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November 29, 2012 11:22 am
Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive of News International and Andy Coulson, the prime minister’s former communications director, appeared in court on Thursday to face allegations of conspiring to commit misconduct in public office.
The two arrived at Westminster magistrates’ court just hours before Lord Justice Leveson unveils his report on the future of press regulation following the phone-hacking scandal.
Mr Coulson and Ms Brooks already face separate allegations relating to phone hacking, with Ms Brooks facing further charges of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
In a brief appearance before Chief Magistrate Howard Riddle, Ms Brooks stood in the dock alongside John Kay, The Sun’s chief reporter and Bettina Jordan Barber, a senior official at the Ministry of Defence, as the charge was read to the court. The three face one count of conspiracy allegedly relating to information for news stories published by The Sun newspaper.
Ms Brooks, dressed in a black jacket and light brown cropped trousers, spoke only to confirm her name and address, as did the two other defendants. Judge Riddle transferred the case to Southwark Crown Court on December 6. Reporting restrictions were not lifted.
Straight after they left the courtroom following the short hearing, Mr Coulson a former editor of News of the World, took his place in the dock alongside Clive Goodman, the defunct tabloid’s former royal reporter charged with conspiring to commit misconduct in public office. The allegations related to payments in exchange for information.
The two men confirmed their names and addresses as the judge also transferred their case to Southwark for a hearing on December 6. Mr Coulson this week won a battle in the Court of Appeal to have his legal bills paid by News International.
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