Kingsley Napley partner Stephen Parkinson is acting for former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks and her husband Charlie after they were this morning charged with perverting the course of justice.
Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) principal legal advisor Alison Levitt QC announced today that six people face charges over the ongoing phone-hacking police investigation.
The couple issued a joint statement this morning saying: “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.”
Mrs Brooks faces three charges of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, all allegedly committed between 6 July 2011 and 19 July 2011 – around the time of the closure of the News of the World.
Later this afternoon the couple made a further statement outside Kingley Napley’s offices in Saint John’s Lane, central London.
Mr Brooks labelled the case a “witchhunt” and accused the police and CPS of “ratcheting up the pressure” on his wife by charging those closest to her. He also said he had “grave reservations” about whether Mrs Brooks could have a fair trial.
Mrs Brooks then said she was “baffled” with the decision to charge her and angrily called the investigation a “sideshow” and a “waste of money”.
Also charged with the alleged conspiracy are Mrs Brooks’ PA Cheryl Carter, News International security head Mark Hanna, Mrs Brooks’ NI-employed chauffeur Paul Edwards and NI security guard Daryl Jorsling. A seventh suspect faces no action.
The allegations against Mr and Mrs Brooks include concealing documents, computers and electronic equipment from Met officers investigating Operation Weeting.
Mrs Brooks and her PA are additionally charged with removing seven boxes of material from the archive of NI.
All are answering bail today and will be summonsed to appear in court, where the charges will be formally laid.
Henri Brandman, director of media, sports and entertainment firm Henri Brandman & Co, is acting for Carter and said: “She vigorously denies the commission of that or any offence.
“She would like to thank her family and friends for their continued support during this most unhappy period of her life.”
The charges are the first since Operation Weeting began. Scotland Yard has budgeted for three linked inquiries to run to 2015 at a cost of more than £40m.
The CPS is still studying four more files that have been passed to it by detectives investigating phone hacking, leaks and alleged bribes to the police.