View all newsletters
Sign up for our free email newsletters

Fighting for quality news media in the digital age.

  1. Media Law
June 4, 2014

Mark Hanna defence says security chief ‘caught up in this huge, sensational case which in truth has nothing to do with him’

By Press Association

If Charlie Brooks was the "Moriarty of the Chipping Norton set" intent on destroying evidence for his wife, he could have just gone to the local tip rather than recruit a News International security chief into the plot, the hacking trial heard.

In his closing speech, Mark Hanna's lawyer said there was a "fundamental flaw" in the case – that Brooks would have told his client of a criminal plan to pervert the course of justice.

William Clegg QC told jurors that his client (pictured, Reuters)was middle management at NI who was wrongly "promoted up the corporate ladder" by prosecutors to support the case that the Brooks's would have risked confiding in him and enlisting his help.

He said: "The reason there has been an attempt to promote Mark Hanna to a position of importance is the prosecution case against him rests on one fundamental flawed proposition – Charlie Brooks must have told Mark Hanna about the plan to pervert the course of justice to destroy incriminating material against his wife Rebekah.

"What a risk. Mark Hanna who he does not really know, not somebody he sees at the racecourse or at dinner.

"What a risk. A man who had obvious contact with the police who all at the office thought was honest and straightforward."

Clegg suggested if Brooks, of Churchill, Oxfordshire, had wanted to get rid of incriminating evidence for the former News International chief executive then he could have done it in the days before her arrest.

Content from our partners
How PA Media is helping newspapers make the digital transition
Publishing on the open web is broken, how generative AI could help fix it
Impress: Regulation, arbitration and complaints resolution

Referring to the Sherlock Holmes master criminal, he said: "If Charlie was there as we know on Thursday, on Friday and on Saturday, if he had been minded for one reason or another to set himself up as some sort of master criminal, the Moriarty of the Chipping Norton set, to hide all this incriminating property, it may have crossed his mind on Thursday, Friday or Saturday to pop down to the council tip, drop anything there, to drive to the river to dump anything down there."

Earlier, Clegg told jurors that Hanna deserved to be given as much consideration as the more "glamorous" defendants in the dock.

He told them: "You will be making one of the most important decisions in the life of Mark Hanna when you retire to consider his case.

"There are not archbishops or peers of the realm to speak for him. The only time he has seen Tony Blair was when he saw him on the telly.

"But as you know he is entitled to just as much attention and care from you as those at the more glamorous end of this indictment."

Hanna was described by the prosecution as having a distinguished position at News International, but director of security was just a job description for middle management, jurors were told.

The lawyer said: "In truth, he is not a man who has had a huge success in business as was suggested."

While the Brookses were living in style, Hanna was walking the boundary looking for trespassers, Clegg said.

He continued: "It was not a bad job. It was probably the best job he had ever had but not reflecting some hugely successful career but steady promotion in the industry."

Hanna spent 14 years in the Army between 1979 and 1993 before going into security.

While he did see active service he left the force with the modest rank of Lance Sergeant, the court heard.

Hanna, 50, of Buckingham, denies perverting the course of justice with Rebekah and Charlie Brooks.

Clegg concluded by saying: "Mr Hanna is, we submit, a man who has been caught in a dreadful trial – in a sense of being caught up in this huge, sensational case which in truth has nothing to do with him."

Those that knew him had described the Iraq war veteran as hard working, conscientious, fair, honest, trustworthy and a family man, jurors were told.

He had commendations from police for catching criminals and was also highly regarded by the soldiers he served with, the court heard.

The trial was adjourned until 10am today when the judge Mr Justice Saunders will begin summing up.

Email to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

Websites in our network