Andy Coulson denied he ordered the News of the World’s former royal editor to plead guilty during the 2006 expose of phone hacking and claimed it was “shocking” that police ended up on the newsroom floor, the hacking trial at the Old Bailey has heard.
Mr Coulson, the former editor of the now-closed News International tabloid, also denied he was involved in a cover-up that sought to limit the damage from phone hacking to Rupert Murdoch’s UK print company
On the fifth day of defence evidence, Mr Coulson said that although he did not “volunteer information” to Scotland Yard after the arrest of royal editor Clive Goodman and the paper’s regularly commissioned private investigator, Glenn Mulcaire, he said that had not put barriers in the way of the police investigation.
“I did not cover up anything” Mr Coulson told the jury, adding that he took the view that “the police should go where the police should go.”
His decision not to “volunteer” information was, he said, because did not want to make the situation “worse”, the jury was told.
Mr Coulson, 46, who later headed David Cameron’s communications office in Downing Street, told the court he called Rupert Murdoch, the global boss of News Corporation, to tell him of Goodman's arrest.
Mr Coulson said that as details of the Goodman arrest emerged he spoke to a News International lawyer about the charges. “Nobody knew voicemail interception was illegal and I remember him explaining that.” He said his understanding from that time, was that the legislation that was there “to help catch terrorists.”
Questioned by his defence counsel, Timothy Langdale QC, Mr Coulson was asked if he had launched an internal investigation inside the NOTW to find out further details about hacking. He told the court “ Rightly or wrongly, I thought that was not for me to do. That was for the police to handle.”
The jury has previously heard that both Goodman and Mulcaire were jailed in 2007 on hacking-related charges. Mulcaire has pleaded guilty to further hacking charges earlier in the trial's proceedings.
Mr Coulson is one of seven defendants in the hacking trial. They deny all the charges against them.