Rebekah Brooks and Charlie Brooks

Rebekah and Charlie Brooks

Credit: PA Wire

Rebekah Brooks has expressed her bewilderment at the news that she is to face criminal charges for perverting the course of justice over the phone hacking scandal, describing the actions as "an expensive sideshow" and "a waste of public money".

The former News International chief executive gave a statement outside her solicitor's office in London yesterday afternoon, after answering bail at Lewisham police station.

She said: "While I have always respected the criminal justice system, I have to question whether the decision was made on a proper, impartial assessment of the evidence.

"I understand and know that there needs to be a proper and thorough investigation. I cannot express my anger enough that those closest to me have been dragged into this unfairly.

"One day, the details of this case will emerge and people will see today as nothing more than an expensive sideshow, a waste of public money.

"I was the editor of the News of the World, I was the editor of the Sun and chief executive. Even News International's harshest critics can't wish to see people with no involvement of the central issues being treated and involved like this."

Her husband Charlie Brooks, who is named in two of the charges, said it was "an attempt to use me and others as scapegoats, the effect of which will be to ratchet up the pressure on my wife, who I also believe is the subject of a witchhunt".

He added: "There are 172 police officers, the equivalent of eight murder squads working on this, so it is no surprise to me that the pressure is on to bring prosecutions, however weak they may be.

"I have no doubt that the lack of evidence against me will be borne out in court but I have grave reservations that my wife can ever get a fair trial given the huge volume of biased commentary she is constantly subjected to. We will fight this in court."

The Brooks couple were among six people charged yesterday - the first charges to be made in the ongoing Metropolitan police investigations into hacking and alleged media payments to public officials.

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