In what echoes the 24 hour delay it took for News of the World to inform police of their Milly Dowler hacked messages, Rebekah Brooks withheld information from the police in regards to an alleged Victoria Beckham kidnap plot in 2002. She “wanted to keep the matter a secret for as long as possible and thus not spoil the story she was planning to publish” according to Mazher Mahmood‘s evidence in court papers from a libel case against News Group Newspaper in 2005.
“Our man Maz collars crook Number 105,” NOTW headline cited of all the number of investigations that led to conviction.
— Peter Jukes (@peterjukes) February 20, 2014
In the aftermath of the phone hacking trial, the Guardian’s Nick Davies, who played a pivotal in exposing the News of the World scandal, still had unanswered questions. This time, not for News UK (formerly News International), but the Metropolitan Police who having sat on the evidence in 2006 and refused to reopen it in 2009 finally managed do their job in 2011. Davies reported:
“Lord Justice Leveson concluded that the Caryatid team had made mistakes in handling victims of the hacking and had failed to follow leads to other perpetrators but had acted in good faith, primarily because officers had to deal with far more serious crime involving terrorist plots to commit mass murder. That conclusion is clearly well-founded. Specifically, there is no evidence that any Caryatid officer showed any fear or favour towards News International.”
He went on “however, the objective fact is that Scotland Yard’s conduct enabled News International’s coverup to succeed. Here, there are two key questions. Why was the hacking inquiry not passed to another squad to be completed? And was that decision in any way influenced by a desire to placate Murdoch’s company?“
Peter Jukes was named Britain’s best social media journalist for his live-tweeting of the trial of Rebekah Brooks every single day for eight months. 12,000 followers and half a million words later, the live-twitterer and author has now put his mind to finding out what the former tabloid queen will do next. Fulltime motherhood to her two-year-old daughter Scarlett and a senior position in News Corp Australia are among the possibilities.
For more of the untold background to the hacking trial, pre-order a bespoke named edition of ‘Beyond Contempt’, in the next 10 days. E-book due imminently. And you can also come to the launch party in Mid September
1. Daniel Evans is to be sentenced on 4 counts. He worked as a reporter at the Sunday Mirror from 2003 to 2005 and then at the News of the World from 2005 until 2011 when the paper closed. He has admitted phone hacking to get stories at both newspapers. His phone hacking activities at the News of the World stopped almost entirely in August 2006 when Clive Goodman was arrested. In 2009 he did hack the phone of Kelly Hoppen which led to her taking out a civil action. In those proceedings he made a statement denying hacking Kelly Hoppen’s phone. That was a lie as he has admitted. That is count 4 on the indictment. He has also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office (count 3) by paying a prison officer to provide information about Ian Huntley and paying a police officer for information about a celebrity. In September 2010 the New York Times revealed his phone hacking activities and he was suspended by the News of the World and remained suspended until the paper closed.
UPDATE: as some might have noticed my claim to have missed a mortgage payment has – 9 months later – excited the interest of the Daily Mail and Media Guido.
Why they would think I would lie about such a thing baffles me, but for reasons that shall become apparent in my book when it is published in two weeks the media have taken a lot of interest in this post from November last year. (New emphasis added)
In March, midway through her set-piece cross-examination at the phone-hacking trial, as she explained her campaigning style of journalism, Rebekah Brooks said: “When we did those campaigns we had to be above the law . . . I mean within the law.
”It was an uncharacteristic slip, perhaps the only one in three weeks in the witness box at the Old Bailey in London. Although she sometimes looked pale or tired, the former tabloid editor had an answer for every question. In a structured timeline delivered by her counsel, Jonathan Laidlaw QC, the jury was given almost a week-long summary of her career, from secretary to features writer, all the way up to the top of the most powerful publisher in British newspapers.
Full disclosure was the tone. Brooks never closed down under pressure, only opened up: about the “car crash” of her love life; about the unnecessarily cruel front pages she had published about the boxer Frank Bruno or the former Labour MP Clare Short; about her professional oversights, such as missing the scoop on MPs’ expenses. Talking of the “not-so-nice side of the business”, she even gently joshed Mr Justice Saunders about a “kiss and tell” about a high court judge….
THE NS PROFILE: REBEKAH BROOKS
The TV drama screenwriter, author and freelance journalist Peter Jukes, who live-tweeted all 138 days of the phone-hacking trial, considers the rise and fall of Rebekah Brooks and what her career tells us about power. For eight months, Jukes looked on as Brooks maintained extraordinary composure in the witness box. By the end of the trial, he notes, “it felt as if the whole courtroom had become her friend”.