Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive of News International, is to be charged over allegations that she tried to conceal evidence from detectives investigating phone hacking and alleged bribes to public officials.
Brooks, one of the most high-profile figures in the newspaper industry, will be charged later on Tuesday with three counts of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice in July last year at the height of the police investigation, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced.
She is accused of conspiring with others, including her husband, Charlie Brooks, the racehorse trainer and friend of the prime minister, and her personal assistant, to conceal material from detectives.
Brooks and her husband were informed of the charging decision – the first since the start of the Operation Weeting phone hacking investigation last January – when they answered their bail at a police station in London this morning.
They are among six individuals from News International, along with the company's head of security, Mark Hanna, to be charged over allegations that they removed material, documents and computers to hide them from officers investigating phone hacking. The charge is a serious one which carries a maximum penalty of life, although the average term served in prison is 10 months.
Brooks is accused in one charge of conspiring with her PA Cheryl Carter to "remove seven boxes of material from the archives of News International".
In a separate charge she is accused of conspiring with her husband, Hanna, her chauffeur and a security consultant to conceal "documents and computers" from the investigating detectives. All the offences are alleged to have taken place in July last year.
Alison Levitt QC, Starmer's principal legal adviser, said the decision to charge six of the seven individuals arrested over the allegations came after prosecutors applied the two-stage test they are required to when making charging decisions.
"I have concluded that in relation to all suspects except the seventh there is sufficient evidence for there to be a realistic prospect of conviction," she said.
"I then considered the second stage of the test and I have concluded that a prosecution is required in the public interest in relation to each of the other six."
18 minutes ago