Jury discharged as police seek 'to question Rupert Murdoch'

Jun 25, 2014

Jury fails to reach verdict on remaining charges against Andy Coulson and Clive Goodman

Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

The jury in the phone-hacking trial has been dismissed after failing to reach verdicts the remaining charges against Andy Coulson and Clive Goodman, hours after reports emerged that Scotland Yard detectives want to interview Rupert Murdoch as a suspect in their investigation into alleged criminal activity at his UK newspapers.

The media mogul was reportedly contacted by police last year, but his lawyers requested they delay the interview until after the phone-hacking trial.

Nick Davies, Guardian journalist and author of Flat Earth News, says the interview is expected to take place in the "near future" in the UK and will be conducted under caution.

Murdoch's son James, former executive chairman of News International in the UK, may also be questioned, says Davies.

Yesterday former News of the World editor Andy Coulson was found guilty at the Old Bailey of conspiring to hack phones. Murdoch's former UK chief executive Rebekah Brooks was acquitted on all charges.

This lunchtime, the jury said it had failed to reach a verdict on the charge that Coulson and Goodman conspired to commit misconduct in public office. The BBC reports that a decision on any retrial will be taken on Monday.

Coulson's conviction on the phone-hacking charge leaves Murdoch's UK company open to a possible corporate charge, which could lead to the prosecution of members of its former board of directors, potentially including Rupert and James Murdoch, says Davies.

It also raises difficult questions for Prime Minister David Cameron who hired him as his communications chief after he resigned from News of the World.

A total of 20 current and former journalists from The Sun and News of the World are still due to go on trial at the Old Bailey. They have denied the various charges against them, which include making illegal payments to public officials, conspiring to intercept voicemail and accessing data on stolen mobile phones.

In Scotland, Coulson and two other News of the World journalists face trials on charges of perjury, phone hacking and breach of data protection laws. They have also denied the charges.

Meanwhile, in the high court Murdoch's UK company has settled and paid damages to some 718 victims of phone hacking by private investigator Glenn Mulcaire. This included celebrities such as Jude Law, Sadie Frost and Ashley Cole, politicians David Blunkett and Tessa Jowell, and victims of crime such as the family of Milly Dowler.

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If there is any justice on this particular planet before he faces court, he'll be dead and buried with a necklace of garlic, a stake through where his heart ought to have been and his ugly head burned separately.