Phone-hacking trial: Dan Evans admits he may have 'mispoke' about Sienna Miller voicemail

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.

Andy Coulson arriving at court this morning
  • Evans says may have "mispoke" yesterday on Sienna Miller voicemail
  • Apologises if anyone feels misled
  • Quotes from sources just "tabloid fluff"
  • "In a weird way I wanted to get caught," Evans tells court
  • Sienna Miller phone number questioned
  • "Let's bring it on after lunch" judge tells jury

Court resumed to hear the fourth day of evidence from former News of the World journalist Dan Evans, who the jury has heard has already admitted illegally intercepting voicemails while working for the newspaper.

The day's proceedings opened with Timothy Langdale QC, acting for Andy Coulson, continuing his cross-examination from where he left off yesterday, discussing the term "special checks" used in an internal News of the World email. Langdale suggested that this was not a reference to phone hacking but instead meant using a private investigator to obtain phone records. Evans denied this and insisted that it was a reference to intercepting voicemails. Asked why the other journalist would put such a thing in writing, therefore"giving the game away", the witness replied that there was a "blasé" attitude to hacking at the paper at the time.

Langdale then asked about the contents of the voicemail referred to in the email, which was from actress Sienna Miller to a friend. Evans said he could not recall the exact wording of the message other than the fact Miller was tearful and upset. "I did hack thousands of voicemails while at the News of the World," the witness added. Evans then said he had been thinking about the issue and perhaps it was not Miller who left the message but possibly her sister. Langdale asked, "Is that rethink on your part because your story doesn't add up?" Evans replied that he was just trying to be 100 per cent honest and did not have "total recall" of every message he had ever intercepted.

The defence counsel then handed the witness previous statements he made to the police in which Evans said repeatedly that the message in question was from Sienna Miller. Evans said he had thought about it and "it was a hack in relation to Sienna Miller so my evidence is accurate" but continued that he had a "nagging thought" that it might have been her sister. "I apologise if anyone feels misled," the witness said. Langdale put it to Evans: "You have perpetuated this inaccuracy through numerous interviews." The witness responded: "The key matter is I hacked Kelly Hoppins' voicemail that day, and that is where the information was derived."

Langdale then showed the court the article Evans had written on Sienna Miller which references the fact that Miller had "turned to Hoppins for tea and sympathy in her hour of need". Evans replied: "This is a tabloid newspaper. It might come as a shock but not every quote is nailed on truth, especially when the word source is used... I have to sanitise it, clean it up, it's tabloid fluff." The defence QC put it to the witness "that is just an invented answer". Evans replied: "That's how it works in the cut and thrust of a features department, we re-write, we sanitise." At this point Mr Justice Saunders intervened and reminded the witness not to interrupt the questions as they were being asked. Evans then said: "Often when you are writing a quote you think, what would they have said? This is tabloid quote fluff and is not a verbatim, forensic explanation of what happened." Asked about other parts of the article, Evans said that he "pretty much made them up".

Langdale then asked the witness if stories had to be "stood up". Evans said "contentious" stories did but newspapers often took a "calculated risk" over whether they would be sued or not. The defence QC then read more of the the witness's article which quotes "a friend of Miller" and asked if this was a product of a hack. Evans said he may have just put together a "plausible quote" but it was all "predicated on the message left on the phone". Evans was then questioned about how he could have picked all of this up in a hack of one minute thirty seconds. The witness replied that he was surprised counsel was "credulous about this" and this was more than enough time to listen to a single voicemail.

The witness was then presented with a document listing calls made from the News of the World offices to ELI, which the court heard yesterday is an investigation company used by the paper to gather information for articles. Mr Justice Saunders then reminded the jury that there was no way to tell if these had been made by the witness or someone else in the building as the "hub" telephone system then in use did not leave a record of which extension a call originated from. Evans told the court that ELI was used for a "myriad" of tasks and many staff, including himself, contacted them. Langdale suggested ELI, not hacked voicemails, were the source of much of the information in the article. Evans denied this and insisted the story was "inspired" by material gained from his hacking.

The defence QC then took the witness through the records of his calls and questioned why he sometimes used his own phone to hack voicemail rather than an untraceable "pay as you go" one. He was a rather"risky hacker," it was suggested. Evans replied: "By this point in time I didn't care too much. In a weird way I kind of wanted to get caught." Evans was then asked if he had discussed his evidence with a David Owen, who was in court with him yesterday. "I did talk about my doubts to him this morning," the witness said.

The court then rose for a short break.

When the case resumed, Mr Langdale continued his cross-examination and moved on to the story about a rumoured relationship between Sienna Miller and actor Daniel Craig. The QC suggested that this story had been in other papers and asked if Evans had seen them. The witness replied he had not. "You said this was the only story in town," the QC said and showed the court a story from the Sunday People which stated Miller "was taking comfort in the arms of Daniel Craig". Evans said he had not seen the story, adding: "Perhaps I was on holiday or something, hearing that voicemail was a bolt from the blue." Langdale told the court that his team had checked and staff records show that Evans was not on holiday that month. The witness was then asked if he had seen a similar story in the Daily Star. Evans said the Star was a "nest of inaccuracy" and he did not read it. Other similar stories were shown to the witness to which he replied: "Do you want me to keep answering the same question?" When shown another story on the subject from the Daily Mirror, Evans pointed out it was from the Irish edition and he was not in Ireland.

Defence counsel then asked Evans about an "unpleasant email" he received from a senior journalist telling him he should "jump off a cliff" due to the lack of major stories he was bringing to the paper. The witness has already said it was this that prompted him to hack Daniel Craig's phone. Langdale said that email had never been found but Evans said he was certain it existed. The jury has already heard that there is not a complete record of email traffic from that period at the News of the World. The witness was then asked about which phone he used to access Craig's voicemail. Evans said it may have been a "hub phone" at the News of the World or from home with his company mobile but he did not recall exactly. The witness said he did remember the relief he felt at getting the story.

Evans was then asked about the content of the message. He recalled it was short and along the lines of, "hello I'm here with Jude, I love you." Langdale then asked how he knew the message was from Miller to which Evans responded that he checked the number the message came from and it was the same as the one he had for her in his palm pilot. The defence QC put it to the witness that Miller did not have that phone number until a month after the message was supposedly left. Evans said perhaps he had recognised Miller from the mention of "Jude". Langdale put it to the witness that he was "making it up again" to which Evans responded that he had heard the message and knew it was Sienna Miller although he did not have a perfect recollection of the exact details of how he knew.

Mr Justice Saunders then advised the witness to "take a deep breath" and asked him to comment on the suggestion that Sienna Miller did not get the phone number Evans said he checked when he hacked Daniel Craig's phone. The witness asked if this was "black and white" and defence counsel said that the court would be hearing from Miller herself on this issue on Friday. Langdale put it to Evans that he had only mentioned checking the number for the first time on Monday. "You sprung it on us," he said. Evans was then asked if he ever hacked Sienna Miller's phone. Evans said no and was asked "why not?" The witness said he did not recall hacking Sienna Miller's phone but he "may have done".

The defence QC then asked if he had recorded all of Daniel Craig's voicemail messages. Evans said he only recorded calls of interest but it was "difficult to remember". Langdale put it to the witness that in his police statements he had been clear that he only recorded the voicemail itself and not any of the preamble. Evans was asked what time it was when he played the tape to his colleagues at work and the witness replied it was soon after he got there at around 11am. The defence asked if a specific journalist, who we cannot name for legal reasons, was present at the time. Evans confirmed that was his recollection and that the journalist had immediately started mobilising resources including "tracing agents" to locate Sienna Miller. Defence counsel suggested that "nothing of any significance was happening at all that Tuesday morning" and Evans replied: "I don't know what you mean but bring it on." Judge Saunders then intervened saying, "let's bring it on after lunch," and the court rose.

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