Shortly after the judge, Mr Justice Saunders, finished five days of summing up, the eight female and three male jurors began their deliberations at 3.33pm.
They returned to Court 12 of London’s Central Criminal Court at 4.52pm, when they were sent home for the night, with a warning that they must not discuss the case with each other after leaving the building.
Addressing them shortly before they retired, Mr Justice Saunders told them: “You are under no pressure of time and you must take the time you need to reach your verdicts.”
He told the jury they could if they wishes sit until 6pm Monday to Thursday, adding that he would send them home by no later than 4.30pm on Fridays.
“What you have to do is to act according to your view,” Mr Justice Saunders told them.
“You have to reach a true verdict according to the evidence you have heard in court – and only that evidence.”
He said the 11 should discuss the evidence only when they were all present – and not separately in “cabals.”
The judge said the jurors should ask him if they needed to review any particular piece of evidence.
He urged them to resist the temptation to look up anything about the case on the internet. Concluding his remarks, he told the jury – who have attended the case promptly during throughout the eight months of evidence: “It’s been a privilege to work with you all.”
The seven defendants in the case are Rebekah Brooks, Andy Coulson, Stuart Kuttner, Clive Goodman, Cheryl Carter, Charlie Brooks and Mark Hanna.
They are charged variously with one or several of the following charges of conspiracies to hack phones, commit misconduct in a public office and pervert the course of justice.
They deny all charges.
The jury will return to Court 12 at 10am tomorrow to continue their deliberations.