UK PM's ex-aide faces retrial in hacking case

Andy Coulson will be tried again after court convicted him of illegally accessing voice-mails.

    UK PM's ex-aide faces retrial in hacking case
    Coulson has yet to be sentenced but the maximum penalty for phone hacking is two years in prison [Reuters]

    Andy Coulson, a former top aide to British Prime Minister David Cameron, will face a retrial on some of the charges in his phone-hacking trial, prosecutors have said.

    Coulson, a former editor of the Rupert Murdoch-owned News of the World tabloid, will be tried again on charges of conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office by paying a police officer for royal telephone directories.

    Jurors at London's Old Bailey court last week convicted him of one charge of illegally accessing voicemails but failed to reach a verdict on other charges.

    Coulson, 46, has yet to be sentenced but the maximum penalty for phone hacking is two years in prison.

    His co-defendant Rebekah Brooks, another former News of the World editor who went on to head the British arm of Murdoch's operation, was cleared of all charges.

    Coulson appeared in court on Monday in a preparatory hearing ahead of sentencing on Friday with five others who were also convicted or pleaded guilty in the case.

    The list of victims of News of the World phone hacking "read like a Who's Who of Britain," prosecutor Andrew Edis told the court.

    Criminal enterprise

    The newspaper "became at the highest level a criminal enterprise", he added.

    Those affected included the then Kate Middleton, who is now married to Prince William, James Bond star Daniel Craig and actor Jude Law.

    Months after resigning from the Murdoch newspaper, Coulson became Cameron's director of communications between 2007 and 2011, when he again stepped down with scandal swirling.

    The paper was closed in disgrace in 2011. Cameron last week apologised for hiring Coulson, who became a trusted confidant and part of his inner circle, saying it had been "the wrong decision".

    The phone-hacking trial was one of the most expensive in English legal history, spotlighting the close ties between the Murdoch empire and politicians and the no-holds-barred methods of Britain's tabloid press.

    Prosecutors say they will try to recover legal costs of $1.3m from defendants.

    Clive Goodman, the News of the World's one-time royal editor, will also face a retrial on the same charges as Coulson.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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