back to article Brooks, Coulson to be CHARGED over phone-hacking

Rupert Murdoch's one-time right-hand woman Rebekah Brooks, and Prime Minister David Cameron's ex-spin chief Andy Coulson, face "a realistic prospect of conviction" of alleged phone-hacking offences, the Crown Prosecution Service said this morning. Erstwhile News International boss Brooks, who had edited the Sun and the now- …


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  1. Richard Ball

    And the people at the top get away scott-free.

    "I don't recall"


    1. itzman

      Not so sure they do actually

      Murdoch may escape jail, but he has lost his newspaper empire.

      And may yet be implicated.

      As always the standard charge is 'either you knew, or you aren't fit to be in charge'

      Only T Bliar managed to wriggle out of that one with a little help from his friends.

    2. Muscleguy Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      THEY are watching

      If there are convictions in the other investigation for suborning public officials then the Americans will have all the evidence they need to charge NI and Murdoch under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Rupert may yet live to regret his US citizenship, not to mention the son.

      Be patient, there may be much schadenfreude to come.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: THEY are watching

        how many doctors will state that murdoch is unfit for trial for a fee in the US?

        I notice he resigned all his UK involvement JUST before the charges were laid so I guess he still has a lot of back pocket influence here - and the US justice system is 'elected' and so easy to influence.

        1. asdf Silver badge

          Re: THEY are watching

          >how many doctors will state that murdoch is unfit for trial for a fee in the US?

          That particular defense actually doesn't work well in the US which is much of the reason for the outrage over Scotland letting the Lockerbie convict free. We regularly put 90+ year old people on trial. Lol vengeance over humanitarian over here. Murdoch best defense is to simply buy Presidents and Congressmen by bribing their superpacs.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Exactly, "I don't recall or I didn't read the whole email chain".

      There's no defence for being drunk, so why should there be a defence that says you don't remember or didn't read something? surely that is their job!

    4. Joseph Lord
      Big Brother

      Actually this is probably quite a fair level to have reached for criminal responsibility

      The phone hacking happened before James Murdoch was responsible for this part of the business. It is a reasonable possibility that Rupert was not aware/informed and without a paper trail or witnesses claiming otherwise I don't think a criminal conviction for this would be fair. There is a separate question about cover up which followed and whether it amounted to conspiring to pervert the course of justice, in this area there may be a case to answer for the Murdochs although I don't know how directly related to an ongoing case it needs to be to count - e.g. does it only really apply when asking people to lie on the witness stand rather than when authorising civil settlements for massive amounts to avoid revealing criminal activities in court.

      The editors of the papers are really 'the people at the top' who should know the sources of their stories and probably be aware where the money for sources is going. So from that point of view for the phone hacking itself they have charged 'the people at the top' in addition to those actually involved. I think it is right that 'my boss told me to do it' doesn't get you out of criminal responsibility (although it may bring your boss into it). The Clive Goodman case was an instance the people at the bottom took the hit for 'the people at the top'.

      I do think that there should also be (although I know that there isn't currently) the possibility of corporate punishment (in addition to the individual's punishment) in the form of significant fines when employees break the law in the course of their employment to remove any incentive the company to permit unlawful activities in its interest and then sit back as the employees take the punishment. Shareholders were enriched by paper sales improved by the stories these practices enabled, it is only right that they should take a hit when the practices are found out.

      Big Brother^W^W Glenn Mulcaire/News International is watching you.

    5. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      At least we can all be relieved that it was only a few journalists and one private detective.

      No police officers or civil servants were handing information to the tabloids - so all of us, and our data, have always been well guarded by trusted public servants.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Are you kidding? Do you not read the news? There's no way this stops with only a few journalists.

        Only joking. Seriously, they're all cnuts and nothing they do surprises me any more. Unscrupulous greedy bastards the lot of them.

  2. itzman

    Phew what a shocka

    They really are going for the jugular aren't they? Not only the hackers, but reams of conspiracy to hack charges.

    Which carry pretty massive sentences.

    Well if any of them are successful it puts pay to the cries for new laws doesn't it?

    And throws a huge stick in the wheel of people who are genuinely trying to expose dark dealings 'in the public interest'.

    Are politicians not fair game, being public servants? Ergo anything they do is in the public interest?

    There are a lot of interesting implications to be mulled over as this grinds its way through the legal mills.

    1. Joseph Lord

      Re: Phew what a shocka

      I don't think new laws around hacking are required, just enforcement of existing ones (as is now happening at last). Phone/voicemail hacking isn't required to expose dodgy dealings, and in almost all the cases exposed so far it hasn't been about that but simply gossip, private information or fishing for information. I don't think that NI even presented a single case where they claimed the phone hacking was in the public interest to expose 'dodgy dealings'.

      However it is quite clear that hacking is not the only misconduct that the papers have been involved it, not all of it as clearly criminal. From the hounding of people with paparazzi, payments to public officials, extortion (tell us about X or we will reveal Y that isn't in the public interest but is embarrassing) to comment presented as news there is substantial malpractice in major parts of the press.

      Politicians are fair game but they also deserve a private life and so certainly do their family and friends. Wrongdoing should be exposed and punished but we shouldn't make being a decent politician any more of a misery than it already is otherwise who will be getting standing for election other than nutters, people with very strong personal agendas and people with no friends or family to get hurt. It used to be that people with interesting backgrounds might be scared off politics for fear of exposure but now even boring people with families would probably be scared off.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Phew what a shocka

        Most of the leaks about politicians (sorry deep background information for context) is from other politicians trying to do them in.

    2. Alan Firminger

      Politicians fair game ?

      An MP's communications are protected otherwise s/he may not be able to hold the government to account.

      Privy Council members are especially protected otherwise they may not be able to shit on people, like Chagossians.

  3. DuncanL

    Stop Press - Reg headline to CONTAIN random capitalized WORDS for no GOOD reason

    That is all...

    1. Hieronymus Howerd

      Re: Stop Press - Reg headline to CONTAIN random capitalized WORDS for no GOOD reason

      At! Least! it! isn't! about! Yahoo! This! Time!

      1. Code Monkey

        Re: Stop Press - Reg headline to CONTAIN random capitalized WORDS for no GOOD reason

        I! Rather! Like! The! Yahoo! Ones!

        1. johnnytruant

          Re: Stop Press - Reg headline to CONTAIN random capitalized WORDS for no GOOD reason

          News International RAGS often CAPITALISE certain words in both HEADLINES and ARTICLES THEMSELVES, along with LIBERAL use of BOLD TEXT. I believe THE REGISTER was engaging in SATIRE.

    2. Jedit

      Re: Stop Press - Reg headline to CONTAIN random capitalized WORDS for no GOOD reason

      There was plenty of reason for capitalisation, and the word so altered wasn't random. El Reg has run a number of stories about Brooks, Coulson et al testifying about phone hacking. Emphasising that they are now being charged rather than this being a continuation of the Leveson Inquiry lets the reader know that this is a new story rather than a recycling of old news. And as Reg headlines are already enlarged and emboldened and do not contain italics or underlining, the only tool they have for emphasis is capitalisation.

      But thanks for demonstrating your profound ignorance of journalistic techniques, sentence construction and the story in question with a single dismissive statement.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. DuncanL

        Re: Stop Press - Reg headline to CONTAIN random capitalized WORDS for no GOOD reason


        It's ugly and I can read whole sentences without having to have the 'important' bits pointed out to me.

        Thanks for the stereotypical internet forum insults.

    3. Annihilator

      Re: Stop Press - Reg headline to CONTAIN random capitalized WORDS for no GOOD reason

      Agreed, "IN SPAAAAAAACE" is the only acceptable capitalisation allowable in heading or sub.

  4. Trollslayer Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Long past time

    Newspapers have been treating the public with contempt for decades.

    Time to pay the piper - and with the convictions will come the leverrage to get a real commision to give the public a means to get justice when lied about.

    1. moiety

      Re: Long past time

      Doubt it. Unless you're a politician or a celebrity. I expect it to be business as usual for us mere mortals.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Long past time

      "Newspapers have been treating the public with contempt for decades"

      Not quite as long as MP's have, then?

      1. Roger Varley

        Re: Long past time

        Other way around I think. I'm pretty sure we had MP's before newspapers.

  5. The Original Cactus
    Thumb Up

    The wheels of justice grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly small.

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. It wasnt me

      Re: In One Sentence [sic}

      "David Blunket was grinning from ear to ear this morning, telling his friend Jude Law about his monster swapping session with Brad Pitt and Angelie Jolie, yet the poor sod genuinely has no idea that he's actually been barebacking Charles Clarke and Delia Smith."

      There, have another one on me :-)

      1. LinkOfHyrule

        Re: In One Sentence [sic}

        David's monthly check-up at the clinic was rather unsettling. When he returned home he fired off emails to Jude Law, Brad Pitt, Angelie Jolie, Charles Clark and Delia Smith to give them the bad news...

        Have another

      2. philbo

        Re: In One Sentence [sic}

        "David Blunket was grinning from ear to ear this morning, telling his friend Jude Law about his monster swapping session with Brad Pitt and Angelie Jolie, yet the poor sod genuinely has no idea that he's actually been barebacking Charles Clarke and Delia Smith."

        You utter, utter bastard. Now I need a whole year's supply of mind bleach.

        On-topic - this should only be the tip of the iceberg for Brooks & Coulson, though: I'm fairly sure it can be proven that they've lied under oath with previous protestations of ignorance, and perjury carries a heavier sentence. Fingers crossed, eh?

        <still trying to get that image of Blunkett et al out of my head. Bastard>

  7. ukgnome
    Paris Hilton

    Where is the party icon for this good news story?

    <----- Paris because she likes a good party

  8. LinkOfHyrule

    I wonder if Rebecca Brooks will do that thing where you have a blue towel put over your head as you're led from the back door of the court to the G4S prisoner transportation van?

    1. DJV Silver badge

      G4S? Blue towel?

      Probably not... With G4S' lack of staff she would have to drive the prisoner van herself!

    2. Elmer Phud

      I now where my towel is

      Ahem, that's 'Barclay's Blue' to you.

  9. Rovindi

    Conviction? Pah...

    I would be utterly amazed if any of these lot would get jail-time for these offences. There is a two-tier justice system in the UK that will see these people be "strongly rebuked" by some octogenarian judge, whilst mentioning their previous "outstanding character" or something similar. I really do hope that, if they are found guilty, then they get sent down for serious time and not some pissy two-month stretch in that delightful HMP sponsored hotel near Arundel- AKA HMP Ford.

    Boils my piss.

    Move on, there is nothing to see here.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Conviction? Pah...

      Agreed. But you'd only get rebuked (normnally) if convicted. There's every chance that NI will pay hot lawyers to run rings round the CPS, and that they'll all walk free. I hope not, but "I didn''t know" seems a quite acceptable excuse for the Murdochs themselves, the heads of RBS, and of Barclays, etc.

      1. Martin
        Thumb Up

        Re: Conviction? Pah...

        Jeffrey Archer went to prison for perjury.

        Jonathan Aitken went to prison for perjury.

        At least three MPs went to prison for fiddling their expenses.

        And the CPS, you may be assured, will be paying their own hot lawyers too.

        I think there is a very good chance they will go down.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Conviction? Pah...

          Not quite, Tony Blair is still walking free which is enough for a vote of np confidence in my book..

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Conviction? Pah...

          I used to have a dev working for me in the late 90`s who wanted to register a domain called (or something similar) with a view to putting dearest Jeffrey as his first case study. A lawyer told him, in no uncertain terms, to simply walk away and not even consider doing anything remotely like it.

          Turns out my colleague was right and the lawyer was wrong.

          Go figure...

    2. philbo

      Re: Conviction? Pah...

      ISTM the worry is more that their lawyers will argue the coverage means they are unable to get a fair trial. After all, everyone knows they did it..

      I don't understand how that's going to work, given that most of the evidence has been in the public domain for months if not years now, and most of those accused have been shown to have lied about it repeatedly. Does a trial still count as "fair" if you're guilty as sin and everyone knows it because they've seen the evidence?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Popcorn sales up

    Forget the olympics!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    but, but they weren't "in transmission"...

    they were stored, not going anywhere, therefore not 'in transmission'... so there's a technicality to drive a bus through.

    anyway, who leaves detailed voicemails anyway? I think it is just a ploy to distract from the expenses crooks.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: but, but they weren't "in transmission"...

      IIRC, "in transmission" has been legally defined to mean sent but not yet read/listened to by the intended recipient, so your voicemail/email sitting on a server is "in transmission" until you listen to/read it, after which it's just stored data.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: but, but they weren't "in transmission"...

        then they have to show it hadnt been listened to

        1. Invidious Aardvark

          Re: but, but they weren't "in transmission"...

          I think the fact that one of the phone owners was dead at the time her voice mail was accessed probably helps with that, but IANAL.

    2. Vic

      Re: but, but they weren't "in transmission"...

      > they were stored, not going anywhere, therefore not 'in transmission'


      Subsection 2(7) of the Regulation of Investigatory Power Act 2000 [1] says :-

      "For the purposes of this section the times while a communication is being transmitted by means of a telecommunication system shall be taken to include any time when the system by means of which the communication is being, or has been, transmitted is used for storing it in a manner that enables the intended recipient to collect it or otherwise to have access to it."

      IOW, voicemail is explicitly *included* in the "in transmission" definition.


      [1] ::spit::

  12. Naughtyhorse

    time to bury the hatchet...

    and support THE SUNs campaighn to bring back hanging methinks.

    1. System 10 from Navarone

      Re: time to bury the hatchet...

      "time to bury the hatchet...and support THE SUNs campaighn to bring back hanging methinks."

      ...or the Rebekah Brooks System of Justice where worthless scum have their addresses published so the mob can go and say hello. Much less refined.

      1. Naughtyhorse

        Re: time to bury the hatchet...

        Thats better...

        I mean she wouldnt have been charged if she wasnt guilty :)

  13. John A Blackley

    Keep calm

    I wouldn't get too excited just yet. The CPS is required to determine that there are "reasonable grounds to expect a successful prosecution" (as well as it being in the public interest) before bringing one.

    They've lost quite a few they thought they had "reasonable grounds" to bring.

  14. Chris Miller

    I'm confused*

    If I left a message professing my undying love on John Prescott's phone** and someone listens to it, then publishes it - who has been embarrassed here? Clearly whoever intercepts it has done wrong and ought to be punished appropriately, but I would feel more entitled to compensation than 'Lord' Twojags.

    * not for the first time.

    ** a very unlikely contingency, I hasten to add.

  15. h4rm0ny
    Thumb Up


    (see subject)

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not sure BP are going to be too chuffed.

    The BP advert shows eight photos and some blarney about their home team. I was squinting at it thinking that Rebekah Brooks hadn't aged well and then realised it was an ad rather than photos of the eight people who'd been charged!

  17. Fuzzy Duck
    Thumb Up

    a poem

    andy and rebekah sitting in a tree...h a c k i n g.............possibly.

  18. SpaMster

    So let me get this right, NOTW had numerous people hacking peoples phones for private messages and creating storys in their paper. But one guy hacks Selena Gomez's facebook account and gets a full year in jail. If these people dont get 4-5 years in jail the justice system is all kinds of screwed.

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