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Andy Coulson trial delayed until after general election

A criminal trial for David Cameron's former spin doctor will be postponed until after the general election, a judge has decided.

Andy Coulson, the former editor of News of the World who became David Cameron's director of communications, was due to face a jury during the last weeks after the election campaign.

However a judge's ruling yesterday means he will not now appear in court until two days after the polls close.

Coulson is charged with three counts of perjury relating to testimony he gave in the 2010 trial of Scottish left-wing politician Tommy Sheridan.

While he was still employed at Downing St when he gave his evidence, Coulson resigned his position a few months later saying: "continued coverage of events connected to my old job at the News of the World has made it difficult for me to give the 110 per cent needed in this role".

In 2012 seven Strathclyde police officers from Operation Rubicon detained the former editor at his home in Dulwich, south London at 6.30am and drove him to Glasgow. Shortly afterwards he was arrested and charged in connection with the alleged perjury.

The decision to postpone the case was made at a "last minute" procedural hearing in Edinburgh by the presiding judge Lord Black. Reporting restrictions prevent us from giving the reason for the delay.

The postponement removes a potential embarrassment for David Cameron as its opening would inevitably have drawn media attention back to the 2011 phone-hacking scandal and the Prime Minister's close links to both Coulson, and the then chief executive of News International Rebekah Brooks.

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