Dont miss our awards deadlines

Phone-hacking trial: Jude Law, William and Harry

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.

The trial is scheduled to examine seven counts that include conspiracy to intercept communications in the course of their transmission, conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office, and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Coverage will be provided by James Doleman, who was acclaimed for his exhaustive and responsible reporting of the Tommy Sheridan perjury trial.

After the evidence of Calum Best and Lorna Hogan the court then moved on to more “timeline evidence”. While not creating the most riveting courtroom spectacle, these are very important as they put into evidence what the prosecution later rely on and put to witnesses. It also gives the various defence lawyers an opportunity to challenge documentary evidence; when they do not it is considered agreed and can be taken by the jury as proven fact.

The next timeline in the case related to actors Jude Law, Sienna Miller and Sadie Frost, and people related to them. The court was shown entries in convicted phone hacker Glenn Mulcaire’s notebooks containing the actors' telephone details, notes stretching over several years. As there was no objection to this it can be taken that their phones were hacked by Mulcaire and others.

On one note the name Rebekah Wade (Rebekah Brooks' maiden name) also appears along with the three named above. There is also evidence that Mulcaire had phoned a child psychologist who had been contacted by Jade Schmidt, former nanny to Law and Frost.

Other documents shown to the jury show that while this extensive hacking was going on, James Weatherup, another News of the World journalist, was negotiating with Schmidt for her story. Texts from him to her quoted in court said: “can’t do any harm to contact me I will give you best deal and best legal advice”; “Hi me again, time is running out for a decision, must strike while iron is hot, final offer £85k”; and “ok 100k on exclusive story, final offer”. At the same time the prosecution allege Mulcaire was constantly hacking Schmidt's phone and was in constant contact with Ian Edmondson at the News of the World

In the documents another alleged hacking victim Archie Keswick is listed as Sienna Miller’s boyfriend, however the prosecution made clear he states this is not the case and they have been friends since Miller was 12 years old.

The barrister for Rebekah Brooks, Jonathan Laidlaw QC, then rose to discuss the entry on Mulcaire’s notebooks that mentioned his client. He suggested the name was not in the “tasking area” of the note and asked “what’s the prosecution point?” He asked the police officer presenting the timeline if his enquires had revealed Brooks was a personal friend with the PR representative for Law and Miller. He put to the court the “obvious possibility” that Mulcaire had picked up a reference to Rebekah Wade who has been in contact with them and wrote it down.

Laidlaw then asked the court to consider a second thing, that Mrs Brooks herself had been a victim of “extensive hacking” and brought into evidence notes from Mulcaire showing the interception of voicemails from Mrs Brooks' phone. He accused police of being “rather reluctant to accept” Brooks as a victim, adding that police had even contacted her and asked if she would consider being a witness for the prosecution.

Mr Edis for the Crown rose to tell the court that the prosecution does not allege that this page shows Brooks was involved in tasking Mulcaire. Edis asked the officer “what was the object of contacting Brooks?" DC Hargreaves responded that as her name was on Mulcaire’s notes, she “had the right to be told and allowed to comment on them”, adding: “It was our duty to inform everyone who appeared on those notes."

The next timeline brought into evidence by the prosecution was that of Helen Asbury, the personal private secretary of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. The police seized recordings of her voicemails from Glenn Mulcaire's home in 2006. There is also, according to the prosecution, evidence that Clive Goodman, royal correspondent of the News of the World and one of the defendants, also hacked Asbury’s phone. A note on Mulcaire’s notebooks has the words “William and Harry PPS” and Asbury’s mobile number.

One intercepted voicemail transcript read to the court included the phrase “our mutual friend’s knee is much better” but that he may have “shoulder injury” and he is taking antibiotics. This is believed to be from Dr Rod Jack who was director of medical services at the British Institute of Sport. A statement read to the court from Dr Jack confirmed this was his voice relating to a patient he could not name due to medical confidentiality.

An email from Goodman to Andy Coulson, then editor of the News of the World, read: “Health inf is from Helen and Harry’s PA direct from Dr himself”. A News of the World article was read to the court from the next day after the email was sent, 23 Jan 05. It said: “Harry’s got two nasty new injuries, injuries could keep him out of the army”. The article goes on to say that Harry may have an infected foot.

A statement from Asbury herself was read to the jury. She said that in 2005 she had repeated problems with her mobile voicemail, messages she had never heard were being marked as “heard” and her PIN number kept being changed, sometimes “several times a day”

The court was then read notes from Clive Goodman, seized from his office, which while in shorthand showed, the prosecution say, the personal details of Helen Asbury.

As none of the defence barristers challenge any of this information, the court moved on to the next timeline and DC Judy Baxter was sworn in to discuss the “Paddy Harverson timeline". This opened with an email from Goodman to Ian Edmondson discussing a story that Prince Harry had been “cheating on his exam”. Edmonson replied “what did Paddy say” and Goodman responded “The PS denied it”. Paddy, the prosecution suggested, is a reference to Paddy Harverson, the communications secretary for the royal family in 2005 and 2006. The prosecution allege his phone was also hacked by Mulcaire and Goodman. A list of calls to Haverson’s voicemail from Mulcaire and Goodman was brought into evidence to support this.

The court then moved to the Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton timeline. Lowther-Pinkerton was also a private secretary to the royal family, with reponsibilties for Princes William and Harry. Tapes of his voicemails were also siezed from Mulcaire’s address. In one month alone, November 2005, there were 104 hacks of his voicemails, the bulk directly from the offices of the News of the World and Clive Goodman’s personal landline. The jury was then shown a transcript of one of these calls, created by Clive Goodman: “X, hi it’s Y, got your message while on guard, just wondering if you any information on the siege on the Iranian embassy..just need some inf, if you have any extra information, websites etc...please please email it to me.” There is also, according to the police, a tape, of poor quality, of the same conversation. These documents were stored by a solicitors who were representing Clive Goodman; he has however waived his legal privilege to allow them to be heard in court.

Goodman then sent an email to Andy Coulson and Neil Wallis (a news editor at the paper) with a draft of an article: “Exclusive by Clive Goodman, Harry asked a royal aide for help in an essay”. Coulson replied within 10 minutes saying: “Can you get someone with authority to say what a disgrace this is?” This completed the timeline as again there was no cross-examination from the defence.

The next timeline was another royal related one, featuring Mark Dyer, the royal equerry to Prince Charles. After the death of princess Diana, he had a role in supporting her children, princes Harry and William. According to the prosecution, Clive Goodman and Glenn Mulcaire made over 95 hacking calls to Dyer’s mobile phone. The tapes of these recordings were found by police in Mulcaire’s home in August 2006.

The last timeline heard today was that of Tom Parker-Bowles, the son of Camilla Parker-Bowles, the dutchess of Cornwall. Notes from August 2003 from Glen Mulcaire show, the prosecuton say, Parker-Bowles was hacked. There were emails from Mulcaire to Goodman saying Parker-Bowles may be about to join a “foreign food channel” and another from Goodman to News of the World journalist James Weartherup saying “Getting Greg to do a few dark arts” to which Weatherup replied: “Dont know what you mean…..” They further discuss Parker-Bowles' fiancee, Laura Lopez, wondering if the couple are about to split, and then deciding “not to rock the boat”.

Court then ended for the day.

All of the defendants continue to deny all of the charges, the trial continues.

By continuing to use The Drum, I accept the use of cookies as per The Drum's privacy policy