Day 77: Rebekah Brooks’s PA today admitted errors in her account to police about the removal of seven boxes of notebooks central to a charge of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice against her and her former boss.
Cheryl Carter told the phone hacking trial that she had been tired after arriving back from Australia hours when she was interviewed by police in November 2011 about the retrieval of the seven boxes from News International’s archives at the height of the phone hacking scandal.
Then, Mrs Carter told detectives that Mrs Brooks had been at a fitness “boot camp” when she, Mrs Carter, had ordered the removal of the boxes – which were labelled Rebekah Brooks’s notebooks 1995-2007 – on Friday 8 July 2011.
However she later accepted that both she and Mrs Brooks had been in their office at NI’s headquarters in Wapping, east London, when the boxes were removed, a day before the News of the World rolled off the presses for the last time.
Mrs Carter also itemised Mrs Brooks’s items in the boxes as three notebooks, two diaries, photographs and three pictures. But when inspecting Mrs Brooks’s belongings seized from her solicitors at Putney police station in October 2012, she identified them as being: two filofaxes, a ‘call book’ of people Mrs Brooks should phone and a diary from 1999.
Asked to explain the discrepancy, Mrs Carter repeatedly said she was trying to help the police but that her memory turned out to be faulty.
“I was trying my best,” Mrs Carter told the Old Bailey. “Maybe I didn’t do a good job, but I was trying my very best.”
Chief prosecutor Andrew Edis, QC, suggested to her that she was lying and that the boxes contained “what it said on the tin – Rebekah’s notebooks.”
She replied: “You are right because it contained three of her notebooks, but you’re absolutely wrong to say they contained what they said on the tin.”
She said that the seven boxes contained mostly 30 notebooks of clippings of her Sun column and notes on her beauty training.
Mrs Carter, who left News International in late July a week after the departure of her boss, and Mrs Brooks deny conspiring to pervert the course of justice. The case continues.