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Hacking Trial: Former News Corp U.K. Newspaper Top Exec Andy Coulson Bites Back (Report)

Phone Hacking
Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images
Andy Coulson

The former "News of the World" editor's counsel tells the London court he did not commit the offenses he is charged with and warned the jury about prejudicial reporting prior to the trial.

LONDON – Andy Coulson, the former News of the World editor, "was never part of an agreement to hack phones -- no matter what others were doing on his watch," according to reports across the British media.

Coulson's counsel in the U.K. phone hacking trial here countered claims made during the prosecution's opening statement, which came to an end Monday lunchtime.

According to a report carried by BBC News and The Guardian, Coulson's counsel Timothy Langdale said Coulson wished he had made some "different decisions" but "he did not commit these offenses."

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Coulson denies conspiracy to phone hack and also denies conspiracy to commit misconduct and is among eight defendants, including former News International top executive Rebekah Brooks, who all deny the range of charges against them.

Langdale, making his opening defense remarks -- which he is reported to have referred to as a "relatively uncommon procedure" -- said his client would be taking to the witness box later in the trial to give evidence about "the fast-moving world of Sunday tabloid journalism -- a fiercely competitive world."

Coulson's job was "not to know about every story during the week," adding there were "many thousands of pieces of information, many of which never got in the paper at all."

His 20-minute presentation to the jury was unusual, Langdale said, and he was not setting out Coulson's case.

Langdale said the case had "an unusual history" and "the trial itself will be unusually long."