UNITED KINGDOM: Prosecutors to charge Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks over phone hacking
- Title: UNITED KINGDOM: Prosecutors to charge Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks over phone hacking
- Date: 24th July 2012
- Summary: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (FILE) (REUTERS) VARIOUS STILL PHOTOGRAPHS OF COULSON LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (FILE - NOV 29, 2006) (REUTERS) STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR, GLENN MULCAIRE, LEAVING OLD BAILEY COURT ACCUSED OF INTERCEPTING VOICEMAIL MESSAGES
- Reuters ID: LVA5TY1Y968IP22T280AJGA83ZIM
- Location: United Kingdom
- Country: United Kingdom
- Duration: 00:00:32
- Topics: Crime,Communications
- Story Text: Prime Minister David Cameron's ex-media chief and Rupert Murdoch's former UK newspaper boss are to be charged with phone-hacking offences in the most significant development in a scandal that has rocked Britain's establishment.
Prosecutors said on Tuesday (July 24) Andy Coulson, who was Cameron's communications chief from 2007 until January 2011, and Rebekah Brooks, who was courted by a succession of prime ministers including Cameron in her role as Murdoch's UK newspaper chief, would be charged with offences linked to the hacking.
The alleged offences were committed when both were editor of the News of the World newspaper, the Sunday tabloid which Murdoch was forced to close last July amid public revulsion at the phone-hacking revelations.
Six other senior former News of the World journalists and staff are also to be charged. The maximum sentence for the phone-hacking charges is two years in prison and/or a fine.
"Applying the DPP's interim guidelines on assessing the public interest in cases affecting the media, I have concluded that a prosecution is required in the public interest in relation to each of those eight suspects. The eight who will be charged are: Rebekah Brooks, Andrew Coulson, Stuart Kuttner, Glenn Mulcaire, Greg Miskiw, Ian Edmondson, Neville Thurlbeck, and James Weatherup. They will face a total of 19 charges in all," said Alison Levitt, Principal Legal Advisor to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
"In addition, each will face a number of further charges of conspiracy unlawfully to intercept communications as follows: Rebekah Brooks will face two additional charges, the first relates to the voicemails of the late Milly Dowler, the second to the voicemails of Andrew Gilchrist. Andrew Coulson will face four additional charges relating to the following victims: Milly Dowler, The Right Honourable David Blunkett MP, The Right Honourable Charles Clarke and Calum Best," added Levitt.
Coulson took up the role as the Conservatives' director of communications, helping to shape Cameron's bid to become prime minister, just six months after he stood down as editor of the now-defunct Sunday paper following the jailing of one of his reporters for phone hacking.
Critics say Cameron appointed Coulson in order to secure the backing of the journalist's former boss, Murdoch, and say the appointment showed a shocking lack of judgement.
The involvement of Coulson and Brooks - a close friend to Cameron - turned the long-running hacking story into a national political scandal that has laid bare the collusion between senior politicians, the police and the media.
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