LONDON – Rupert Murdoch’s former editor
Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, Prime Minister David
Cameron’s former media chief, oversaw a system of
phone hacking and illegal payments to officials when they
ran the now defunct News Of The World, a London
court heard on today.
Prosecutor Andrew Edis told the Old Bailey that
Brooks and Coulson were in charge at the Sunday
tabloid or its daily sister paper the Sun when the illegal
behaviour was alleged to have taken place.
Edis said both had sanctioned illegal payments to be
made to public officials, including one by Brooks for
nearly 40,000 pounds (BDS$128,000) to a senior Ministry
of Defence official. Coulson is accused of authorizing a
payment to a royal police protection officer to secure a
phone book with contact details for royal staff.
When police finally began to reveal the truth, Brooks
and other figures at Murdoch’s British newspaper
business – then known as News International – mounted
a cover-up, Edis said.
Brooks and Coulson are on trial with six others,
accused of conspiring to hack phones and make illegal
payments. They deny all the charges. Brooks also faces
two counts of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
The court heard today that three former senior
journalists from the News Of The World had
pleaded guilty to charges relating to phone hacking, and
Edis said the jury would have to decide whether Brooks
and Coulson were likely to have known about the illegal
It was the revelation of the hacking in July 2011
which caused uproar across Britain and led Murdoch to
closing down the 168-year-old News Of The World.
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