'Inconceivable' ex-News of the World deputy unaware of hacking

Prosecutors in the trial against former News of the World deputy Neil Wallis have claimed it is 'inconceivable' that he was unaware that reporters were hacking phones.

Neil Wallis has denied charges of conspiracy to hack voicemail messages while working at the News of the World Credit: John Stillwell/PA

In an opening statement at the Old Bailey today Julian Christopher QC acknowledged that Wallis was not accused of doing any of the hacking himself, but said he "knew" it was being done and "agreed" to it.

He said: "The practice was so widespread at the News of the World that it is inconceivable that the editor above him should have been involved, and those below him should have been involved, without him also knowing about it and being involved."

Wallis, who was deputy to the paper's former editor Andy Coulson between 2003 and 2007, is on trial for conspiracy to hack voicemail messages. He denies the charges.