The former Chief Executive of News International, Rebekah Brooks, has appeared before a London court to face charges relating to phone hacking.
"She faces three charges of phone hacking," Al Jazeera's Tim Friend, reporting from London, said on Monday.
The 44-year-old Brooks, who oversaw media mogul Rupert Murdoch's British newspaper group, has been charged with illegally intercepting voicemail messages.
"This case goes to the start of the British establishment, and raises questions about the [British prime minister David Cameron's] judgement," the Al Jazeera correspondent said, noting the prime minister's close ties with two of the accused, including Brooks.
During her brief appearance on Monday, Brooks was given the conditions of her release on bail regarding travel and who she can contact. Brooks is due to reappear in court later this month.
Brooks, a former editor of now-defunct News of the World newspaper, is close to Murdoch and was friends with successive British prime ministers. She resigned as chief executive of News International in July 2011 over revelations of phone-hacking by reporters at one of her papers.
The phone-hacking scandal at the News of the World Sunday tabloid, which Murdoch abruptly shut down last July to try and limit the damage, set off a chain of events that have dominated the British news agenda for a year and are still playing out.
More than 50 journalists and public officials have been arrested on suspicion of hacking or corrupt relationships, and a public inquiry has exposed ties too close for comfort between Murdoch's inner circle and the men at the top of government.
As editor of the News of the World, where the trouble began, and later of the Sun, Britain's most read newspaper, Brooks once wielded enormous influence as she sent her reporters after the secrets of the rich and the powerful.
But since the phone-hacking scandal exploded in July 2011 she has turned from hunter to prey, her every appearance in public drawing crowds of paparazzi and her every word dissected by a gleeful press.
The scandal has not only rocked News Corporation, it has put the notoriously aggressive British press under the spotlight and embarrassed senior politicians, including Cameron, over their often cosy ties with the Australian-born businessman.
Source: Al Jazeera and agencies