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
Denny Miller in 1959 remake of Tarzan, the Ape Man
people
Arts and Entertainment
Cheryl despairs during the arena auditions
tvX Factor review: Drama as Cheryl and Simon spar over girl band

News
Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
news
News
i100Exclusive interview with the British analyst who helped expose Bashar al-Assad's use of Sarin gas
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Angel Di Maria celebrates his first goal for Manchester United against QPR
Football4-0 victory is team's first win under new manager Louis van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
art
News
newsIn short, yes
Arts and Entertainment
Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script
tv'Thomas comes right up to the abyss', says the actor
Arts and Entertainment
Calvin Harris claimed the top spot in this week's single charts
music
Sport
BoxingVideo: The incident happened in the very same ring as Tyson-Holyfield II 17 years ago
News
Groundskeeper Willie has backed Scottish independence in a new video
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor poses the question of whether we are every truly alone in 'Listen'
tvReview: Possibly Steven Moffat's most terrifying episode to date
News
i100
Life and Style
Cara Delevigne at the TopShop Unique show during London Fashion Week
fashion
News
The life-sized tribute to Amy Winehouse was designed by Scott Eaton and was erected at the Stables Market in Camden
peopleBut quite what the singer would have made of her new statue...
Sport
England's Andy Sullivan poses with his trophy and an astronaut after winning a trip to space
sport
News
peopleThe actress has agreed to host the Met Gala Ball - but not until 2015
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week
The fall of Rome? Cash-strapped Italy accused of selling its soul to the highest bidder

The fall of Rome?

Italy's fears that corporate-sponsored restoration projects will lead to the Disneyfication of its cultural heritage
Glasgow girl made good

Glasgow girl made good

Kelly Macdonald was a waitress when she made Trainspotting. Now she’s taking Manhattan
Sequins ahoy as Strictly Come Dancing takes to the floor once more

Sequins ahoy as Strictly takes to the floor once more

Judy Murray, Frankie Bridge and co paired with dance partners
Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Alexander Wang pumps it up at New York Fashion Week
The landscape of my imagination

The landscape of my imagination

Author Kate Mosse on the place that taught her to tell stories