The trial of former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, the prime minister's former director of communications Andy Coulson and six others began at the Old Bailey on 28 October. The Drum will be in court for the duration of the trial, which is expected to last at least four months, and will provide comprehensive updates on this blog.
Court resumed this morning to hear from the next witness for the prosecution, actor Jude Law. The jury has already heard that the actor's mobile phone details, along with those of people he knew, were found in the notebooks of convicted phone-hacker Glenn Mulcaire. Before Law took the stand, Andrew Edis QC reminded the jury of evidence they had previously seen of a list of contacts between Mulcaire and News of the World journalists, and a series of articles subsequently printed in the paper.
Edis asked the witness about a number of people named in the documents; Ben Jackson, a friend and co-producer; Sadie Frost, his ex-wife; and Sienna Miller, a former girlfriend. Jade Schmidt, Law said, was a former children's nanny employed by him. The witness told the court that after he was nominated for an Oscar in 2001 there was "a lot more interest in my private life". At the same time, the witness said things were becoming "difficult" between him and Frost and press attention had increased. He and his children were often followed by "packs of journalists". Reporters always seemed to know where he was going to be, the witness said. There was an "unhealthy amount of information" about his private life and he was not surprised when he was told his details were found in Mulcaire's notes.
The witness was then asked about Schmidt leaving his employment, Law said there was a disagreement with Sadie Frost and there was a parting of ways. Police, he said, had played him recordings of messages left on Schmidt's phone and he confirmed that they had been left by him when making arrangements over the children.
Mr Langdale QC, for Andy Coulson, then rose to cross examine the witness. The defence barrister asked Law about September 2005 and asked if he had attended a wedding reception in the West Country that month. Law confirmed he had and that Sienna Miller was there. He said he had then returned to London that evening. He could not confirm that he had been at the Groucho club the next day but agreed that he and Miller did go there on occasion. Law was asked if he knew of rumours that Miller was involved in an relationship with James Bond actor Daniel Craig. Law said he was, and said he had called Craig and "expressed his view" on the issue.
The witness was then shown a copy of the News of the World with the headline "Sienna cheats on Jude". The defence lawyer pointed to a section of the story where his call to Craig was mentioned. Law confirmed he had spoken to Craig directly and not left any voicemails. The witness was asked if he knew someone had spoken to the News of the World. He said he had not but suspected many people at the time due to the amount of information about his private life appearing in the paper. He had, however, found out after 2011 that the paper had been speaking to his family but said he knew nothing about any immediate family member being paid for stories.
The lawyer then wrote down a name on a piece of paper and passed it to the witness. Law said he was aware the named person had spoken to the paper but knew nothing about any money changing hands. He had also recently become aware that a publicist working for him had met a News of the World journalist. "That's what they do," Law said. He said that he had to keep the publicist on "speed dial" due to the volume of stories appearing about him and to allow him to put his side of the story out. The actor denied a defence suggestion that he knew at the time that "someone who provided services for him" was talking to the newspaper but had become aware of that recently.
The actor was then asked if he knew a specific journalist at the News of the World and if he had been to Wimbledon with him. Law replied: "I don't want to sound blasé but I'm introduced to a lot of people at these events." The jury was then asked to leave the court while a legal matter was discussed.
When the jury returned the prosecution re-examined the witness. Law was asked when he first heard the suggestion that a member of his family was paid by the News of the World for information. "Today," he replied. The witness was asked about the Sienna Miller/Daniel Craig story and told the jury he had not wanted it to appear and had not spoken to any of the journalists involved. Law was then asked about an employee of his who was giving information to the media. Law said he had not been given "concrete proof" but had been told about it in 2011 by Sienna Miller. Law said he had first heard about his relative giving a journalist information last year when he had heard about the contacts from the police and his relative had confirmed it. Law denied anything that had been put into the paper by him, directly or indirectly. Law then stepped down from the stand.
Court then rose for lunch.
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