Hacking trial: Rebekah Brooks ‘took advantage of special treatment by police,’ court told


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The Independent Online

Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks took advantage of the police’s “particular sensitivity” towards her to set in train “an elaborate little plan” to keep evidence from getting into the hands of officers, the hacking trial heard.

Mrs Brooks, 45, along with her husband Charlie Brooks, 51, and News International’s head of security Mark Hanna, 51, is accused of concealing or destroying evidence during police searches which took place while she was under arrest at Lewisham police station.

Andrew Edis QC, prosecuting, recapped phone and CCTV evidence showing how computer equipment and other items came to be hidden in bin bags and stashed in the car park of the Brooks’s London flat.

Items from their homes in London and Oxfordshire were put in bin bags and stored at the News International offices in Wapping before being returned to the Brooks’s car park where they were discovered by a cleaner and handed to police, the Old Bailey heard.

Mr Edis said there had been a “subtext” to how Brooks had been treated by police at the time. He told jurors: “You may think that police in July 2011 treated Mrs Brooks with particular sensitivity. They gave her several days’ notice of the fact they wanted to interview her as a suspect. They gave her the choice of police station. She was treated particularly well and she soon rewarded that by taking advantage of the opportunity that allowed her to set in train a sequence of events that resulted in [a security guard] putting bin bags behind the bins.”

Mr Edis said Charlie Brooks “piggybacked” on the operation also to hide some his own stuff, which included a pornographic magazine and DVDs. And when the plan was scuppered by the cleaner, it caused a “big hullabaloo”, the start of which was caught on CCTV in the London car park, Mr Edis said.

But the lawyer went on to say the “elaborate little plan” must have involved more property than that eventually recovered from behind the bins.

“There must have been something else. This is quite an elaborate little plan involving quite a number of people who are going to know about it. You are not going to do that unless there is real concerted gain to be had.”

He said this was supported by various “missing devices” registered by NI to Brooks and logged as “no record of return, assume still with user”. All seven defendants in the trial deny all the charges against them.

The trial continues.