Rebekah Brooks cleared but Andy Coulson guilty in phone hacking trial



Andy Coulson has been been found guilty in the phone hacking trial, but his co-defendant, Rebekah Brooks has been cleared of all charges.

Coulson, who edited the News of the World before becoming Prime Minister David Cameron’s official spokesman, now faces prison after the jury returned a guilty verdict in dramatic scenes at the Old Bailey.

But Mrs Brooks, who edited The Sun and the News of the World before promotion to News International chief executive, was exonerated after being cleared of conspiracy to hack phones, conspiracy to corrupt public officials and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

She was overcome by emotion on hearing the verdicts and was taken away by the court matron.

Mrs Brooks had always denied any knowledge of illegal activities at the Sun and the News of the World and after a seven month trial the jury accepted her version of events.

The trial, which has been one of the longest and most expensive in British criminal history, heard allegations of how journalists working at the News of the World and The Sun, under the stewardship of Mrs Brooks and Coulson, routinely broke the law in pursuit of exclusive stories.

Jurors were told how reporters at the News of the World hacked hundreds of public and private figures, including celebrities, politicians and even victims of crime.

The court heard how private detective Glenn Mulcaire, who was paid more than £100,000 a year by the News of the World, also hacked members of the royal family including Princes William and Harry and Kate Middleton.

Their arrests, along with other senior colleagues at News International, followed widespread public revulsion after it emerged that among those who were hacked was the murdered schoolgirl, Milly Dowler.

Among those hacking victims who gave evidence at the trial were former Home Secretary Charles Clarke, the actor Jude Law and actress Sienna Miller.

Retired managing editor Stuart Kuttner was also cleared of being part of a conspiracy dating back to 2000 and spanning six years.

Mrs Brooks's former personal assistant Cheryl Carter was cleared of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Mrs Brooks's husband Charlie and NI director of security Mark Hanna were also cleared of perverting the course of justice.

But the jury, which has been considering verdicts since last Wednesday, June 11, is still considering further charges against Coulson and former NotW royal editor Clive Goodman of conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office by paying police officers for two royal directories.

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