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Public foots bill for 'lengthy, complex' process

By Emily Pennink

The cost to the taxpayer for the hacking trial was at least £1.7m, the Crown Prosecution Service has revealed.

The figure included paying for lawyers, expert witnesses and CPS staff up to May 31 this year.

The prosecution counsel of five core members in court, plus occasional "bespoke instructions" on top made up the bulk of the cost.

Counsel fees alone amounted to £1.1m.

Lawyers for all the defendants, except Clive Goodman who was on legal aid, were understood to have been paid for by News International.

The cost of the Scotland Yard investigations into allegations of illegal newspaper practices stands at around £32.7m.

According to police, the Operation Weeting investigation into phone hacking cost £18m.

Operation Elveden into paying public officials cost £9m; Operation Appleton which supported the Leveson Inquiry costs £1.3m; and Operation Tuleta into other breaches of privacy cost £2.6m. So far News Corp has paid out £268m to alleged hacking victims.

Greg McGill, a senior lawyer for the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "This was not about whether phone hacking took place or whether public officials were paid; there are a significant number of recent convictions which show that both did happen.

"This has been a lengthy and complex trial which was required to explore a culture of invading privacy. The jury has found that Andy Coulson conspired with others to hack phones. Others who have admitted their role in this practice – Greg Miskiw, Neville Thurlbeck, James Weatherup, Glenn Mulcaire and Dan Evans – all now face sentencing."

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