The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced that a number of Rupert Murdochs’ top former aides would be charged with criminal offences, with a raft of former news editors and reporters on the now defunct Sunday newspaper facing court.
Coulson, prime minister David Cameron’s former communications director, and Brooks, who appears to have had a close friendship with Cameron, will answer charges brought in connection with the hacking of murdered school girl Milly Dowler’s phone.
The CPS will bring a total of 19 charges, and claim that 600 people in total were victims, including politicians and celebrities.
Glenn Mulcaire, the paper’s private detective, will also face charges in relation to victims including TV cook Delia Smith.
Coulson is being charged with conspiring to hack the phones of Milly Dowler, Calum Best, Charles Clarke and David Blunkett.
Brooks, who stood down as News International’s chief executive in the wake of the phone hacking scandal, is being charged with conspiring to hack the phones of Milly Dowler and the former Fire Brigades Union leader Andrew Gilchrist.
The CPS’s senior lawyer Alison Levitt said at a press conference in London: “All, with the exception of Glenn Mulcaire, will be charged with conspiring to intercept communications without lawful authority, from 3 October 2000 to 9 August 2006. The communications in question are the voicemail messages of well-known people and / or those associated with them. There is a schedule containing the names of over 600 people whom the prosecution will say are the victims of this offence.”