Hacking Trial: Andy Coulson Says He Wasn't Aware of Voicemail Interceptions

2:52 PM PST 04/15/2014 by Georg Szalai

The former "News of the World" editor and communications director of‎ British prime minister David Cameron also discusses his affair with Rebekah Brooks.

LONDON – Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson has taken the stand in the phone hacking trial here, telling the jury Tuesday that he wasn't aware that some information in the tabloid was based on intercepted voicemails.

The Guardian reported that the former communications director for British prime minister David Cameron told the jury that he was not aware of hacking in general.

His defense counsel asked him about a story involving a 13-year-old schoolgirl later found to have been murdered. The interception of some of her voicemails was at the center of the outrage surrounding the hacking scandal when it erupted.

Asked how he would have reacted if he had known that someone‎ had accessed voicemail on her phone, Coulson said, according to The Guardian: "My instinctive concern was that this was interference with a police investigation."

Asked about a story in the tabloid that had reported a new development in the police search for her "after messages had been sent to her mobile phone after she vanished," Coulson said that phrase didn't necessarily infer hacking.

"I do not think it is clear," The Guardian quoted him as saying. "I think I might have concluded that it may have come from sources, possibly even police sources."

Coulson first entered the witness box on Monday when he was asked about his six-year on-off affair with former News International CEO Rebekah Brooks.

"It wasn't by any means continual," he told the jury, according to The Guardian. "There were very long periods when the relationship was what it should have been: a friendship, a good friendship."

Added Coulson about his relationship with Brooks: "But I don't want to minimize it or excuse it. It was wrong and shouldn't have happened."

Email: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai

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