Phone-hacking trial: Andy Coulson, Sienna Miller, The Tapes and the Groucho club

By James Doleman |

January 30, 2014 | 10 min read

  • Coulson not in London when Evans claimed, defence say
  • Journalists "all in it together"
  • "Legendary" News of the World safe kept secrets of great and good
  • "News of the World untouchable"
  • "This is all meaningless," Evans says to QC

Court resumed after lunch to hear further cross examination of former News of the World journalist Dan Evans by Timothy Langdale QC representing Andy Coulson. Langdale reminded the jury that they had reached the point of discussing Evans' testimony that he had played a tape of a hacked voicemail from the phone of Daniel Craig to colleagues at the News of the World's offices on 27 September 2005 and it had led to a burst of activity to follow the story up. "It was all hands to the pump," Evans confirmed.

Evans then confirmed that later in the day, Andy Coulson and a journalist we cannot name for legal reasons also heard the tape. Evans said he could not remember the time but it was "dark outside". Langdale told the court that sunset at that time of year was around 6pm. Evans said he could have meant it was overcast. Langdale put it to the witness that Coulson was not in his office or even in London that day. Evans said that was his recollection. Asked to explain, the witness said it may have happened the following day. The defence counsel put it to the witness that his "consistent account" was that the tape was played to Coulson on that Tuesday but "these were events of a long time ago" and although he may be wrong about the date he "had always tried to be open and honest". Langdale pressed the question leading to Judge Saunders intervening to say that was the witness's recollection and the barrister was now "making suggestions".

Langdale then put it to the witness that evidence showed Sienna Miller was not in the Groucho club on the Saturday that the message was left and suggested further that Evans had not hacked Daniel Craig's phone during the weekend he said he had. "This is not fun for me," the witness said, adding that it was still his memory that he hacked the phone on that weekend and took the tape into the News of the World on the Tuesday after. Evans was then shown a call schedule document which, Langdale suggested, showed no phone-hacking on the weekend of 25 September 2005. Evans replied that he had access to other handsets and he may have used one of them rather than his own mobile. There was, however, Langdale suggested, a hacking call to Craig's phone on Tuesday 27 September, the day Evans claimed he played the tape to Coulson and others. Evans said he may have been following up the Sienna Miller story. The Defence QC suggested this was "just another example of you changing your story when new facts are put to you."

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Actress Sienna Miller to testify tomorrow

Evans was then asked why he did not call Craig's direct voicemail number (the UVN) to hack rather than his phone. Evans said he may have been worried about being traced as using that number was a sign the phone was being hacked. "It was a big red flag," the witness said. "You have no explanation," Langdale suggested. Judge Saunders then intervened and said the witness had given an explanation and counsel should move on.

Langdale then went through other hacks of Daniel Craig's phone in October 2005 and asked when he had found a voice message from Jude Law confronting Craig about his relationship with Sienna Miller. Evans said he could not remember exactly without further information. Counsel then moved on to February 2006 where records showed more hacks of Daniel Craig's phone using the News of the World "hub phone" rather that Evans' own mobile. Asked why this was, the witness replied "I don't know", but suggested the record was incomplete as "you do not appear to have the direct dial data". The record of hacking ended on 8 August 2006.

The defence QC then returned to the alleged playing of the tape of the hacked Craig voicemail and asked if the witness was surprised that Coulson listened to it in an open plan office rather than a conference room. Evans said he was and Langdale suggested: "There is not a word of truth in that Mr Evans." The witness said all of the journalists "were all in it together" and there was almost a "rule of omerta". "Fleet St is a very leaky place," Langdale suggested, so "how could it possibly make any sense for the editor of the News of the World to be broadcasting instructions in front of everyone" about a hacked voicemail. Evans said that "he would have felt safe in that environment". The QC then listed people who Evans had stated were present and the witness confirmed that was his recollection of people who may have potentially "been in earshot" when instructions were given to make the tape appear as if it was left anonymously. "Does that make any sense to you?" Evans was asked. "The guy was my boss," he replied, adding: "Strange things did turn up at the News of the World from time to time."

Evans was asked what precautions he had taken to hide the origin of the tape. He said he had "given it a rub with his shirt" to get rid of fingerprints. Langdale said that Evans had said in his police statements that he had picked up the tape with a hanky. "Ah well, whatever," the witness replied, leading to Judge Saunders asking Evans to "answer questions sensibly". The last he had seen of the tape was a journalist "walking round the corner with it" but it was his understanding that it was "taken to the safe in Andy's office". Defence counsel put it to the witness that "there was no safe in Andy Coulson's office" and reminded him of a statement he had made that the "editor's safe was legendary for having the secrets of the great and the good stored". There was a safe, Evans said, although it may not have been located in the actual office. It was the place were "all sorts of stories got buried". "Is this another example of story telling, of fiction?" the barrister asked. Evans said that whether the safe was located in Coulson's office or another place was "academic" as there was an editor's safe in the building.

Langdale then asked Evans why he had testified that he had destroyed the dictaphone used to make the original recording. Evans explained that this was a unique situation as the tape was going to be retained as evidence rather than being transcribed then destroyed. The paper was keen to make sure that there was no way to trace the recording back to any member of staff. The witness was then asked why "at this big moment, when you had come in wagging your tail" records showed he had hacked the phone of Jeff Brazier, the partner of Jade Goody. "I was just doing my job," the witness replied.

The court then took a short break.

When court resumed the witness was shown an email dated 27 September 2005 from a journalist that we cannot name, starting "I'm back" and listing stories he was working on. The defence asked the witness why there was no reference to the Sienna Miller/Daniel Craig story and suggested that this was consistent with their argument that this journalist had not been played the hacked tape as the witness had testified. There was, the defence barrister said, a reference to Jade Goody being "rushed to hospital" which, he suggested, tied in with the record of Evans hacking Goody's partners phone. "It doesn't look like all hands to the pump on the Sienna Miller story," the defence barrister suggested, adding that there was "nothing in existence showing any work on that story until the 30 September". Evans replied: "That's how I remember it, what else can I say," adding "life doesn't stop because we don't have it on our lists."

Langdale then asked the witness about him "doorstepping" Daniel Craig and asked how he knew where the actor lived. Evans replied that he had known for many years, since the period Craig dated Kate Moss. The defence barrister asked the witness why he hacked Craig's phone on the same day he was about to visit him at home. Evans said he could not recall and the barrister asked if this was "a wise thing to do". Evans said that at that time: "There was a sense that the News of the World was untouchable. There was an arrogance created by the editor and his attitude."

Evans was asked if he had ever checked if Sienna Miller had been to the Groucho club on the day of the alleged message. "I was never tasked to do that," the witness said. Evans was asked if he had a photographer with him when he "doorstepped" Daniel Craig. "There was nobody shooting over my shoulder," the witness said. Langdale asked: "If this is such a huge story, why not?" Evans said: "If I could go back in time and ask myself I would." Asked if he read a story in the Mail on Sunday about Jude law that week, Evans replied he did not remember seeing it. "I may have been drunk as it came out on a Saturday night," he said.

In response to further questions about news coverage of Jude Law and Sienna Miller, Evans said to the QC: "This happened as I said it did, I got the voicemail and played the tape, you can suggest I should have done this or could have done that, this is all meaningless."

Court then rose for the day

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

Click here to view more posts from The Drum's daily phone-hacking trial coverage straight from the Old Bailey


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