Hacking Trial: Jury Discharged After Failing to Reach Verdict on Two Counts

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UPDATED: The charges against Andy Coulson and the former "News of the World" royal editor focused on alleged payments to public officials for royal phone directories‎.

LONDON – The jury in the phone hacking trial on Wednesday was discharged after failing to reach a verdict on two bribery charges against former News of the World editor Andy Coulson and the shuttered tabloid's former ‎royal editor Clive Goodman.

The two counts focused on alleged payments to public officials for royal phone directories‎. The judge told the court that the prosecution would decide by Monday whether to pursue a retrial, The Guardian and other U.K. media reported.

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The news came a day afte‎r the 11-person jury had found Coulson guilty on a count of a conspiracy to hack phones. The jury had cleared former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks and four others of all charges against them. The charges against Brooks focused on suggestions of a hacking conspiracy, a conspiracy to "pervert the course of justice" and bribery. The four other defendants cleared were charged with conspiring to pervert the course of justice.

The jury on Tuesday didn't reach a verdict on the two bribery counts against Coulson and Goodman, meaning it had to continue deliberations on them.

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"Thank you for trying," the judge told the jury, according to The Guardian. "We accept you have done as much as you can to reach verdicts, so I am going to discharge you from giving verdicts."

He also said that he would sentence Coulson on the one phone-hacking count next week Friday, the paper said.

E-mail: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai