News Column

UK Phone Hacking Trial Gets Underway

October 28, 2013

By Lisa O'Carroll and Caroline Davies,

Former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks and David Cameron's former spin doctor Andy Coulson have arrived at the Old Bailey in London on the first day of their trial on charges linked to phone hacking and alleged corrupt payments to public officials.

Brooks, ex-editor of the Sun and now defunct News of the World newspapers, and Coulson, also a former NoW editor, faced massed ranks of media outside the central criminal court on Monday morning.

The process of selecting a jury is expected to begin on Monday for the trial, which is due to last more than five months.

Brooks, 45, from Churchill, Oxfordshire, who resigned from News International in July 2011, faces five charges spanning more than a decade, including one charge in relation to allegations of conspiracy to hack phones.

She has denied the charge and two further allegations that she conspired with others to commit misconduct in public office. She has also pleaded not guilty to two charges that she conspired with others to pervert the course of justice.

Coulson, 45, from Preston, Kent, who quit Downing Street in January 2011, is facing three charges in relation to his time as editor of the News of the World.

He has denied two charges relating to an alleged conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office. He has also pleaded not guilty to allegations linked to a phone-hacking conspiracy on the paper.

Brooks's racehorse trainer husband, Charlie Brooks, 50, has pleaded not guilty to one charge of conspiring to pervert the course of justice, as has her former personal assistant at News International Cheryl Carter, 49, and News International's head of security Mark Hanna.

Ian Edmondson, 44, ex-head of news at the News of the World, and Stuart Kuttner, 73, former managing editor of the paper, each face one charge in relation to a conspiracy to hack phones.

Clive Goodman, 56, former News of the World royal editor, is accused of conspiring with Coulson to commit misconduct in public office.

The case started with a half an hour of legal discussions before the jury selection process started.

Brooks was first to take her seat in the glass-panelled dock alongside her husband Charlie. The remaining defendants Hanna, Carter, Goodman, Coulson, Edmondson and Kuttner sat to her right.

Court 12 was packed, with 24 barristers, at least a dozen solicitors and about 20 reporters present, plus another 30 to 40 journalists in an overspill annex.

Original headline: Phone hacking: trial of Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson gets under way

Source: (c) 2013 Guardian Newspapers Limited.

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