30 Jun 2014

Coulson faces retrial over illegal payments charges

The prime minister’s former spin doctor Andy Coulson faces a retrial over charges of plotting to bribe corrupt officials while he was editor of News of the World.

Last week, a jury failed to reach a verdict on whether Coulson and the News of the World’s former royal editor Clive Goodman were guilty of making illegal payments to police officers over two royal directories.

The Crown Prosecution Service announced it would still pursue both defendants on the two counts.

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

Coulson, 46, already faces jail after the jury found him guilty of plotting to hack phones at the newspaper between 2000 and 2006 following the Old Bailey trial which went on for 139 days.

Goodman, 56, pleaded guilty to phone hacking in 2006 and despite admitting his activities were more extensive than previously said, he will not face any further legal action over it.

The court also heard that four senior staff members had “utterly corrupted” the newspaper at the highest level. Coulson was being sentenced alongside former colleagues Neville Thurlbeck, Greg Miskiw and James Weatherup who have all admitted their part in the “systemic misconduct”.

Lawyers are expected to mitigate over the two defendants before Mr Justice Saunders hands down sentences on Friday.