London: The multiple investigations into the phone-hacking scandal Tuesday moved a notch higher with the prosecutors bringing three charges of perjury against media baron Rupert Murdoch's former confidante Rebekah Brooks, who was one of the most powerful editors in Britain until recently.
Brooks and her racehorse trainer husband Charles Brooks - neighbours and good friends of Prime Minister David Cameron - in Oxfordshire - are among seven people associated with Murdoch's News International who were arrested earlier.
One of the seven persons will not face charges, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.
43-year-old Brooks, who was arrested on March 13 by Scotland Yard police officers investigating phone hacking, is the first person to face charges in the major criminal investigation into hacking and allegations of bribing public officials.
She is to be charged with three charges of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, including the alleged removal of seven cases of material from the archive of News International and the concealing of documents and computers from officers investigating phone hacking.
Responding to the CPS decision, Rebekah and Charlie Brooks said: "We deplore this weak and unjust decision. After the further unprecedented posturing of the CPS we will respond later today after our return from the police station."
The CPS received a file of evidence from the Metropolitan Police Service on March 27 in relation to seven suspects: Rebekah Brooks; Charles Brooks; Cheryl Carter (Rebekah's personal assistant); Mark Hanna (Head of Security at News International); Paul Edwards (Rebekah's chauffeur employed by News International); Daryl Jorsling and a seventh suspect - both of whom provided security for Rebekah Brooks supplied by News International.
The CPS said that Rebekah Brooks between July 6 and 19 in 2011 conspired with Charles Brooks, Cheryl Carter, Mark Hanna, Paul Edwards, Daryl Jorsling and persons unknown to conceal material from officers of the Metropolitan Police Service.
The second charge was that Rebekah Brooks and Cheryl Carter between July 6 and 9 last year conspired together permanently to remove seven boxes of material from the archive of News International.
The third charge was that Rebekah Brooks, Charles Brooks, Mark Hanna, Paul Edwards and Daryl Jorsling conspired together and with persons unknown, between July 15 and 19 last year, to conceal documents, computers and other electronic equipment from officers of the Metropolitan Police Service.
Alison Levitt, CPS principal legal adviser to the director of public prosecutions, said: "All these matters relate to the ongoing police investigation into allegations of phone hacking and corruption of public officials in relation to the News of the World and The Sun newspapers."
She added: "Following charge, these individuals will appear before Westminster magistrates' court on a date to be determined."
First Published: Tuesday, May 15, 2012, 15:14