Hacking Trial: Judge Finishes Case Summary, Jury to Mull Verdicts
LONDON – The judge in the phone hacking trial here on Wednesday afternoon wrapped up his case summary, with the jury now set to start deliberations.
The 11-person jury will have to decide on charges of hacking into cell phones to retrieve voice messages, bribing public officials and a conspiracy to "pervert the course of justice." The seven defendants, charges against whom differ, include former News of the World editors Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson and Brooks' husband Charlie.
The trial started in October.
Judge John Saunders had last Wednesday started summarizing key parts of the testimony and key arguments by the prosecution and defense. The summarizing is a key part of the procedure in the English court system.
The jury includes eight women and three men after one juror was discharged in March for health reasons.
Sending off the jury Wednesday at 3:35 p.m. local time so that it could start its process of reaching verdicts, Saunders said: "You are under no pressure of time." He said the jury would start their deliberation days at 10 a.m. and could go until 6 p.m., or 4:30 p.m. on Fridays, but could opt to end a day earlier. "Do not underestimate how tired you will feel working through this case," he told the jurors.
He also told them they would have to try and "act as a unit" to reach unanimous decisions on the various counts. Under British law, the judge could end up telling the jury to go for a majority verdict somewhere down the line if it can't reach unanimous decisions.
Saunders also reminded the jury to forget "everything you have heard outside of court" and only reach a verdict based on evidence presented in court.
"It's been a privilege to have worked with you," he said in sending off the jury.