Coulson warned of illegal payment to police -court

Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson arrives at the Old Bailey courthouse in London November 1, 2013. Coulson is on trial accused of conspiring to hack into phones of high-profile public figures or those close to him and also making illegal payments to public officials, charges he denies, according to news reports.

LONDON - Andy Coulson, former editor of Rupert Murdoch's News of the World, agreed to pay a police officer for a telephone directory of Britain's royal family despite being warned it was illegal, a London court heard on Friday.

Prosecutor Andrew Edis said the tabloid's former royal editor Clive Goodman had emailed Coulson in January 2003 asking him to appove a 1,000-pound (S$1,990.21) cash payment to a royal protection officer for a "Green Book" which contained private numbers of the royal household.

"These people will not be paid in anything other than cash because if they're discovered selling stuff to us they end up on criminal charges, as could we," the email presented to the jury said.

"This is fine," Coulson replied.

Edis said it was not clear whether Coulson had received the full email from Goodman including the warning, although he argued he had, but said Coulson had received enough to know that paying a police officer for a stolen book was illegal.

"He knows what he's involved in," Edis said.