Phone hacking: British jurors discharged as Andy Coulson`s trial ends

The trial of British Prime Minister David Cameron`s former communications chief Andy Coulson ended Wednesday as the jury failed to reach majority verdict on two remaining counts that he conspired to commit misconduct in public office by paying public officials for royal phone books.

IANS| Last Updated: Jun 25, 2014, 23:56 PM IST

London: The trial of British Prime Minister David Cameron`s former communications chief Andy Coulson ended Wednesday as the jury failed to reach majority verdict on two remaining counts that he conspired to commit misconduct in public office by paying public officials for royal phone books.

The judge said the Crown Prosecution Service would decide by Monday whether it wanted a retrial on the two charges, the Guardian reported.

But the judges also complained about the British prime minister`s apology in the case.

Coulson, who worked as Prime Minister Cameron`s former director of communications, was Tuesday found guilty of conspiring to hack phones.

Justice Saunders formally discharged the jury at around 12.30 p.m. on the ninth day of their deliberations in relation to the two charges, also faced by the News of the World`s former royal editor Clive Goodman.

Saunders told the jury: "Thank you for trying. We accept you have done as much as you can to reach verdicts, so I am going to discharge you from giving verdicts, so your service is at an end."

Both Coulson and Goodman deny the charges.

Earlier, Justice Saunders complained about Cameron`s decision to issue a "full and frank" apology for employing Coulson before the jury had completed its work.

The judge said Cameron`s intervention immediately after the jury found Coulson guilty of hacking charges caused him great concern.

"I don`t know whether it`s been done in ignorance or been done deliberately.

"I consider that what has happened is unsatisfactory so far as justice and the rule of law are concerned."

The judge was asked to discharge the jury by Coulson`s lawyer who accused Cameron, Leader of the Labour Party Ed Miliband and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne of putting their political interests ahead of justice.

Meanwhile, No. 10 Downing Street, the British prime minister`s office, said the prime minister had spoken after the verdict had been given in open court and was only speaking about the hacking conspiracy verdict and not other charges against Coulson.

The British prime minister`s office said Cameron made his statement after receiving legal advice.

Charges against Coulson and Goodman about allegedly purchasing royal phone books were brought after Scotland Yard was handed e-mails from their former employer, News International, in which the royal reporter requested 1,000 pounds for "a rare and just printed palace staff phone book" from "a palace cop".

The first charge related to directories known as green books, issued in 2002, which contained contact numbers for royal staff and senior members of the household.

Detectives found 15 confidential royal phone books in a police search of Goodman`s home in 2005.

Coulson will be sentenced Friday next week on the phone-hacking charge.