Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Hacking trial: Coulson guilty, Brooks cleared of charges

Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson has been found guilty of conspiracy to hack phones.
His predecessor Rebekah Brooks was cleared of all charges in the phone-hacking trial. Coulson went on to become director of communications for the prime minister, who has apologised and said hiring him was “the wrong decision”. Royals, celebrities and victims of crime were among those whose phones were hacked by the News of the World. The paper was closed by its parent company, News International, in July 2011 after it emerged that it had instructed a private investigator to intercept – or “hack” – voicemails left on the mobile phone of murdered Surrey teenager Milly Dowler in 2002.
Coulson and former News International chief executive Mrs Brooks were among seven defendants on trial at the Old Bailey.
The verdicts in full are:
Andy Coulson was found guilty of a charge of conspiracy to intercept voicemails Mrs Brooks was found not guilty of conspiracy to hack voicemails, two counts of conspiracy to pay public officials and two counts of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice
Former News of the World managing editor Stuart Kuttner was found not guilty of conspiring to hack voicemails. Cheryl Carter, Charlie Brooks and News International’s former head of security Mark Hanna were cleared of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. The jury is continuing to consider misconduct in public office charges against Coulson and former News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman.
An emotional Mrs Brooks had to be taken away by the court matron on hearing the verdicts.
BBC political correspondent Robin Brant was in court as the verdicts were read out on the 138th day of the trial.
He said Coulson – who was News of the World editor from 2003-07 then worked for the Conservative Party from 2007 and became the PM’s director of communications after the 2010 election – stood with his hands behind his back and showed no emotion.
Mrs Brooks appeared to mouth “thank you” to the jury and also held the hand of her former personal assistant Cheryl Carter, who looked close to tears.


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