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  1. Media Law
May 8, 2014

Rebekah Brooks ‘took advantage’ of police sensitivity towards her to hide evidence, hacking trial told

By Press Association

Former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks (pictured: Reuters) "took advantage" of police sensitivity towards her to set in train a plan to hide evidence, the hacking trial heard.

Brooks, 45, along with her husband Charlie Brooks, 51 and News International head of security Mark Hanna, 51, is accused of concealing or destroying evidence during police searches which took place while she was under arrest at Lewisham Police Station.

They all deny a charge of conspiring to pervert the course of justice in July 2011.

Prosecutor Andrew Edis QC recapped phone and CCTV evidence showing how computer equipment and other items came to be hidden in bin bags and stashed in the car park of the Brooks's London flat.

The operation involved removing property from the Brooks's homes in Oxfordshire and London, jurors were told.

Items were then put in bin bags and stored at the News International offices in Wapping before being returned to the Brooks's car park where they were discovered by a cleaner and handed to police, the Old Bailey heard.

Edis said there had been a "subtext" to how Brooks had been treated by police at the time.

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He told jurors: "You may think that police in July 2011 treated Mrs Brooks with particular sensitivity.

"They gave her several days' notice of the fact they wanted to interview her as a suspect. They gave her the choice of police station. She was to have a whole day with her solicitor before.

"Normally people suspected of criminal offences are simply arrested. People turn up in the morning, arrest you and you are carted off…

"She was treated particularly well and she soon rewarded that by taking advantage of the opportunity that allowed her to set in train a sequence of events that resulted in (a security guard) putting bin bags behind the bins."

When police went back to search the Brooks's Oxfordshire home a second time, Edis said: "It's hardly surprising that they did not want to allow any more opportunity for anything else to go missing."

He added: "We say that we accept that we cannot say exactly what has gone missing because it has gone missing – a successful conspiracy to pervert the course of justice is still a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice."

Edis said that Charlie Brooks "piggybacked" on the operation to also hide some his own stuff, which included a pornographic magazine and DVDs in a jiffy bag.

And when the plan was scuppered by the cleaner, it caused a "big hullabaloo", the start of which was caught on CCTV in the London car park, Edis said.

All seven defendants in the trial deny all the charges against them.

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