London: Britain's phone-hacking and bribery scandal was back in the spotlight as former editors of media mogul Rupert Murdoch's News of the World tabloid, Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, appeared in a court here Friday.
Brooks, 44, and Coulson, 45, both former editors of the now-defunct Sunday newspaper, are faced with bribery charges.
Coulson, also a former aide of British Prime Minister David Cameron, is accused of requesting and authorising payments to public officials in exchange for information, including contact details of the royal family.
He is charged alongside Clive Goodman, the former royal correspondent for the News of the World, which was shut down by Murdoch in 2011 amid a wave of public uproar over phone hacking scandal.
Both face two counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office -? one between August 31, 2002 and January 31, 2003, and the other between January 31 and June 3, 2005.
Brooks, a former chief executive of Murdoch's British newspaper unit News International, is also accused of making payments to a public official.
Their cases, adjourned after short hearings at the Old Bailey court in London until next month, have been brought as part of Operation Elveden, Scotland Yard's investigation into alleged inappropriate payments and information leaks.
John Kay, the chief reporter for Murdoch's The Sun tabloid, meanwhile pleaded not guilty Friday to conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.
The bribery inquiry is running alongside investigations into phone-hacking and computer-hacking, sparked by revelations that journalists routinely intercepted voicemails of those in the public eye.
Almost 100 people have been arrested and about 20 charged over the scandal.
In a separate case, a former police officer pleaded guilty to misconduct in public office and in another matter, a public official admitted misconduct in public office.
Policeman Alan Tierney admitted selling information to The Sun newspaper, also owned by Murdoch, about arrests including the case involving Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood.
Prison officer Richard Trunkfield admitted providing the tabloid with information about a prominent prisoner.
In two other separate cases, two officials admitted misconduct in public office.
The court banned the publication of any further details on the ongoing cases.
First Published: Friday, March 8, 2013, 21:03