MPs warned against using Parliamentary privilege to comment on Brooks phone-hacking trial - Press Gazette

MPs warned against using Parliamentary privilege to comment on Brooks phone-hacking trial

The Attorney General Dominic Grieve has warned MPs against commenting in Parliament during the trial of former News International Chief Executive Rebekah Brooks.

MPs and Lords can comment on live criminal trials without fear of prosecution for contempt of court because of parliamentary privilege.

However, the Attorney General does not want any undue influence that could jeopardise the defendants receiving a fair trial.

Brooks will appear in court 12 at the Old Bailey  on Monday morning alongside former News of the World editor Andy Coulson, former news editor Ian Edmondson, former managing editor Stuart Kuttner and former royal editor Clive Goodman.

They will be joined in the dock by Brooks’ former personal assistant Cheryl Carter, NI’s former security chief Mark Hanna and Brooks’ husband Charlie.

The eight defendants face a range of charges include conspiracy to intercept voicemails, conspiracy to corrupt public officials and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

There has been massive media interest in the trial with all press passes for the trial being allocated back in August. There are 17 spots for journalists inside the actual courtroom, while the remainder will be housed in an annex which will have a live feed of the proceedings.

It is understood that a Twitter blackout will be imposed and journalists will be prevented from updating their followers until they leave the courtroom.

The trial is expected to last until March 2014 and has attracted interest from media organisations from around the globe.

A jury will be empanelled on Monday for the five month long trial. It is expected that they will be warned not to use social media to follow the case.

A spokesperson for the Attorney General told the Telegraph: “The solicitor general, as independent guardian of the public interest, wrote to the leaders of each of the main Westminster parties advising them that this trial was due to start shortly.

“He asked for their assistance in ensuring that party members and officials refrained from any commentary which may be perceived as prejudicial to the case and those involved.”



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