Two insights from Martin Hickman and James Doleman on today’s evidence. More contemporaneous detail in my tweets for today.
Police searches of Rebekah and Charlie Brooks’s homes in London and Oxfordshire came under scrutiny at the phone hacking trial today. At one stage, Jonathan Laidlaw QC, for Mrs Brooks, suggested that detectives were practising “Carry On” style policing.
When police searched Mrs Brooks’s office at Wapping on 15 July 2011, the day she resigned as chief executive, they looked only in her office and not in filings cabinets by her PAs, he said,
Detective constable Alan Pritchard, with the Metropolitan Police’s phone hacking inquiry, explained that the police had agreed with Simon Greenberg, a member of News Corp’s Management and Standards Committee only to search Mrs Brooks’s office.
Mr Laidlaw pointed out that meant they had not searched paperwork from Mrs Brooks’s leadership of News International. He asked Det Const Pritchard: “This is not Carry On policing, is it?” “No, it’s not“, the officer replied.
The Old Bailey heard that nine officers from Weeting and two local police officers had carried out a 5am search of the Brooks’s home at Jubilee Barn, near Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, on 13 Match 2013.
It was dark and no warning had been given to Mr and Mrs Brooks, Mr Laidlaw asked another police witness, Detective Constable Karyn Millar.
She replied: “I’m sure they weren’t aware we were coming.” Mr Laidlaw continued “What about the presence of a new baby on the scene – was that something you knew about?” The police were aware that Mrs Brooks had a new baby, but knew no more than that, the policewoman replied.
Mr Laidlaw then asked the officer to describe the scene with police \”banging on the door\” without warning, and asked if she was aware of the presence of a very young, prematurely born baby on the scene. The QC asked if anyone discussed the impact on the family of a police raid at the time. Millar said she could not recall any but did remember Mrs Brooks carrying a baby for some of the time. Laidlaw asked if Charles Brooks was concerned about the police intention to raid his \”81 year old mother\’s house\”. The officer said that he had been given the opportunity to call her in advance to warn her they were coming.
Rebekah Brooks, Laidlaw suggested, had turned on Sky TV and said \”lets see how long the news breaks of what you are up to\” and said that it the news had been leaked to the press by the police. The officer said she had no recollection of that discussion but did agree that Brooks had fully co-operated with the search.
Neil Saunders, for Charlie Brooks, then cross-examined the witness about the July 2011 search of the Oxfordshire property. The detective constable confirmed that the only item police considered relevant was a business card, which was returned the same day.