Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson are already facing criminal charges in relation to the phone-hacking scandal that has rocked News Corp.‘s UK press arm, News International. Today, Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service said it would also level criminal charges against former News International chief Brooks and former News Of The World editor Coulson in relation to Operation Elveden, the investigation into alleged corrupt payments by newspapers to police officers and other public officials. Former Rupert Murdoch lieutenant Brooks was editor of The Sun newspaper from 2003-2009 and later became head of News International. Prosecutors today said they had concluded that Brooks, along with ex-Sun reporter John Kay and Ministry of Defence employee Bettina Jordan Barber, “should be charged with a conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office between 1 January 2004 and 31 January 2012. This conspiracy relates to information allegedly provided by Bettina Jordan Barber for payment, which formed the basis of a series of news stories published by The Sun. It is alleged that approximately £100,000 was paid” to Barber between 2004 and 2011.”
Coulson, who is also Prime Minister David Cameron’s former communications chief, will be charged on the same counts as former News Of The World reporter Clive Goodman. The CPS said, “We have concluded, following a careful review of the evidence, that Clive Goodman and Andy Coulson should be charged with two conspiracies. The allegations relate to the request and authorisation of payments to public officials in exchange for information, including a [Buckingham] Palace phone directory known as the ‘Green Book’ containing contact details for the Royal Family and Members of the Household.” Goodman, the only News Of The World journalist to have been jailed while working on the paper, previously went to prison in 2007 for hacking into the phones of the royal household.
Prosecutors noted that they considered “whether the public interest served by the conduct in question outweighs the overall criminality before bringing criminal proceedings.” All of the parties will appear before Westminster Magistrates on an as-yet determined date.