Murdoch editors ‘oversaw phone hacking’

gLONDON – 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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