Ex-Murdoch editor Coulson not party to hacking, court hears

Reuters

LONDON, Nov 4 (Reuters) - British Prime Minister DavidCameron's former media chief Andy Coulson, on trial accused ofphone-hacking offences, admits things went wrong under hiseditorship of Rupert Murdoch's News of the World but did notcommit any crimes, his lawyer said on Monday.

Coulson, who was Cameron's head of communications until2011, was never party to any phone-hacking, lawyer TimothyLangdale told the jury at the Old Bailey, England's centralcriminal court.

"He wished he had made some different decisions and althoughhe might wish he had made some different decisions he did notcommit these offences," Langdale said.

Coulson is accused of conspiracy to hack phones andconspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office byauthorising payment to a police officer for telephonedirectories of members of Britain's royal household.

He is on trial with Rebekah Brooks, the former head ofMurdoch's British newspaper arm News International, and sixothers.

Langdale said it was unusual for the defence to make astatement before the prosecution produced its evidence but hesaid Coulson's team thought there were good reasons to do so.

He said Coulson's role at the News of the World wasfar-reaching and that he could not be expected to know aboutevery story in the paper.

Coulson, he added, had also had his phone hacked by GlennMulcaire, who worked for the News of the World.

"Both a conspirator and victim at the same time? The twothings do not sit easily together do they," he told the jury.

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