Hacking retrial over corrupt payments

LONDON - Ex-News of the World editor Andy Coulson and its former royal editor Clive Goodman are to face a retrial on a charge of buying royal telephone directories from police officers.

An Old Bailey jury failed to reach a verdict on the charges last week.

Coulson, 46, was found guilty last week of conspiracy to hack phones and faces a maximum of two years in prison.

He is due to be sentenced later this week for plotting to hack phones at the NoW between 2000 and 2006.

Prosecutor Andrew Edis QC said: "The CPS has taken the position to proceed with the retrial."

He also described the list of phone hacking victims as reading "like a Who's Who to Britain for the first five years of the century", adding that "what occurred was the routine invasion of privacy and that has the capacity to do serious harm".

And Justice Saunders agreed with Mr Edis that the public should be told how two years is the maximum term the convicted men can be sentenced to serve in prison, so that public expectations around their sentencing would be "based on what is lawful".

'Utterly corrupted'
Coulson appeared at the Old Bailey as the sentencing process began, and sat in the dock alongside three former colleagues. Former NoW chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck, 52, news editor Greg Miskiw, 64, and reporter James Weatherup, 58, have all admitted their part in what the court heard was "systemic misconduct".

Private detective Glenn Mulcaire also appeared, for his part in the hacking plot. Former NoW reporter Dan Evans, who has also admitted phone hacking, will be sentenced separately in late July.

Mr Edis also told the court on Monday that the Crown would make an application for costs against Miskiw, Thurlbeck, Weatherup and Coulson totalling £750,000.

Those four men had "utterly corrupted" the NoW, which "became at the very highest level a criminal enterprise", the court heard.

The court also heard Miskiw was the most heavily implicated in phone hacking, making some 1,500 requests to Mulcaire between 1999 and 2006, even after he had left the News of the World.

In July 2004 he asked Mulcaire to target Spectator publisher Kimberly Quinn because of her involvement with former home secretary David Blunkett.

And he and Thurlbeck were also responsible for instructing Mulcaire over the hacking of voicemails on a mobile phone belonging to murdered Surrey teenager Milly Dowler in 2002.

Robin Brant, BBC political correspondent

It is quite a scene - the News of the World hackers reunited.

Behind the Perspex screen shielding the dock sat six men who have pleaded guilty to, or have been convicted of, what's been described yet again as intercepting voicemails on an "industrial scale".

Left to right sat Greg Miskiw, Dan Evans, James Weatherup, Neville Thurlbeck, Andy Coulson and Glen Mulcaire.

The man who did most of the hacking - Mulcaire - sat alongside the editor who agreed to it. Coulson and Thurlbeck, once the NoW's chief reporter, chatted before all six were asked to stand and confirm their names.

Arms behind his back, suit button done up, Coulson simply answered: "Yes". The court was packed with barristers - 20 at my count - and some of the media sitting in the seats reserved for the jury.

It was a reminder that this is no longer a trial but the last phase of the process, where the judge alone decides what sentences to pass on these men.

The News of the World was closed by its parent company, News International, in July 2011 after the incident involving Milly Dowler's phone emerged.

Police say thousands of people's phones were also targeted by the newspaper's hackers.

After leaving the News of the World, Coulson, 46, of Charing in Kent, later became director of communications for Prime Minister David Cameron.

Clive Goodman, 56, of Addlestone, Surrey, is the newspaper's former royal editor and pleaded guilty to phone hacking in 2006.

Coulson 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.

Following Coulson's conviction Mr Cameron apologised for hiring him and said it had been "the wrong decision".

Comments (1)


five star - 2 July 2014

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