26 Sep 2012

Rebekah Brooks to face phone hacking trial next year

Rebekah Brooks, Andy Coulson and five other former News of the World journalists will face trial for charges related to phone-hacking in September 2013.

Rebekah Brooks (Reuters)

Mrs Brooks, the former chief executive of News International, and Andy Coulson, the former News of the World editor and latterly David Cameron’s communications director, appeared at the Central Criminal Court this morning on charges in relation to Operation Weeting, the investigation into phone hacking.

Other News of the World employees who appeared today were the paper’s former chief reporter, Neville Thurlbeck, news editor Ian Edmondson, assistant editor Greg Miskiw and reporter James Weatherup.

Private investigator Glenn Mulcaire also appeared, whilst former managing editor Stuart Kuttner was excused from today’s hearing.

All of the accused face charges of conspiracy to intercept communications during the course of their transmission.

One of Mrs Brooks charges specifically refer to the interception of voicemails left on the phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler in April 2002. Mr Coulson’s charges also relate to Dowler, as well as George Best’s son Calum, Charles Clarke and David Blunkett. One general charge against all of the accused relates to a host of celebrities between October 2000 and August 2006.

Operation Sascha

In a separate case, Mrs Brooks, alongside her husband and five others, appeared in relation to charges of peverting the course of justice, which have been brought under Operation Sascha.

Mr Justice Fulford set the provisional date for a trial in relation to the phone hacking charges for 9 September 2013. It has not yet been decided if the charges under Operation Weeting and Operation Sascha will be heard together.

A hearing has also been set for the 12 and 13 December this year. All the defendants were bailed.