LONDON, March 17 (Reuters) - A juror was discharged on Monday from the phone-hacking trial of two editors of Rupert Murdoch’s now defunct British tabloid, the News of the World, after becoming too unwell to continue.
Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive of News Corp.’s British newspaper arm, and Andy Coulson, who later became Prime Minister David Cameron’s media chief, are on trial at London’s Old Bailey court accused of phone-hacking and other charges.
They deny all wrongdoing and have been on trial with five others since last October.
Judge John Saunders told the court on Monday that the juror was not fit to continue serving, saying there had been a personal incident last week which had “upset her greatly”.
“It transpires that she’s not well enough to carry on so I have discharged her from giving a verdict. It’s absolutely vital that we do not lose any more jurors,” said Saunders, joking that the remaining 11 jurors should avoid anyone who was sick.
“It’s a very serious matter to lose a juror. It’s important particularly in a long case like this. We do not lose jurors unless it’s absolutely essential.”
The trial resumed on Monday with evidence from Clive Goodman, who was jailed in 2007 for illegally accessing the voicemails of mobile phones belonging to senior aides to Britain’s royal family.
Goodman is now accused with Coulson over alleged illegal payments made to police officers in return for telephone directories of the royal household.
He told the jury that the three directories over which he is charged were given to him by sources whose real names he did not know but worked on newspapers.
He said he made up the names “Farish” and “Anderson” who documents show were paid cash for the directories and who prosecutors claim were serving police officers.
The court heard Goodman had had dozens of sources ranging from those working with the royals to members of the royal family themselves.
Last week, he said the late Princess Diana had passed one phonebook to him to get back at her estranged husband, the heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles.
He said it was “very risky” for anyone in the royal household to pass him information as they could go from a “position of some comfort to complete ruin”.
The trial continues.