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Cameron ex-aide to stand trial again

London, June 30 (Reuters): British Prime Minister David Cameron’s ex-media chief Andy Coulson, found guilty last week over phone-hacking while editing a Rupert Murdoch tabloid, will stand trial for a second time over alleged illegal payments, prosecutors said today.

Coulson was convicted by a jury of being complicit in widespread tapping of voicemails by journalists at Murdoch’s now defunct News of the World Sunday tabloid following an eight-month trial at London’s Old Bailey.

However, the jury was unable to reach a verdict on whether Coulson and the paper’s former royal editor, Clive Goodman, were guilty of making illegal payments to a police officer to obtain telephone directories for Britain’s royal family. They denied the accusations.

Rebekah Brooks, the ex-chief executive of News Corp’s British newspaper arm News International who was also tried over phone-hacking allegations and other crimes, was cleared on all charges.

The announcement of the re-trial was made as Coulson and three other senior journalists, who ran the tabloid's news desk and have admitted their role in phone-hacking, appeared in court for a sentencing hearing.

“For a period of years there was industrial-scale phone-hacking at the News of the World,” prosecutor Andrew Edis said. “These defendants utterly corrupted that newspaper which became at the very highest level a thoroughly criminal enterprise.”

Entertainer guilty

Rolf Harris, a mainstay of family entertainment in Britain for more than 50 years, was found guilty today on 12 charges of indecently assaulting young girls over two decades. Harris, 84, was unanimously convicted by a jury of six men and six women of sexually assaulting four girls, some as young as seven or eight, between 1968 and 1986.

 
 
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