The boss of the Society of Editors has called on the public to put the phone hacking affair behind them after the jury delivered its verdicts in the long-running trials.
Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson was found guilty of conspiracy to intercept voicemails while ex-News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks was cleared of all charges.
Stuart Kuttner, former NoTW managing editor was found not guilty of conspiring to hack voicemails, while Cheryl Carter, Charlie Brooks and News International’s former head of security Mark Hanna were cleared of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
The jury is continuing to consider misconduct in public office charges against Coulson and former News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman.
Following the partial verdicts, Society of Editors executive director Bob Satchwell said it was time to move on.
Said Bob: “After the biggest police investigation in history and a near eight month trial, the fact that the jury has come back after a week of deliberating with mainly not guilty verdicts puts the whole of the saga into some kind of context.
“No-one condones any journalist convicted of a crime but the practices of the whole of the press have been questioned. Nearly three years ago the Press was on trial and that led to the Leveson inquiry.
“After a hugely expensive investigation and criminal trial the jury concluded that what was suggested to be a major conspiracy at the top of News International was not all that it seemed.
He added: “The only good to come out of all of this is that the Press will now have a new, more powerful complaints and regulatory system – the Independent Press Standards Organisation – with powers to investigate and fine newspapers if necessary.
“I trust that the public will put all of this behind them now and appreciate that the press in this country remains the best in the world.”
However the campaign group Hacked Off, which wants tougher press regulation, said the industry should abandon its “deceitful plan to create and hide behind IPSO” and accept robust self-regulation under the Royal Charter.
Executive director of Hacked Off Brian Cathcart said: “For years the Murdoch press clung to the story that one rogue reporter was responsible for phone hacking. We now know this was a lie.
“Far from being an isolated incident involving a few ‘bad apples’, the trial has shown that the entire orchard was rotten.
“The trial also shone a light on the appalling, systemic newsroom culture of bullying, lies, intimidation and intrusion that has devastated the lives of many people. From royalty and Cabinet ministers to victims of crime and bereaved families, nobody was safe.”