David Cameron sorry after ex-aide found guilty in phone-hacking trial
The scandal raised questions about Cameron's judgement in hiring Andy Coulson
London: A jury at London's Old Bailey will on Wednesday consider another count against Andy Coulson, former media chief of British Prime Minister David Cameron, following his earlier conviction for phone-hacking.
Coulson was convicted on Tuesday but one-time Rupert Murdoch aide Rebekah Brooks was acquitted in a dramatic end to the News of the World trial.
The jury will return Wednesday to consider two counts against Coulson and former colleague Clive Goodman over charges they purchased telephone directories from police.
Andy Coulson, background, former News of the World editor leaves
the Central Criminal Court in London, on Tuesday. (Photo: AP)
Cameron on Tuesday issued a sombre televised apology for hiring Coulson, showing how toxic the scandal remains nearly three years after News Corp boss Murdoch was forced to shut down the Sunday tabloid in disgrace.
The jury delivered their verdicts after eight days of deliberations and nearly eight months of detailed evidence in what had been dubbed the "trial of the century".
An emotional Brooks had to be supported by a court nurse after the flame-haired former head of Murdoch's British newspaper wing was acquitted of conspiring to intercept voicemails and of plotting to bribe officials for stories.
But Coulson, her former lover and her successor as editor of News of the World, faces jail following his conviction for phone hacking.
British daily The Guardian, which has been at the centre of exposing the scandal, reported on Tuesday that Scotland Yard now want to interview Murdoch about further allegations of crime at his British newspapers.
The case centred on News of the World's efforts to hack the phones of Britain's royal family, politicians, celebrities and victims of crime, including a murdered schoolgirl and families of people killed in the July 7, 2005 London bombings.
During the trial Brooks's lawyers argued that there was "no smoking gun" to link her to the phone hacking and that the evidence was "circumstantial".
Brooks's husband Charlie, a racehorse trainer, and News International director of security Mark Hanna were also cleared of perverting the course of justice by allegedly trying to hide evidence from the police.
Her former personal assistant Cheryl Carter was cleared of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. The paper's retired managing editor Stuart Kuttner was also cleared of conspiracy to hack phones.
- Cameron's 'bad decision' -
The scandal raised questions about Cameron's judgement in hiring Coulson, who resigned as editor of the News of the World in 2007 after a journalist and private investigator were convicted of phone hacking.
Cameron had promised in parliament when the scandal first broke three years ago that he would make an apology if Coulson was found guilty, and he honoured that on Tuesday, saying he had given Coulson a "second chance".
"It was a second chance, it turns out to be a bad decision and I'm extremely sorry about that," Cameron said.
"Employing someone when they gave false assurances was the wrong decision. I'm profoundly sorry about that."
Murdoch shut down the News of the World in disgrace amid a boycott by advertisers just over three years ago after it emerged that the paper had hacked the voicemails of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.
The paper was later found to have hacked a long list of public figures including Prince William, the second-in-line to the British throne, his wife Kate Middleton, and celebrities including former Beatle Paul McCartney and actor Jude Law.
The fallout from the trial may not be over, however, as The Guardian on Tuesday reported that police want to question Murdoch "as a suspect" as part of their investigation.
According to the report, police contacted the media chief last year, but agreed with his legal team to postpone the meeting until the end of the trial.
The hacking scandal prompted a judge-led inquiry into the ethics of Britain's famously aggressive press, which made recommendations for reforming the way it is governed. They are yet to be put into force.
Murdoch tabloid The Sun on Wednesday claimed the verdicts as a victory, while his broadsheet The Times said the move to impose new regulations in the wake of the revelations "looks even more of a disaster today than it ever has".
But the Guardian said the trial "produced a picture of widespread criminality" within the News of the World.
( Source : AFP )