Former News of the World editor Rebecca Brooks has explained that she didn’t know that murder, arson, genocide, phone hacking, extortion, terrorism or poisoning were illegal until advised by her lawyers recently.
“I thought they were just jolly japes”, she told a stunned courtroom. “What about husband battering? Is that illegal now as well? Am I in some sort of trouble?”
The court heard that Ms Brooks is not legally qualified, and therefore could not be expected to realise that paying investigators thousands of pounds to hack the voicemail service of dead schoolgirls was anything other than “quality journalism”.
She also denied knowing who Glen Mulcaire was, saying that she thought he might be a song by Paul McCartney. When asked why she was paying a total stranger £92,000 per annum she replied “I assumed it was royalties. I often hum that song in the office. In hindsight I realise the song is called ‘Mull of Kintyre’, so I should probably have asked somebody about the 92 thousand ”.
“Of course, if I had known that phone hacking was illegal I would have stopped it. As a tabloid editor I obviously don’t possess a moral compass, so legal advice is the only thing keeping me from, well, unspeakable acts of wickedness. On this occasion my advisers failed in their duty and I’ve had them beheaded. Oh bugger, is that illegal too?”