Andy Coulson And Rebekah Brooks In Court

Former News of the World editors Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks have appeared in court accused of making corrupt payments to public officials.

The pair appeared at the Old Bailey for a 10-minute hearing along with three other defendants today.

The charges have been brought under Operation Elveden, which deals specifically with the allegation of making and authorising corrupt payments to officials.

Coulson is accused along with the former News of the World royal correspondent, Clive Goodman, of conspiring to pay for information.

It is alleged they obtained the royal telephone directory called the “Green Book”, which includes the details for the Royal Family and members of the royal household.

Coulson, 44, and Goodman, 55, face two counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office - one between August 31 2002 and January 31 2003, and the other between January 31 and June 3 2005.

The charges relate to the alleged request and authorisation of payments to public officials in exchange for information, including the royal contacts.

Brooks, 44, the former News International chief executive, and the former Sun chief reporter John Kay, 69, are charged with conspiring to pay the Ministry of Defence employee, Bettina Jordan-Barber, around £100,000 for information.

The three each face one count of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office between January 1, 2004 and January 31 this year.

The defendants were told they did not have to go into the dock for the hearing and sat at the back of the court.

All the defendants are on bail. They will return to court for a further hearing on March 8.