, Kingston crown court was told yesterday.
The trial of six reporters and executives accused of unlawfully paying police officers and soldiers for stories heard that paperwork linking Mrs Brooks to the allegedly unlawful payments had gone missing.
Charlotte Hull, the newspaper’s former news desk assistant, said that Mrs Brooks only signed off contributor payments over ¡Ì1,000 paid through bank transfers but approved all cash payments regardless of the amount. She said: “Any cash payment had to be approved by the editor.”
According to the Times, Hull testified in cross examination that there must have been hundreds of authorisations signed by Brooks, but only one had survived:
Nigel Rumfitt, QC, defending Chris Pharo, head of news at The Sun, said the majority of authorisations by Mrs Brooks were absent from the papers presented by the prosecution. He said: “We are missing the document with the editor’s signature. This is the document that shows this payment was authorised by the editor at the time.”
The court was shown only one authorisation document allegedly signed by Mrs Brooks — a ¡Ì250 payment said to be to a guard at HMP Swaleside for a story in 2009 about a bomb scare at the jail.
Mr Rumfitt said: “Mrs Brooks must have seen hundreds of these forms.”
Ms Hull replied: “I imagine so. It was a regular thing.”