UK

Phone-hacking trial: Charlie Brooks 'feared porn leak'

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionRobin Brant: "[Charlie Brooks] said he removed... DVDs... because he didn't want his wife to be embarrassed"

Racehorse trainer Charlie Brooks has told a court he hid pornography from police because he feared embarrassing details would be leaked to the press.

Mr Brooks, husband of former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, said a "lot of stuff" had been leaked to newspapers during the police's phone-hacking investigation.

He told the Old Bailey he hid the porn DVDs in a jiffy bag behind some bins.

He denies conspiring to pervert the course of justice by hiding evidence.

Mrs Brooks and former News International head of security Mark Hanna also deny conspiracy to pervert the course of justice between 5 and 19 July and 2011.

'Bit of smut'

Mr Brooks told the court he hid the DVDs to avoid a "Jacqui Smith moment", referring to the former home secretary's resignation in 2009 after it emerged she claimed expenses for a TV service used by her husband to watch pornography.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Charlie and Rebekah Brooks arriving at court together on 18 March

"I did think about my DVDs and I had my Jacqui Smith moment. I didn't want the same thing to happen to Rebekah," he said.

"I didn't want to embarrass my wife in the same way."

When questioned by his barrister, Neil Saunders QC, he said the DVDs he was hiding were of "an embarrassing nature".

"I envisaged 20 policemen coming in and emptying every drawer and looking under every nook and cranny, and I did think about my DVDs," he said.

He also said he took a Sony Vaio laptop from the flat he shared with Mrs Brooks in London, while she was being interviewed by police at Lewisham Police Station.

"It had some important book ideas that weren't backed up anywhere else, but it also had a bit of smut on it too," he said.

In hiding the items behind the bins he said he never thought about the presence of CCTV cameras.

Image caption The jury has been shown photographs of bags found by a cleaner
Image caption The court heard bags were hidden in an apartment block car park

"Incredibly stupidly and rashly I thought I'll just put it to one side and they won't take it away and I won't lose my material," he said.

The jury has seen pictures from the cameras, showing him returning from the bins empty-handed before a police raid.

Officers also raided the couple's Oxfordshire home, and Mr Brooks said he removed two bags from that address because he was expecting the raids, in July 2011.

He said he did not want to lose a News International Apple Mac laptop, which he had earlier told the court he viewed as his "personal property", because it contained a novel he was writing and historical notes he had gathered as part of his research.

He denied asking members of Mrs Brooks's security team to remove any other items from their Oxfordshire home.

Mr Brooks said he was aware the police were likely to search their home as early as April 2011, after he and Mrs Brooks had returned from holiday.

He said it came as "no surprise" that police searched their home on 17 July 2011, but he did not know what his wife would be arrested for.

He said he thought "Rebekah's relationship with the police changed", and spoke of her being removed from what he described as a "confidentiality club".

Mr and Mrs Brooks are being tried alongside five other defendants in relation to alleged phone hacking by journalists at the News of the World.

Mrs Brooks also denies conspiracy to hack phones and conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office.

The trial continues.