DLA Piper and Kingsley Napley have been instructed again as Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks face criminal conspiracy charges over illegal payments to officials.
The two senior News International figures were charged this morning with conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office. The Sun chief reporter John Kay and former News of the World (NoW) royal correspondent Clive Goodman were also charged as part of Operation Elveden.
Former NoW editor and Prime Minister David Cameron’s ex-communications guru Coulson continues to instruct DLA Piper partner Jo Rickards and is likely to turn to Clare Montgomery QC of Matrix Chambers, who has been his counsel of choice to date.
Former The Sun editor and News International chief executive Brooks is instructing Kingsley Napley partners Angus McBride and Stephen Parkinson, and will use Cloth Fair Chambers’ John Kelsey-Fry QC and Clare Sibson.
It is understood that Kay has instructed Henri Brandman of Henri Brandman & Co, who has also previously represented Goodman.
The fifth person charged with conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office is Ministry of Defence employee Bettina Barber, who is accused of receiving £100,000 from News International as payment for information for stories between 2004 and 2011.
The charges were announced by Alison Levitt QC, principal legal adviser to the director of public prosecutions, this morning.
Levitt oversees Crown Prosecution Service decision making and all potential prosecutions in relation to the ongoing phone-hacking investigations and other related matters. She said the charges related to two files of evidence received from the Metropolitan Police on 30 August.
“We have concluded, following a careful review of the evidence, that Clive Goodman and Andy Coulson should be charged with two conspiracies,” she said. “The allegations relate to the request and authorisation of payments to public officials in exchange for information, including a Palace phone directory known as the ‘Green Book’ containing contact details for the Royal Family and members of the household.”
Levitt added: “We have concluded, following a careful review of the evidence, that Bettina Jordan Barber, John Kay and Rebekah Brooks should be charged with a conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office between 1 January 2004 and 31 January 2012. This conspiracy relates to information allegedly provided by Bettina Jordan Barber for payment which formed the basis of a series of news stories published by The Sun. It is alleged that approximately £100,000 was paid to Bettina Jordan Barber between 2004 and 2011.
“All of these matters were considered carefully in accordance with the DPP’s guidelines on the public interest in cases affecting the media. This guidance asks prosecutors to consider whether the public interest served by the conduct in question outweighs the overall criminality before bringing criminal proceedings.”
The defendants will appear before Westminster Magistrates’ Court at a later date.
Brooks and Coulson have continued with the same legal teams instructed over criminal phone-hacking charges (24 July 2012).
The full charges are as follows:
Andy Coulson and Clive Goodman
Clive Goodman and Andrew Coulson, between 31 August 2002 and 31 January 2003, conspired together and with a person or persons unknown to commit misconduct in public office. Contrary to s.1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977
Clive Goodman and Andrew Coulson, between 31 January 2005 and 3 June 2005, conspired together and with a person or persons unknown to commit misconduct in public office. Contrary to s.1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977
Bettina Jordan-Barber, John Kay and Rebekah Brooks
Bettina Jordan-Barber, John Kay and Rebekah Brooks, between 1 January 2004 and 31 January 2012, conspired together, and with others, to commit misconduct in public office. Contrary to s.1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977