* Former Murdoch editor Coulson denies hacking charges
* His lawyer says prosecution case has been cavalier
* Coulson worked as PM Cameron's media chief
By Michael Holden
LONDON, May 28 The prosecution of Andy Coulson,
British Prime Minister David Cameron's former media chief, over
phone-hacking at Rupert Murdoch's News of the World tabloid has
been cavalier and unfair, his lawyer told a London court on
The jury at London's Old Bailey court, where Coulson and six
others are on trial, must not think a senior figure at Murdoch's
company had to be held to blame for the scandal which engulfed
the media mogul's empire in July 2011, said Coulson's lawyer
Coulson, who edited the News of the World before moving on
to work for Cameron's Conservative Party, denies charges of
conspiracy to intercept voicemails on mobile phones and
authorising illegal payments to public officials.
He quit the Murdoch tabloid in 2007 after Clive Goodman, its
former royal editor, was jailed for hacking phones of royal
aides, saying he was ignorant of what had happened but took
News International, the British newspaper arm of News Corp.
, said Goodman was a rogue reporter but further evidence
emerged in 2011 that the practice was more widespread with
victims including a murdered schoolgirl, leading to a furore
which prompted Murdoch to shut the 168-year-old paper.
Police also relaunched an inquiry which led to Coulson's
arrest and three former journalists admitting hacking offences.
In his closing speech to the trial, which began exactly
seven months ago, Coulson's lawyer said the case which had
attracted huge public interest and scrutiny should be "fair,
open-minded but rigorous".
"We suggest as far as Mr Coulson is concerned it has been
none of those," Langdale said. "It's almost as if the juggernaut
of the police investigation and this prosecution must keep
moving whatever legitimate obstacles are thrown in its path.
"There must be no thought ... that somebody high up in the
organisation has to pay for phone-hacking, no thought that after
a trial of this length and magnitude there must be a conviction
Goodman and Dan Evans, another of the paper's former
reporters who has admitted hacking, have told the trial that
there was hacking on an industrial scale under Coulson's
editorship and he was fully complicit.
Langdale said there was no evidence for such claims or any
suggestion Coulson knew about hacking, describing Evans and
Goodman, who was sitting next to Coulson in the dock, as
"Both have been demonstrated to be liars," he told the jury.
"A notable factor of this case is the prosecution has failed
to call before you a single witness to testify that Andy Coulson
was involved in phone-hacking at the News of the World who does
not have an agenda of their own."
He said an email, held up by the prosecution as a hacking
instruction, in which Coulson told a senior employee to "do his
phone" was a misconception and there was no evidence to suggest
any phone interception followed.
"Why are there no emails requesting hacking or sanctioning
hacking or anything of the kind?" Langdale said. "The
prosecution approach we suggest has too often been broad-brush
not to say cavalier."
Coulson, Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive of News
International, and the paper's ex-managing editor all deny
Coulson, Brooks and Goodman have pleaded not guilty to
charges relating to illegal payments, and Brooks and three
others deny trying to hinder the police investigation. The trial
(Editing by Kate Holton)