British phone-hacking trial said likely to last 6 months
(UPI International Top News Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) The trial of ex-newspaper executive Rebekah Brooks and others linked to alleged phone hacking, about to begin in London, will last six months, lawyers say.
The large number of witnesses -- more than 100 -- scheduled to testify in the criminal case against Brooks and seven other defendants associated with Rupert Murdoch's media empire will likely stretch the jury trial until late April, prosecution and defense lawyers say.
Brooks, the former head of Murdoch's News International division -- and before that the youngest editor of the now-defunct British Sunday tabloid News of the World -- and the other indicted newspaper employees are accused of engaging in phone hacking and police bribery and exercising improper influence of public officials in the pursuit of news stories.
Murdoch ended up closing the newspaper July 10, 2011, in an effort to stem the scandal, but also because of advertiser boycotts. Sustained public pressure prompted his News Corp. three days later to cancel its proposed takeover of British telecommunications company British Sky Broadcasting Group PLC.
The other key defendants in the phone-hacking trial include Brooks' racehorse-trainer husband Charlie Brooks and Prime Minister David Cameron's former communications director, Andy Coulson.
Additional defendants are former News of the World Managing Editor Stuart Kuttner, News Editor Ian Edmondson, former Rebekah Brooks secretary Cheryl Carter, former News International Security Director Mark Hanna and former News of the World royal correspondent Clive Goodman.
Brooks, 45, who resigned from News International in July 2011, faces five charges of criminal wrongdoing, including of count of conspiracy to intercept cellphone voice mail messages and two charges of conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office.
She faces two charges of perverting the course of justice, once with Carter and once with her husband and Hanna.
Perverting the course of justice involves fabricating or disposing of evidence.
Coulson, 45, who quit working for Cameron in January 2011, is accused with Edmondson and Kuttner of conspiring to intercept cellphone voice mails. He also faces two charges with Goodman of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office.
All eight defendants have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
More than two-dozen prosecution and defense lawyers are involved in the case, being tried in London's Central Criminal Court, known as Old Bailey because of the street where it's located.
The case is the first of four trials involving newspaper journalists and others linked to the News of the World or The Sun, Murdoch's tabloid daily, following a Metropolitan Police Service investigation into allegations of phone hacking at the tabloids and two other Scotland Yard investigations that started after the News of the World was shut down.
Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
[ Back To Technology News's Homepage ]