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  1. Media Law
May 15, 2015

Perjury trial of former News of the World editor Andy Coulson begins

By PA Mediapoint

Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson (pictured, Reuters) has gone on trial in Scotland accused of committing perjury.

He is accused of lying under oath during the 2010 perjury trial of former MSP Tommy Sheridan.

Coulson, 47, former director of communications for David Cameron, denies the allegation against him.

The trial, at the High Court in Edinburgh, is expected to last four weeks.

Prosecutors allege that Coulson, from Kent, made false claims on 9 and 10 December that year while he was a witness at the trial at the High Court in Glasgow almost four-and-a-half years ago.

The indictment alleges that Coulson falsely stated that before the arrest of private investigator Glenn Mulcaire and News of the World journalist Clive Goodman on 8 August 2006, he did not know that Goodman was involved in phone-hacking, and did so together with Mulcaire.

It claims he falsely said he did not know that payments were made to Mulcaire by Goodman and that he did not know of Mulcaire's "illegal activities".

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It also alleges that Coulson said he did not have any email exchanges with Goodman in relation to Mulcaire.

The Crown further alleges that Coulson falsely stated that he did not know of Mulcaire, had not heard his name, did not know that he was employed by the News of the World newspaper, and did not know that Nine Consultancy was Mulcaire.

It is claimed Coulson falsely said he had no knowledge of payments being made to corrupt police officers by staff of the News of the World while he was employed as an editor there.

Prosecutors allege that between 10 October 2005 and 8 August 2006, Coulson had heard of Mulcaire who, as well as being a private investigator, was contracted to the News of the World.

They allege he knew that Goodman was involved in phone-hacking and knew that he did so together with Mulcaire.

The three-page indictment claims that Coulson knew that Goodman made payments to Mulcaire of £500 a week until February 2006, followed by payments amounting to £4,800.

The prosecution also alleges that Coulson knew that Mulcaire was employed by the News of the World and had email exchanges about him with Goodman, in which Mulcaire was referred to as "Matey".

It is claimed Coulson knew that Nine Consultancy was the business name under which Mulcaire operated and that he knew of Mulcaire's "illegal activities" insofar as they related to phone-hacking.

It is also alleged that between 1 December 2002 and 26 January 2007, while editor and deputy editor of the newspaper, Coulson understood that payments had been made to corrupt police officers by Goodman.

The payments included £750 in or around December 2002, £1,000 around January 2003, and £1,000 around June 2005.

These were made to procure a "green book" or other similar directories containing information including telephone numbers relating to the Royal Family and their staff, the indictment states.

The trial is being held before judge Lord Burns.

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