Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson was told today that a decision on a prosecution application to have him pay some of the £750,000 costs of his marathon trial will be delayed until all proceedings against him are complete.
In a judgement issued this morning the trial judge, Mr Justice Saunders, said that as Coulson still faced legal proceedings in Scotland over alleged perjury and a retrial in England over charges he conspired to corrupt public officials, it would not be appropriate to decide the issue until the total length of sentence he is to serve for all offences is known.
Coulson, who was also chief of communications for David Cameron’s government, is currently in Belmarsh prison serving an 18-month sentence for phone hacking.
He has claimed that any judgement for costs against him should be met by News UK - the new name for the company that owns News International's British newspapers - under a clause in his contract that agreed the company would pay the “lawful costs" of any legal action arising from his time as editor of the, now defunct, News of the World.
Saunders noted that News UK disagreed that it should indemnify Coulson but that it was not for him to decide as it was a “civil matter”.
Questions were raised last week about the former editor’s financial situation with Crown prosecutor Andrew Edis saying: "A lot of money has passed through Mr Coulson's hands over the past few years but there doesn't seem to be very much left.”
he added:“In a situation such as this when someone anticipates they might be convicted….it is not at all uncommon for transfers of money to take place whereby they are not in his ownership, but may still be accessible to him later on if the need arises."
Coulson is believed to have received a redundancy settlement from the News of the World of “several hundred thousand pounds” as well as earning £275,000 a year when working for the Conservative party in opposition and £140,000 per annum while at Downing St.
At the July hearing Edis suggested that News International might take "moral responsibility" for the costs of the case considering that “it was their employees who caused this mess in the first place”.
However, in a note to the judge also released today lawyers for the company said “there is no evidence that a voluntary assumption of responsibility has either been offered by News UK or will ever be made by News UK.”