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Andy Coulson denies NoW phone hacking charges

Coulson insists he knew nothing about phone hacking at the News of the World and denies taking a pay

Andy Coulson denies NoW phone hacking charges

Andy Coulson, the former editor-in-chief of the News International-owned News of the World, has denied phone hacking charges at the paper.

Coulson, currently the prime minister's chief media adviser, said he did not order reporters to "practise the dark arts" by illegally hacking phones and "blagging" confidential information.

He also denied knowing Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator who is the main accused in the NoW phone-hacking scandal and is serving a jail sentence.

He was giving evidence at the trial of Tommy Sheridan, the former Scottish Socialist party leader, who is accused of lying on oath when he won a £200,000 defamation action against the News of the World in 2006.

Sheridan and his wife claimed that the NoW had wrongly accused him of being a serial adulterer who had visited a sex club and had illicit affairs. They said the paper had deliberately published false and defamatory stories about him and used private detectives as part of a smear campaign.

When asked about payments to for NoW reporter Clive Goodman and Mulcaire, Coulson insisted that these payments were "all for legitimate work. The judge in the Goodman case made it clear that it was a legitimate contract," he added.

Coulson also insisted that he had never taken a pay-off from the newspaper to keep quiet about the phone hacking allegations.