A rather crucial debate has been denied by the decision of News UK to withdraw their claim for millions of pounds of costs after the acquittal of Rebekah Brooks and others in the hacking trial. The judge was about to ask the Attorney General for advice on whether he should look at the conduct of News UK in the phone hacking scandal as he had the discretion to do so. News UK seem to have decided that rather than have that debated they would withdraw their claim for £7m costs.
Back in June, when Rebekah Brooks, Stuart Kuttner, Cheryl Carter and Mark Hanna were all acquitted at the phone hacking trial, their barristers made it clear they would be applying (as is their right) for a refund of their court costs. Already, at this point, it was clear that News UK would have to be party to these hearings on costs, since they had indemnified all the cleared defendants bar Charlie Brooks. The initial quantum for that claim was reported to be £25 million in legal costs. This was reduced two weeks ago to £7 million by the Crown Prosecution Service on the basis of equivalent legal aid, rather than private, legal costings.
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