'Broadsword calling Danny Boy...you cannot log the hours as perverting the course of justice' - Press Gazette

'Broadsword calling Danny Boy...you cannot log the hours as perverting the course of justice'

An exchange between security staff allegedly involved in hiding evidence for Rebekah Brooks saw them quote the film line 'broadsword calling Danny Boy' and say that they could cannot log their hours as “perverting the course of justice”, a court heard.

The two men, who cannot be named for legal reasons, brought a black bag containing a laptop and other items from Brooks’ Oxfordshire home before placing them in the garage of a London apartment building.

After dropping off the bag, one of the men sent a text quoting the 1968 film Where Eagles Dare starring Clint Eastwood at Richard Burton.

Andrew Edis, QC for the prosecution, read out the details of the text exchange.

The first text said: "Broadsword calling Danny Boy. Pizza delivered and the chicken's in the pot." To which the colleague replied: "Ha, f****** amateurs. We should have done a DLB (dead letter box) or brush contact on the riverside."

Edis told the jury that the security staff agreed to log the hours for the car park drop-off as "pizza delivery", because "you cannot log the hours as 'perverting the course of justice'."

The court heard that Brooks conspired with her husband Charlie as well as the former head of News International security Mark Hanna to hide evidence before police could search her properties.

Edis told jurors that security staff picked up a bin bag of material from the Brooks’ family home in Oxfordshire before hiding it at the couple’s London apartment complex in Chelsea Harbour.

However, a cleaner discovered the bin bag behind a bin and handed it to a supervisor who passed it on to police.

Edis (pictured above) said: "The prosecution say that this whole exercise was quite complicated and quite risky and liable to go wrong, as it did.

"You only contemplate doing it for a real purpose, otherwise you are just attracting suspicion."

He added: "The only rational explanation was to hide material so police can't get it. Sometimes plans of that kind succeed.

"They must have been trying to hide something, otherwise they would have been behaving completely irrationally."

Rebekah Brooks, 45, is accused of two counts of perverting the course of justice – one with Hanna and her husband, and the second with her former personal assistant, Cheryl Carter.

It is claimed that she instructed Carter to remove seven boxes of notebooks – said to be Brooks' dating from 1995 to 2007 – from the company's archive that have "never been seen again".

Edis told the nine women and three men on the jury: "Nothing like that has ever been recovered in the course of this inquiry."

Earlier the court was told that in 2011 the situation for News International became "more fevered" as the firm came under investigation by police after it handed over three emails linked to phone hacking and payment claims.

Edis said: "This was a huge business for News International and for her (Brooks). There were inquiries ongoing. At all times she was of course aware that there was a police inquiry, Operation Weeting, which had in fact started when News International handed over these three emails.

"So there was always a course of justice in existence that could be perverted by hiding evidence.

"Hiding evidence was not acceptable at any time that year.

"The atmosphere, we would suggest, became even more fevered as time went on."

He added: "You can imagine the extremely anxious, if not panic-stricken approach to what was going on."

Closing the prosecution opening, Edis said: "It is obvious that the purpose of all this activity can only have been to hide something significant. What on earth were they doing?"

Regarding counts six and seven, against former editor Brooks, Edis added: "We say it is inconceivable that anyone would have been doing anything to hide any of her property or to interfere with the police investigation without her knowledge, agreement or consent.

"To do otherwise would simply be to court suspicion when none should be there at all."

Brooks, 45, of Churchill, Oxfordshire, and Coulson, 45, from Preston in Kent, are both accused of conspiracy to intercept communications in the course of their transmission.

They are accused of conspiring with former News of the World, head of news Ian Edmondson, 44, from Raynes Park, south-west London, the tabloid's ex-managing editor Stuart Kuttner, 73, from Woodford Green, Essex, and others to illegally access voicemails between 3 October 2000 and 9 August 2006.

Ex-NoW and Sun editor Brooks is also charged with two counts of conspiring with others to commit misconduct in public office, one between 1 January 2004 and 31 January 2012 and the other between 9 February 2006 and 16 October 2008, linked to alleged inappropriate payments to public officials.

She faces another two allegations of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice – one with her former personal assistant Cheryl Carter, 49, from Chelmsford in Essex, between 6 July and 9 July 2011.

It is alleged that they conspired to remove seven boxes of material from the News International archive.

The second count alleges that Brooks, her husband Charles Brooks and former head of security at News International Mark Hanna (picured above) conspired together and with others between 15 July and 19 July 2011 to pervert the course of justice.

It is claimed that they tried to conceal documents, computers and other electronic equipment from police officers who were investigating allegations of phone hacking and corruption of public officials in relation to the News of the World and The Sun newspapers.

Former Number 10 spin doctor and ex-NoW editor Coulson is also facing two allegations that he conspired with the tabloid's former royal editor Clive Goodman, 56, from Addlestone in Surrey, and persons unknown to commit misconduct in public office – one between 31 August 2002 and 31 January 2003; and the other between 31 January and 3 June 2005.

All of the defendants deny the charges.

The case continues.



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