Brooks' lawyer blasts British police over hacking arrest

18th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

A lawyer for former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks criticised British police Monday for her arrest, saying she was not guilty and they had inflicted "serious reputational damage" on her.

Stephen Parkinson said police put no allegations to the 43-year-old after detaining her on Sunday on suspicion of phone-hacking and bribing police, just two days after she quit Rupert Murdoch's British newspaper wing.

He also confirmed she was willing to testify to British lawmakers over the controversy Tuesday after her arrest cast doubt on whether she would appear at the hearing, which Rupert Murdoch and son James will also attend.

"The position of Rebekah Brooks can be simply stated -- she is not guilty of any criminal offence," Parkinson told reporters outside his London office.

"The position of the Metropolitan Police is less easy to understand.

"Despite arresting her yesterday and conducting an interview process lasting nine hours, they put no allegations to her and showed her no documents connecting her with any crime.

"They will in due course have to give an account of their actions and in particular their decision to arrest her with the enormous reputational damage that this has involved."

He added: "In the meantime Mrs Brooks has an appointment with the Culture Media and Sport committee tomorrow. She remains willing to attend and answer questions."

Parkinson hinted however that the committee might decide to postpone her appearance following her arrest.

"It is a matter for parliament to decide what issues to put to her and whether her appointment should take place at a later date," he said.

Brooks, the 10th person and most senior Murdoch aide so far to be arrested over the scandal, was bailed late Sunday after being quizzed at a London police station.

She was editor of the News International-owned News of the World tabloid, which was axed earlier this month as the scandal gathered pace, from 2000-2003 when phone hacking was alleged to have taken place.

She became the latest figure from Murdoch's News Corp., the parent company of News International, to fall on her sword when she quit Friday.

© 2011 AFP

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