Ian Edmondson declared 'unfit' to face phone-hacking trial

The consensus of opinion of doctors instructed both by the defence and the prosecution is that he is currently unfit, says judge

Former News of the World (NotW) news editor Ian Edmondson is "currently unfit" and will take no further part in the trial over alleged phone hacking at the now-defunct newspaper, a jury has heard.

Edmondson, 44, was accused of conspiring to hack phones between October 3 2000 and August 9 2006 while working at the former tabloid.

Mr Justice Saunders told the jury at the Old Bailey today: "The consensus of opinion of doctors instructed both by the defence and the prosecution is that he is currently unfit."

Edmondson, of Raynes Park, south west London, will be tried by a different jury at a later date, the court heard.

Mr Saunders said: "I have received and read a number of medical reports about the fitness of Mr Edmondson to continue to participate in the current trial.

He added: "It is not anticipated that it will be long before he is fit to continue but it will be several weeks and there can be no guarantee that at the end of that period of time he will be fit.

"Bearing in mind the current estimate of the length of this trial, I do not think it is appropriate to adjourn to wait for his recovery and accordingly I shall discharge you from giving a verdict in his case.

"He will be tried by a different jury at a later date."

Edmondson was charged with conspiring to hack phones along with former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, former NotW editor Andy Coulson and the tabloid's former managing editor Stuart Kuttner.

Former NotW and Sun editor Brooks also faces two counts of conspiring with others to commit misconduct in public office - one between January 1 2004 and January 31 2012, and the other between February 9 2006 and October 16 2008 - linked to alleged inappropriate payments to public officials.

She also faces two allegations of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice - one with her former personal assistant Cheryl Carter, 49, of Chelmsford, Essex, between July 6 and 9 2011, and a second with her husband, Charles Brooks, and former News International head of security Mark Hanna and others between July 15 and July 19 2011.

Coulson is also facing two allegations that he conspired with former NotW royal editor Clive Goodman, 56, from Addlestone in Surrey, and other unknown people to commit misconduct in public office - between August 31 2002 and January 31 2003, and between January 31 and June 3 2005.

PA