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Rebekah Brooks cleared of all hacking charges

Former FBU leader Andy Gilchrist alleges a 'criminal conspiracy'

A HACKING victim accused News International of “criminal conspiracy” yesterday as Rupert Murdoch’s protege Rebekah Brooks was cleared of all charges.

Former Fire Brigades Union general secretary Andy Gilchrist demanded further investigations are placed on the relationship between News of the World staff and politicians after a jury found one-time editor Ms Brooks not guilty.

“No-one should be allowed to keep money made from the profits of this long-running criminal conspiracy,” Mr Gilchrist said.

The ex-FBU leader, who was general secretary in 2002-3 during a national dispute, argued that his and other trade unionists’ phones were tapped as part of Mr Murdoch’s anti-union propaganda.

“It was not done to expose crime or wrong-doing but to print tittle-tattle about people in the public eye and feed Murdoch’s political agenda,” said Mr Gilchrist.

Only former Tory Party spindoctor Andy Coulson has been convicted of conspiracy so far.

Ms Brooks, her husband author Charlie Brooks, her personal assistant Cheryl Carter, former News International head of security Mark Hanna and News of the World managing editor Stuart Kuttner were all cleared of their respective charges.

Many, however, have argued that industry as a whole has suffered due to News International's lack of professional ethos.

“It has felt as if the whole of journalism has been put on trial over this period,” said journalists union NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet.

“This should be the time to draw a line under the bullying behaviour in newsrooms which put journalists under pressure to act unethically.”

Campaigners are now urging for the implementation of a controversial press-regulation charter started by the Hacked Off group.

The document would not count as a watchdog or be legally binding, but rather as a series of guidelines for editorial self-regulation.

Prime Minister David Cameron was forced to apologise in the wake of Mr Coulson’s conviction as he had been responsible for his employment as Downing Street adviser.

“I am extremely sorry,” Mr Cameron said. 

“It was the wrong decision.”

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