Hacking trial: Charlie Brooks says he hid 'smut' from police because he feared a 'Jacqui Smith moment' for wife Rebekah

 

Political Correspondent

Charlie Brooks, the husband of the former News International chief executive feared a “Jacqui Smith moment” and believed police investigating phone hacking would discover his personal collection of “smut” unless he took steps to hide it, a jury at the Old Bailey has heard.

The husband of former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks believed police investigating phone hacking would discover his personal collection of “smut” unless he took steps to hide it, the phone hacking trial has heard.

Charlie Brooks, 51, told the Old Bailey that he feared a “Jacqui Smith moment” in July 2011 – referring to the embarrassment felt by the former Home Secretary in 2009 when her husband’s expenses claim for two pornographic videos was made public.

“I didn’t want the same thing to happen to Rebekah,” Mr Brooks told the court, claiming this was why he removed a Sony computer and a jiffy bag containing pornographic DVDs from his Chelsea Harbour home.

The jury was shown footage of Mr. Brooks deliberately hiding the DVDs The jury was shown footage of Mr. Brooks deliberately hiding the DVDs

Mr Brooks, a former race horse trainer and novelist, said there was a good chance that officers from the Metropolitan Police would conduct a detailed search at the Chelsea and Oxfordshire homes he shared with his wife.

The formal arrest of Mrs Brooks at Lewisham police station on 17 July, 2011, triggered a Scotland Yard search.

He told the court that his attempt to keep “embarrassing” material from falling into the police’s hands led him to deliberately hide his computer behind a large bin container in the underground car park of their apartment block.

Describing his actions as “stupidly rash”, Mr Brooks told the jury that he had imagined “20 policemen coming in [to the Chelsea flat] and emptying every drawer and looking under every nook and cranny”.

Mr Brooks is charged with conspiring with his wife and others to conceal computers, documents and other material from the police in July 2011. He denies the charge.

In cross-examination by the prosecution lead counsel, Andrew Edis QC, Mr Brooks denied that his explanation of drinking six bottles of red wine with a friend on the day of the police search was a convenient cover story.

He also denied that he had “settled on drunkenness” to explain the computers being hidden behind bins in the car park. He told Mr Edis that he believed the bags would be returned to him. However a “cock-up” involving the lengthy drinking session with a friend, Chris Palmer, meant Mr Brooks’ belongings were left in the bin area, later discovered by a cleaner, and handed to the police.

While Mr Brooks and Mr Palmer were sharing the six bottles of wine, he said, Mrs Brooks was being questioned in Lewisham.

He added a News International security guard was supposed to deliver the two men some pizzas – described as necessary “blotting paper” by Mrs Brooks – and also return his bags. Although the pizzas were delivered, the bags remained in the bin area.

“I get a bit sloppy after a couple of bottles of wine,” Mr Brooks told the court. He denied his “drunkenness” was an invented story and denied he was lying when he had later authorised a formal statement that it was all a “mix up”.

Although two Apple computers in his possession were marked as property of News International, Mr Brooks repeatedly told the court “they were mine” and had been a “present” from Rupert Murdoch’s company.

He said when he had to tell his wife what had happened, “she went ballistic”. The trial continues. The defendants, including Mrs Brooks and five others, deny all charges.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths
Life and Style
life
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
News
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
news
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn