FORMER government spin doctor Andy Coulson and ex-News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks have appeared in court facing charges linked to alleged corrupt payments to public officials.

The pair are among five people who appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court today accused of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office.

Coulson, of Forest Hill, and ex-News of the World royal correspondent Clive Goodman are charged with conspiracy to pay for information including a royal phone directory known as the "Green Book".

It contained contact details for the Royal Family and members of the household.

Coulson, 44, and Goodman, 55, face two counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office - one between August 31 2002, and January 31 2003, and the other between January 31 and June 3 2005.

They relate to the alleged request and authorisation of payments to public officials in exchange for information, including the royal contacts.

Brooks, 44, and former Sun chief reporter John Kay, 69, are charged with conspiring to pay Ministry of Defence employee Bettina Jordan-Barber around £100,000 for information.

The three each face one count of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office between January 1 2004 and January 31 this year.

That relates to allegations that Jordan-Barber, 39, was paid to provide information to the Sun newspaper.

All five were released on unconditional bail to appear at Southwark Crown Court on December 6.