Ex-tabloid editor Rebekah Brooks has been charged over her alleged role in a phone hacking scandal. The development comes after she was questioned about her links to the British prime minister.
The former editor of the British tabloid News of the World, Rebekah Brooks, was charged Tuesday along with her husband and four others for allegedly attempting to conceal evidence relating to the country's phone hacking scandal, prosecutors said.
“We deplore this weak and unjust decision. After the further unprecedented posturing of the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) we will respond later today after our return from the police station,” Brooks and her husband, racehorse driver Charlie Brooks, said in a statement.
Apart from the couple; Brooks' former personal assistant Cheryl Carter; the former security head at News International Mark Hanna; Brooks' former driver Paul Edwards and Daryl Josling, a member of the security team, all face charges of obstructing justice.
Brooks, who quit her post as News International chief executive in July last year, faces three separate charges of conspiring to pervert the course of justice. The offense carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
According to Alison Levitt, the principal legal advisor to Britain's Director of Public Prosecutions, Brooks allegedly hid material from the police, including computers, documents and other electric equipment, and took seven boxes of material from News International archives.
The offenses by the accused are alleged to have been committed between July 6 and July 19 2011, around the same time that Rupert Murdoch, the CEO of News Corporation, announced the closure of News of The World after 168 years in business - that declaration was made on July 7.
The development comes one week after Brooks attended a media ethics probe into the scandal and was grilled about her close links to British Prime Minister David Cameron, who went to Eton college with her husband.
The criminal charges are the first to be levelled against a suspect since police reopened the phone hacking case in January 2011. In the first investigation, two people were jailed in 2007 for hacking the phones of royal household members.
sej/pfd (AP, AFP, Reuters)