Jury retires to consider verdict in The Sun 'stolen phone' trial

The jury in the Old Bailey trial the Sun's former journalist, Ben Ashford has retired this morning to consider its verdict on two charges relating to the possession of and accessing of information from a mobile phone stolen from a Manchester nightclub in 2009.

Ashford, 35, has admitted he obtained the phone from a tipster and accessed explicit pictures and text messages between its owner and a well-known TV performer but denied knowing it was stolen, stating that he received the device "in good faith" and under the direction of senior staff at the Sun's news-desk.

Before sending the jurors out for a decision the presiding judge, Recorder of London Brian Barker QC, advised them that to find the defendant guilty they had to be sure that the prosecution had proved that Ashford had at least suspected the phone represented the proceeds of theft and was aware that he had "no authority" to access the information stored within it.

The jury then left the court and proceedings were adjourned.