Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson face a long wait for phone hacking verdict

The British justice system grinds exceedingly slow and the date set for the Old Bailey trial of Rebekah Brooks (pictured with husband Charlie, also a defendant), Andy Coulson and sundry other News International employees on charges of phone hacking (and other alleged misdemeanours) is September 2013, a whole year from now.

The police have already been investigating these various issues for years so it seems absurd that we should have to wait so long to find out if Brooks & Co actually did it (or some of it).

As ever, the only people to profit will be the legal profession, squadrons of barristers and solicitors, who will all be handsomely paid even before they need to do very much.

At some point the police will be required to hand over the fundamentals of their case to defence lawyers (which they’re not very good at doing) but until then there will be lots of legal conferences and not much else.

Those of the defendants whose legal costs are being subbed by News International (Brooks presumably but not, apparently Coulson) can view this with a degree of equanimity. The others, the vast majority, face financial ruin even if they win their case unless they can swing legal aid (doubtful).

News International owner News Corporation won’t be very pleased either. Costs aside, it delays the day when the Murdochs hope they will be able to put this behind them and maybe even return with a bid for BSkyB.

It also gives the accused lots of time to weigh up their options. One such would be claiming that someone higher up the organisation knew about it all along (hotly denied so far).

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.