The BBC is reporting that Rebekah Brooks and her husband Charlie are to be charged with perverting the course of justice as part of the Metropolitan Police investigation into phone hacking at the News of the World.
If found guilty, Brooks, the former chief executive of News International, could face a prison sentence.
In a statement 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.”
The Guardian is reporting that Brooks and her husband were told the decision of the decision to charge them earlier this morning when they returned to the police station to answer bail along with the five other suspects.
They are the first to be charged since Operation Weeting began.
Brooks was editor of the News of the World when the tabloid is said to have accessed the voicemails of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.
Brooks, who appeared at the Leveson Inquiry last week, resigned last July as pressure the phone hacking story continued to build.
When she went, she old News International staff in an internal message: “As chief executive of the company, I feel a deep sense of responsibility for the people we have hurt and I want to reiterate how sorry I am for what we now know to have taken place.
Statement in relation to Rebekah Brooks and others from the Crown Prosecution Service
Alison Levitt, QC, Principal Legal Advisor to the Director of Public Prosecutions oversees CPS decision making, and all potential prosecutions, in relation to the ongoing phone hacking investigations and other related matters.
Miss Levitt said: “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 27th March 2012 in relation to seven suspects:
· Rebekah Brooks;
· Charles Brooks;
· Cheryl Carter – Mrs Brooks’ personal assistant;
· Mark Hanna – Head of Security at News International;
· Paul Edwards – Mrs Brooks’ chauffeur who was employed by News International;
· Daryl Jorsling and a seventh suspect – both of whom provided security for Mrs 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.
They are all due to answer their bail at police stations later today. When they do so, they will be charged as follows:
CHARGE 1 – CONSPIRACY TO PERVERT THE COURSE OF JUSTICE
Rebekah Brooks between 6th July and 19th 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 – CONSPIRACY TO PERVERT THE COURSE OF JUSTICE
Rebekah Brooks and Cheryl Carter between 6th July and 9th July 2011 conspired together permanently to remove seven boxes of material from the archive of News International.
CHARGE 3 – CONSPIRACY TO PERVERT THE COURSE OF JUSTICE
Rebekah Brooks, Charles Brooks, Mark Hanna, Paul Edwards and Daryl Jorsling conspired together and with persons unknown, between 15th July and 19th July 2011, to conceal documents, computers and other electronic equipment from officers of the Metropolitan Police Service.
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.
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.