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Top Brit editor jailed in News of World hacking scandal

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Former Editor of the News of the World Andy Coulson arrives for sentencing for his role a conspiracy to intercept voicemails at the Old Bailey courthouse in London on Friday, July 4, 2014.

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By Reuters
Friday, July 4, 2014, 5:54 p.m.

LONDON — British Prime Minister David Cameron's former media chief Andy Coulson was jailed for 18 months on Friday for encouraging widespread phone-hacking by journalists to obtain scoops at the Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid he edited.

Coulson, editor of the now-defunct News of the World newspaper from 2003-07, was convicted last week of conspiracy to intercept voicemails on mobile phones following a high-profile eight-month trial at London's Old Bailey court.

“What this says is that it's right that justice should be done and that no one is above the law,” said Cameron, who has apologized for having hired Coulson.

Opposition Labor leader Ed Miliband has criticized Cameron for bringing a “criminal into the heart of Downing Street.”

The maximum sentence the 46-year-old Coulson could have been given was two years, but the judge said he had taken into account signs of good character outside his career.

Coulson showed no emotion as the sentence was read out in a packed Court 12.

The sentence was passed three years to the day that the Guardian newspaper published revelations that staff on the paper had hacked into the voicemails of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.

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