Rebekah Brooks 'surgically attached' to her BlackBerry 'but did not like embracing new technology' - trial told - Press Gazette

Rebekah Brooks 'surgically attached' to her BlackBerry 'but did not like embracing new technology' - trial told

Former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks was a technophobe who was "wedded to her BlackBerry" while other executives experimented with new devices, the phone hacking trial has heard.

Jonathan Laidlaw QC, representing the former tabloid boss, said Brooks "did not like embracing new technology", as News International began to explore the potential for having The Sun and News of the World as app downloads for tablets and phones.

Witness Susan Panuccio, a chief financial officer at News International Group Ltd from 2008 until 2012, agreed with Laidlaw that "information technology was not Brooks' strong point".

Laidlaw continued: "She had used a BlackBerry for as long as you knew and worked for her?"

Panuccio, who flew to England from Australia to give evidence at the phone hacking trial, agreed.

Asked if Brooks was "almost surgically attached" to her phone, Panuccio said: "She did use it rather a lot."

Brooks' counsel suggested that using anything else "presented a much greater challenge to her".

Panuccio repled: "She didn't like embracing new technologies."

She agreed with Laidlaw's suggestion that Brooks was "simply wedded to her BlackBerry", but added she was using an iPad device at the time of her resignation in 2011.

The witness was giving evidence after the jury had been reminded of an email chain, involving Brooks and introduced in court much earlier in the trial, in which the defendant inquired about a "clean sweep" of staff emails.

Asked about whether there was anything "sinister" in Brooks' interest in the company's email deletion policy, Panuccio said: "They (chief executives) can check whatever they want.

"What they decide to focus on is up to them."

Asked about Brooks' management style, the witness added: "She could be very demanding, in certain areas incredibly focused and at times easy to get on with."

Former News of the World and Sun editor Brooks, 45, of Churchill, Oxfordshire, denies all five charges relating to alleged illegal activity during her time on the tabloids.

Six other defendants also deny charges connected to the phone hacking investigation.

The trial continues.




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