National News

Deadlocked phone-hacking jury discharged by judge

Andy Coulson, former News of the World editor, arrives at the Central Criminal Court in London, Wednesday, June 25, 2014. Coulson was convicted of phone hacking Tuesday, but fellow editor Rebekah Brooks was acquitted after a monthslong trial centering on illegal activity at the heart of Rupert Murdoch
Andy Coulson, former News of the World editor, arrives at the Central Criminal Court in London, Wednesday, June 25, 2014. Coulson was convicted of phone hacking Tuesday, but fellow editor Rebekah Brooks was acquitted after a monthslong trial centering on illegal activity at the heart of Rupert Murdoch's newspaper empire. A jury at London's Old Bailey unanimously found Coulson, the former spin doctor of British Prime Minister David Cameron, guilty of conspiring to intercept communications. The nearly eight-month trial was triggered by revelations that for years the News of the World used illegal eavesdropping to get stories, listening in on the voicemails of celebrities, politicians and even crime victims. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
— image credit:

By Jill Lawless, The Associated Press

LONDON - A judge on Wednesday dismissed the jury at Britain's phone-hacking trial after it failed to reach a verdict on two final counts, having convicted a former editor of hacking a day earlier.

Judge John Saunders ended the trial after jurors said they could not agree whether former News of the World editor Andy Coulson and ex-royal editor Clive Goodman were guilty of paying police officers for royal phone directories.

On Tuesday the jury unanimously convicted Coulson of conspiring to hack phones. Ex-editor Rebekah Brooks and four others were acquitted.

Prosecutors said they would announce on Monday whether they would seek a retrial.

Coulson, who served as Prime Minister David Cameron's spin doctor between 2007 and 2011, faces up to two years in jail on the hacking charge.

The jury of eight women and three men deliberated for eight days, after a trial lasting almost eight months that drew intense interest from around the world.

Saunders told the 11 jurors that the country owed them "a great debt of gratitude," and exempted them from further jury service for life.

The trial — one of the longest and most expensive in British history — was triggered by revelations that the Rupert Murdoch-owned News of the World had routinely eavesdropped on the voicemails of politicians, celebrities and others in the public eye.

Coulson's lawyers repeatedly sought to have the case dismissed, arguing that their client could not receive a fair trial given the vast amount of comment and speculation about the case.

Their latest attempt came Wednesday, after Prime Minister David Cameron made a televised apology for hiring Coulson.

Saunders said he wrote to Cameron's private secretary seeking an explanation "as to why he had issued his statement when the jury were still considering verdicts."

The judge did not throw out the case but said it was "unsatisfactory so far as justice and the rule of law are concerned ... when politicians regard it as open season."

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

Slain soldier rides Highway of Heroes home
 
Alberta stays lucky: couple win $30M lotto jackpot
 
Sweden calls off search for submarine
Ford opts for Mexico for engine plant: Unifor
 
Halifax gun incidents not related: police
 
Raitt defends railway safety self regulation

Community Events, October 2014

Add an Event

Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Oct 24 edition online now. Browse the archives.