Former Number 10 spin doctor Andy Coulson and ex-News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks have arrived at court for the first day of their trial over charges linked to phone hacking and alleged corrupt payments to public officials.
They each faced a throng of journalists as arrived at the Old Bailey, where it is expected that jury selection could take place for the trial that may last up to six months.
Brooks, 45, of Churchill, Oxfordshire, and Coulson, 45, from Preston in Kent, are both accused of conspiracy to intercept communications in the course of their transmission.
They are accused of conspiring with former News of the World (NOTW) head of news Ian Edmondson, 44, from Raynes Park, south-west London, the tabloid’s ex-managing editor Stuart Kuttner, 73, from Woodford Green, Essex, and others to illegally access voicemails between October 3 2000 and August 9 2006.
Ex-NOTW and Sun editor Brooks is also charged with two counts of conspiring with others to commit misconduct in public office, one between January 1 2004 and January 31 2012 and the other between February 9 2006 and October 16 2008, linked to alleged inappropriate payments to public officials.
She faces another two allegations of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice – one with her former personal assistant Cheryl Carter, 49, from Chelmsford in Essex, between July 6 and 9 2011.
It is alleged that they conspired to remove seven boxes of material from the News International archive.
The second count alleges that Brooks, her husband Charles Brooks and former head of security at News International Mark Hanna conspired together and with others between July 15 and July 19 2011 to pervert the course of justice.
It is claimed that they tried to conceal documents, computers and other electronic equipment from police officers who were investigating allegations of phone hacking and corruption of public officials in relation to the News of the World and The Sun newspapers.
Former Number 10 spin doctor and ex-NOTW editor Coulson is also facing two allegations that he conspired with the tabloid’s former royal editor Clive Goodman, 56, from Addlestone in Surrey, and persons unknown to commit misconduct in public office – one between August 31 2002 and January 31 2003; and the other between January 31 and June 3 2005.
It is expected that the prosecution will open later in the week.