donor ‘look you may not want to be identified so you can give anonymously.’ You can tell them how to do it. And in the end unless you don’t absolutely know that they’ve given, you’ve complied with the law.
    “Now that might seem like a crazy law, but that’s the way the law was constructed. And you can’t hang someone for complying with the law.”
    The Labour-Alliance Government did change the Act. There is nothing in it about schooling people on how to donate anonymously. In fact, the sections relating to anonymity seem to be so the candidate doesn’t have to account for every dollar dropped into a bucket at a rally, rather than allowing the old game of “hide the donor” to continue.
    There’s a clear definition of donations, including a formula for working out the value of goods or services donated at a discount, and a discussion on aggregation – so the idea of splitting donations to anonymise them is on another planet.
    There is a limit as to how much can be spent, depending on the population size of the area being contested, which didn’t exist in local government before 2001.
    The candidate, not their agent or campaign, is required to sign the schedule of donations and expenses.
    They must list “the name and address of each person who made an electoral donation to the candidate and the amount of each electoral donation.”
    If an electoral donation of money or of the equivalent of money is made to the candidate anonymously and the amount of that donation exceeds $1000, they must list (i) the amount of that donation; and (ii) the fact that it has been received anonymously.
    Anonymous “means a donation that is made in such a way that the candidate concerned does not know who made the donation.”
    If “know” means the same as former justice ministers Doug Graham and Bill Jefferies were supposed to “know” what their finance company was up to, the question of Banks’ knowingness has to hinge on “made in such a way”.
    By that standard he had to “know” the origin of all cheques made into campaign accounts under his control, because it says so on the cheque of the deposit slip. Even if it was routed through a trust, that has to be disclosed.
    It would seem the only way large donations could come in anonymously is cash in plain envelopes, delivered by strangers in darkened rooms.

    • insider 2.1

      I wonder if the rules weren’t changed for local bodies when Labour was changing the national ones for the good reason that the small size of political campaigns at the local level makes management of processes much harder.

      You could argue the professional campaigns that now exist for major city mayors is changing things, but most people aren’t running for mayor in big cities, they are running for council or community boards, so how do you write the rules for that? Putting overly stringent rules on such things could end up criminalising a whole lot of people, whcih may not be a good look.

      Now the Banks stuff may all be pretty cute the way it was arranged but key is dead right – you can’t hang someone for complying with the law. You’ve got to prove they’ve broken it.

    • Dr Terry 2.2

      It is hardly a matter of momentum that Key lied, the question is when does Key NOT lie?

    • ghostwhowalksnz 2.3

      So Key is now trying to be a black letter lawyer.

      The finance companies directors have been convicted because they found out too late that black letter law isnt going to apply

      • insider 2.3.1

        quite the opposite – black letter law did apply. It was a strict liability offence, meaning no requirement to prove intent.

  3. Dr Terry 3

    Brooks is the absolute scapegoat for the dreadful and all-powerful Murdoch and son (possibly Cameron too! And who ever else?)

    • insider 3.1

      She’s utterly complicit IMO. Just as I don;t believe the Murdochs did not know how stories were gathered that helped make them rich, it’s even less believable that anyone in those newsrooms was unaware of what appears to be standard newsgathering techniques.

    • Kevin 3.2

      Rebekah Brooks played an integral part in the scandal by orchestrating the phone hacking and has rightly been brought to account for her actions.
      Murdoch snr is innocent of the charges and has behaved to the highest standard by appearing before the Leveson Enquiry and also for compensating the victims for the breaches of their privacy.
      However some doubt exists as to the role Lachlan Murdoch played in the scandal, my belief was that he was in the loop but acquiesced to the demands of his editors.

      • Colonial Viper 3.2.1

        Murdoch snr is innocent of the charges and has behaved to the highest standard by appearing before the Leveson Enquiry and also for compensating the victims for the breaches of their privacy.


        Murdoch senior is famous for going through every minutiae of every story with his editors.

        And you’re telling me he didn’t know what was going on.

        • Te Reo Putake

          I don’t think that’s really been the case since the eighties, CV. The sheer number of titles he owns make it impossible to have that level of knowledge. He no longer lives in England and the NI empire runs on fear anyway. Editors operate on the basis of ‘would Rupert like this?’ and while he doesn’t directly interfere in editorial decisions, he doesn’t have to. He appoints editors who he trusts to do the job his way. If they let him down, he fires them.
          However, that doesn’t mean he didn’t know that the NOW was hacking phones. If anything, I think he would have been angry if they weren’t, given the public appetite for gossip. Remember, the first time a famous person got hacked, we all loved it. It was in every paper, every women’s mag, front page. But not a worry about the victim, no sympathy or cries of shame for the owner of the hacked phone, because no one much liked Charles and Camilla back then.

          • Colonial Viper

            Thanks, TRP.

          • insider

            He spoke to Brooks almost weekly and regularly visited the Uk. The Sun and NoW ethos was all about pushing boundaries.

  4. captain hook 4

    what started with a bang ended as a wimpy.

  5. Shaz 5

    Can we have our own reverse Leveson enquiry here in New Zealand? Like the “Roger awards” – we could recognise journalists who:
    Fail to report on misdemeanours in plain sight.
    Wilfully misinterpret statistics
    Cut and paste from press releases or
    Argue that there is a divergence of scientific opinion on climate change

    • insider 5.1

      We could call them the ‘gulag awards’. Winners get an indeterminate period travel grant to Compbell Live Island

  6. Kia Ora

    After following the scandal that has engulfed Rupert Murdoch’s company from the start, I have come to the conclusion that multiple gingerbread types are playing Russian roulette with the croc. One or two of them have already been snapped up. Will the croc get the rest?


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