27 Jun 2014

Brooks 'vindicated' by hacking verdict

3:24 pm on 27 June 2014

Former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks says she is innocent of phone hacking and other crimes and feels vindicated by a jury's unanimous decision to acquit her.

The former tabloid editor was speaking for the first time since a lengthy trial cleared her on charges of conspiring to hack phones, bribe officials and obstruct police.

Rebekah Brooks with husband Charlie Brooks, right.

Rebekah Brooks with husband Charlie Brooks, right. Photo: AFP

The jury at the Old Bailey in London delivered their verdicts on Tuesday after eight days of deliberations and nearly six months of evidence sparked by the scandal that led to News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch shutting down the newspaper in July 2011.

Speaking for the first time since the verdict, Mrs Brooks - found not guilty on all four counts - said on Thursday that it had been "tough" for all affected by the case.

Appearing with her husband, the former head of News International, said the police inquiry and trial had put their "troubles in perspective", the BBC reports.

Her former News International colleague and one-time lover Andy Coulson was found guilty of conspiracy to hack phones and faces a prison sentence of up to two years.

Speaking to a crowd of reporters outside her London home, Mrs Brooks said: "I am innocent of the crimes that I was charged with and I feel vindicated by the unanimous verdicts.

"When I was arrested, it was in the middle of a maelstrom of controversy, of politics and of comment. Some of that was fair but much of it was not so I am very grateful to the jury for coming to their decision."

Coulson, 46, who went on to become media chief for British Prime Minister David Cameron, now faces up to two years' jail following his conviction.

The case centred on News of the World's efforts to hack the phones of Britain's royal family, politicians, celebrities and victims of crime, and families of people killed in the 7 July 2005 London bombings, AFP reports.

The paper was closed by its parent company after it emerged that it had instructed a private investigator to intercept voicemails left on the mobile phone of murdered Surrey teenager Milly Dowler in 2002.

The case also raised questions about the judgment of Mr Cameron in hiring Coulson, who resigned as editor of the News of the World in 2007 after two people were convicted of phone-hacking.

The hacking scandal also prompted a judge-led inquiry into the ethics of Britain's press, which made recommendations for reforming the way it is governed. They are yet to be put into force.