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Coulson accused over Sheridan trial

PRIME Minister David Cameron's former director of communications has been accused of committing perjury in the trial of former MSP Tommy Sheridan.

ANDY COULSON: It is alleged he knew about phone hacking and made falser claims during the Sheridan trial.
ANDY COULSON: It is alleged he knew about phone hacking and made falser claims during the Sheridan trial.

Andy Coulson, a former editor of the News Of The World, did not appear in person for the hearing yesterday at the High Court in Glasgow.

It is alleged Coulson, 46, made false claims on December 9 and 10, 2010 while under oath as a witness at the trial of Sheridan and his wife Gail.

The indictment alleges Coulson falsely testified under oath that before the arrest of private investigator Glenn Mulcaire and News Of The World journalist Clive Goodman on August 8, 2006 he did not know Goodman was involved in phone hacking, and did so together with Mulcaire.

It claims Coulson falsely said he had not heard of Mulcaire and did not know Goodman made payments to him. It also alleges Coulson said he was not aware of a culture of phone hacking at the paper, apart from a "very unfortunate case" involving Goodman.

According to the indictment, Coulson was aware of a number of instances of phone hacking at the paper between April 1, 2002 and August 8, 2006 while he was editor and acting editor. These involved murder victim Milly Dowler, actor Daniel Craig and journalist Kimberley Quinn or Fortier.

It also claims that between December 1, 2002 and January 26, 2007, while editor and deputy editor, Coulson understood payments had been made to corrupt police officers by Goodman.

The payments included £750 in or around December 2002, £1,000 in or around January 2003, and £1,000 in or around June 2005.

These were made to procure a "green book" or other similar directories containing information, including telephone numbers relating to the Royal Family and their staff, the indictment states.

Prosecutors allege that between October 10, 2005 and August 8, 2006 Coulson had heard of Mulcaire, who as well as being a private investigator was contracted to the newspaper. They allege he knew Goodman was involved in phone hacking and did so together with Mulcaire.

It is claimed Coulson knew Goodman made payments to Mulcaire of £500 a week until February 2006, followed by payments amounting to £4,800.

The prosecution also alleges Coulson knew Mulcaire was employed by the paper and had e-mail exchanges about him with Goodman.

No pleas were entered. Another hearing was set for October.

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