Dark day for Andy Coulson and Co as wheels of justice begin to turn

Yesterday, the 'News of the World Seven' had their first day in court. Andy McSmith was there

Andy Coulson, David Cameron's former spin doctor, was among seven former News of the World employees who saw their normal roles reversed yesterday as they sat together behind a glass panel in Westminster Magistrates' Court.

The veteran editors and reporters will have watched dozens of court cases in their long careers, but always from the press benches. Yesterday the six journalists, together with the private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, were in the dock, being stared at by a huge, curious throng of members of their old profession.

The prosecutor said the six journalists were accused of conspiring to hack the phones of as many as 600 people. In addition to the general charge of conspiracy, Coulson, a former editor of the now defunct News of the World, is also accused of being implicated in targeting the phones of the murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, the former Labour Cabinet ministers David Blunkett and Charles Clarke, and the footballer George Best's son Calum.

Unlike the six journalists, Mulcaire, who worked for the News of the World on a freelance basis, was not accused of being part of a general conspiracy, but faces four individual charges, including the alleged hacking of Milly Dowler's phone. Mulcaire was the last defendant to enter the courtroom, and sat as far apart from the journalists as the limited space allowed. Coulson, in the middle of the front row, was dressed smartly in a grey suit, white shirt and black tie. Several times during the hearing he cast an impassive eye across the ranks of reporters.

He was placed between the News of the World's former managing editor, Stuart Kuttner, and the former head of news, Ian Edmondson. Former reporters Neville Thurlbeck and James Weatherup were on the ends of the front row. The former news editor Greg Miskiw, the only defendant not wearing a tie, was in the row behind.

They spoke only to confirm their names and addresses, but what might have been a very brief court appearance became substantially longer when Westminster's deputy chief magistrate, Daphne Wickham, decided that the full list of charges should be read out.

The list – so long that it took a clerk a full 20 minutes to get through it – was studded with famous names of alleged hacking targets, including four Cabinet ministers from the Tony Blair years – Mr Blunkett, Mr Clarke, Tessa Jowell and John Prescott – the fire brigade union leader Andy Gilchrist, the former Liberal Democrat MP Mark Oaten, as well as such household names as Jude Law, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Sir Paul McCartney, Heather Mills, Sven-Goran Eriksson, Wayne Rooney and Delia Smith.

Although none of the defendants is accused of hacking everyone on that list, each is accused of targeting some of them.

The defendants sat impassively through this litany, except for 72-year-old Stuart Kuttner, a News of the World journalist for more than 30 years, who shook his head repeatedly when the three charges against him were read.

The name of News International's former chief executive, Rebekah Brooks, also cropped up in the indictment. She is due to appear at a separate hearing on 3 September. Coulson and his fellow defendants were bailed to appear at Southwark Crown Court on 26 September.

News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
News
i100
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride