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British PM sorry after ex-aide guilty in phone-hacking trial

Update: June, 25/2014 - 11:00

LONDON — A jury at London's Old Bailey will on Wednesday consider another count against Andy Coulson, former media chief of British Prime Minister David Cameron, following his earlier conviction for phone-hacking.

Coulson was convicted on Tuesday but one-time Rupert Murdoch aide Rebekah Brooks was acquitted in a dramatic end to the News of the World trial.

The jury will return on Wednesday to consider two counts against Coulson and former colleague Clive Goodman over charges they purchased telephone directories from police.

Cameron on Tuesday issued a sombre televised apology for hiring Coulson, showing how toxic the scandal remains nearly three years after News Corp boss Murdoch was forced to shut down the Sunday tabloid in disgrace.

The jury delivered their verdicts after eight days of deliberations and nearly eight months of detailed evidence in what had been dubbed the "trial of the century."

An emotional Brooks had to be supported by a court nurse after the flame-haired former head of Murdoch's British newspaper wing was acquitted of conspiring to intercept voicemails and of plotting to bribe officials for stories.

But Coulson, her former lover and her successor as editor of News of the World, faces jail following his conviction for phone hacking.

British daily The Guardian, which has been at the centre of exposing the scandal, reported on Tuesday that Scotland Yard now want to interview Murdoch about further allegations of crime at his British newspapers.

The case centred on News of the World's efforts to hack the phones of Britain's royal family, politicians, celebrities and victims of crime, including a murdered schoolgirl and families of people killed in the July 7, 2005 London bombings. During the trial Brooks's lawyers argued that there was "no smoking gun" to link her to the phone hacking and that the evidence was "circumstantial."

Brooks's husband Charlie, a racehorse trainer, and News International director of security Mark Hanna were also cleared of perverting the course of justice by allegedly trying to hide evidence from the police.

Her former personal assistant Cheryl Carter was cleared of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. The paper's retired managing editor Stuart Kuttner was also cleared of conspiracy to hack phones. — AFP

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