Coulson and Brooks facing charges

First published in National News © by

David Cameron's former spin doctor Andy Coulson is facing charges linked to alleged bribery to get information that included contact details for members of the royal family.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced that five people including Coulson and former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks are accused as part of the investigation into alleged corrupt payments to public officials.

Coulson and ex-News of the World (NOTW) royal correspondent Clive Goodman are charged with conspiracy to pay for information including a royal phone directory known as the "Green Book". It contained contact details for the royal family and members of the household.

Brooks and former Sun chief reporter John Kay are charged with conspiring to pay Ministry of Defence employee Bettina Jordan-Barber around £100,000 for information.

Coulson, who was editor of the NOTW, denied any wrongdoing. He said: "I am extremely disappointed by this latest CPS decision. I deny the allegations made against me and will fight the charges in court."

Coulson, 44, and Goodman 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.

They relate to the alleged request and authorisation of payments to public officials in exchange for information, including the royal contacts.

Asked about the charges during a visit to Northern Ireland, Mr Cameron said he had expressed "regret" on many occasions regarding the issue. He said: "I have also said very clearly that we should allow the police and the prosecuting authorities to follow the evidence wherever it may lead and I think that is very, very important."

Brooks, Kay and Jordan-Barber face one count of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office between January 1, 2004, and January 31 this year. That relates to allegations that Jordan-Barber was paid to provide information to the Sun newspaper.

Later, Scotland Yard said that Coulson, who now lives in Preston in Kent, had answered bail and was charged with the two counts. He will also appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on November 29.

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