Four security guards accused of helping to destroy Rebekah Brooks evidence have case against them dropped - Press Gazette

Four security guards accused of helping to destroy Rebekah Brooks evidence have case against them dropped

Four security guards accused of helping to hide or destroy evidence around the time of Rebekah Brooks's arrest will not face trial, a court was told today.

Lee Sandell, David Johnson, Daryl Jorsling and Paul Edwards were accused of being part of a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice in July, 2011. 

However, following the acquittal of former News International chief executive Brooks, her husband Charlie Brooks and News International security chief  Mark Hanna on the same charge, the prosecution said it would offer no evidence in their case.

Mark Bryant-Heron QC told the Old Bailey: "Following the verdicts returned by the jury in the long-running trial which has recently ended, the prosecution indicated that they would review and revisit the case against these named defendants in light of these verdicts.

"The prosecution have reached a decision that they will offer not evidence against these four defendants and therefore invite the court to record verdicts of not guilty."

The hacking trial had heard that the four men were part of the security detail around the Brooks at the height of the phone-hacking scandal.

At the time, bags containing various items including computer equipment and lesbian porn DVDs were stashed in the underground car park of the couple's Chelsea Harbour flat overnight.

Brooks said the property was all his and he had simply been trying to avoid a "Jacqui Smith moment" for his wife, fearing the police would divulge it to the press.

The jury found Mr and Mrs Brooks and Hanna not guilty of perverting the course of justice. All the defendants had denied any wrongdoing.

The Crown Prosecution Service issued a statement today saying: "Following the acquittals on 24 June 2014 of Rebekah Brooks, Charles Brooks and Mark Hanna on an allegation of perverting the course of justice (investigated as Operation Sacha), the case against four other defendants also being prosecuted as part of Operation Sacha was reviewed in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.

"Whilst verdicts in one case are not necessarily legally admissible or evidentially compelling for a jury in another related trial, we concluded that the verdicts of 24 June 2014 were likely to be admissible and that in consequence the evidence which any second jury would hear would not be sufficient to provide a realistic prospect of conviction.

"Accordingly, at the Central Criminal Court today the case against all four defendants has been dismissed."



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