The court heard that in May 2006 the paper was planning a story about television personality Calum Best, the son of late Manchester United soccer star George Best.
Coulson had e-mailed Ian Edmondson, the tabloid’s former head of news, who is also on trial for hacking, and instructed him: “Do his phone,” the prosecutor said.
Edis told the jury of nine women and three men that they would have to decide what that meant.
On occasions, the court heard, the tabloid hit the wrong targets — such as when it hacked the telephone of a hairdresser named Laura Rooney, falsely believing she was related to the England soccer star Wayne Rooney.
Murdoch shut down the News of the World in July 2011 amid a huge outcry over revelations that it illegally accessed the voicemail messages of a murdered schoolgirl, as well as hundreds of celebrities.