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Andy Coulson to face retrial over bribery allegations

DAVID CAMERON’S former adviser Andy Coulson was told yesterday he was to face retrial for misconduct in public office after allegedly bribing policemen for information.

The one-time editor of the disgraced News of the World (NotW) newspaper Mr Coulson is in court awaiting sentencing after the jury found him guilty of plotting to hack phones between 2000 and 2006.

The jury at the Old Bailey could not decide last week whether Mr Coulson was liable for paying police officers for royal directories.

But the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced yesterday that it will seek further prosecution.

“The CPS has taken the position to proceed with the retrial,” said prosecution leader Andrew Edis QC.

Campaigners saw the decision as an opportunity to unveil the true scale of the hacking scandal.

“Corruption in British policing has been endemic for many decades,” said civil liberties group JusticeNow director Michael Doherty.

“Add to this a culture of cover-up by organisations such as the police watchdog ‘the anything but’ Independent Police Complaints Commission and we have a recipe for repeated injustice.”

In a similar vein, Mr Edis accused Mr Coulson of being part of an “utterly corrupted” team at NotW.

Unlike previously suggested by the newspaper, the phone tapping was not down to a single “rogue reporter,” but “this was systemic misconduct approved and participated in by the editor himself.”

Facing a retrial with Mr Coulson will be former NotW royal editor Clive Goodman.

Mr Goodman of Addlestone, Surrey, pleaded guilty to phone hacking in 2006 but does not face any further legal action, despite admitting his activities were more extensive than he had previously said.

Mr Coulson was employed by Downing Street at Mr Cameron’s request after reports of the hacking scandal began to break.

The insatiable nature of hacking was such that Mr Coulson was said to have fallen prey of his own scheme, having his phone tapped and his private conversations exposed.

He is now to pay over £1.5 million for court costs and an additional £750,000 in other legal expenses.

Mr Coulson faces up to two years in jail for phone hacking.

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