The trial of Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, both former editors of Rupert Murdoch's now defunct News of the World tabloid, began on Monday (October 28) with jury selection at London's Central Criminal Court, known as the Old Bailey.

They, along with six others, face charges relating to phone hacking and illegal payments to public officials.

Brooks and Coulson are accused of conspiring to illegally access voicemail messages on mobile phones belonging to politicians, the rich and famous, as well as victims of crime and ordinary people, to secure exclusives. They deny all charges.

The furore has already revealed the close ties between Britain's press barons, police chiefs and senior politicians, and prompted a year-long public inquiry into newspaper ethics. The industry is still at loggerheads with the government over how it should be regulated.

Brooks and Coulson were both arrested in July 2011 and later charged with conspiracy to illegally intercept communications.

The other defendants are Brooks' husband Charlie Brooks, her former PA, Cheryl Carter, former News Of The World managing editor and head of news, respectively Stuart Kuttner and Ian Edmonson, former royal editor at the paper, Clive Goodman and Mark Hanna, former head of security at News International.

The high-profile case is expected to last around four months.