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Rebekah Brooks, Andy Coulson trial opens at the Old Bailey in London - day one

The trial of former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, the prime minister's former director of communications Andy Coulson and six others began at the Old Bailey on 28 October. The Drum will be in court for the duration of the trial, which is expected to last at least four months, and will provide comprehensive updates on this blog.

The trial is scheduled to examine seven counts that include conspiracy to intercept communications in the course of their transmission, conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office, and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Coverage will be provided by James Doleman, who was acclaimed for his exhaustive and responsible reporting of the Tommy Sheridan perjury trial.

The Old Bailey in London

The long awaited trial of Rebekah Brooks, Andy Coulson and six others over alleged offences related to phone hacking and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice opened this morning at the Central Criminal Court at the Old Bailey in London

Day one has been taken up with jury selection as a group of around 80 potential jurors were told by the judge, the Hon Mr Justice Saunders, that jury service was not voluntary. He did however give jurors reasons why they may be excused such as illness, pre-booked holidays or work responsibilities.

After eliminating some of those selected on these grounds, the judge then asked those remaining to fill out a questionnaire. Before allowing them to leave for the day he cautioned them not to discuss the case with anyone.

The eight defendants watched from the glass-fronted dock, with the two best known, Coulson and Ms Brooks, sitting side by side.

The rest of the afternoon is expected to be taken up with legal procedures.

The trial continues.