Phone-hacking trial: The bullies, Princess Diana and the Royal phonebook

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.

    Court: Clive Goodman gave evidence at the phone-hacking trial

  • Royal directories given to defendant by Princess Diana
  • Goodman tells of police harassment
  • Coulson "aggressive and bullying" as News of the World editor, court is told
  • When the trial resumed after lunch, Justice Saunders addressed the jury telling the nine women and three men that while normally defendants appeared on the order of the indictment, he was calling Clive Goodman next "in the interests of justice". Mr Goodman then took the stand. Goodman is charged with conspiracy to corrupt public officials by purchasing Royal telephone directories from police officers. He was convicted and jailed for phone-hacking in 2006 so is facing no charges relating to that although he is named on the indictment as one of the alleged conspirators in the illegal interception of voicemails.

    David Spens QC, representing Goodman, began by telling the jury that his client was not in good health and had recently had an operation to correct a heart condition, therefore he had missed part of the trial and may need to take breaks during his testimony. Goodman then told the court his career history from junior reporter to his first staff role at the Daily Mail working with Nigel Dempster on the paper's diary. He joined the News of the World in 1995, becoming Royal editor in 2000.

    Goodman was asked about 1997, when Princess Diana was killed in a Paris car crash. The witness told the court that the media had agreed not to write any stories about her two sons until they completed their education. Goodman said this had a "very depressing effect on Royal reporting as all we had to write about was Charles, Camilla and the Queen". The defendant told the court that from 2001 he became a deputy editor and reported directly to the editor. He also attended the daily conferences where it was agreed which stories would appear in the paper.

    The court was then shown the final edition of the News of the World, which listed the 50 most important articles produced in the paper's 168-year history. Goodman told the court he was responsible for four of these. "Royal reporting was a very important part of the newspaper's output," he told the court.

    In January 2003, Goodman told the court, Andy Coulson was appointed as the paper's editor and he in turn appointed a deputy editor, who we cannot name for legal reasons. The defendant told the court that the deputy editor "for some reason did not like me" and he found his role being more and more downgraded. At conferences, he said: "I was behind Jamie Oliver's recipes when I got to present my stories." In July 2005, the court was told, Goodman was demoted and put back under the control of the newsdesk. In December 2005, there was a "row in the office" over a proposed trip to America which he had to delay for family reasons. "Andy Coulson got agitated," Goodman said, and appointed another journalist as Royal reporter. "A massive chunk of my work was taken away," he added.

    The witness was then asked about his relationship with Andy Coulson. Goodman said he and Coulson had a mutual friend who died in an accident in 2005. They met during the funeral service and "got on", later attending each other's weddings and events together. However, Goodman said when Coulson became editor he "became more aggressive and more bullying, I was forever being berated for the lack of quality of my stories, he meant to degrade you". The defendant said there was little "sentimentality" in Coulson, giving the example of Sean Hoare, who, despite being a friend, Coulson sacked when he became a "problem in the office".

    Goodman told the court that he thought he was a well regarded Royal reporter, and held the record for "splashes" and "most front pages in a row, three". He told the court that when the new deputy editor arrived he "didn't like me and made sure he told everyone about it".

    "He didn't like to see people sitting around thinking about things, he wanted action, action action, people chasing things like dogs chasing a car," he said. The defendant said he was not the only person treated badly by the deputy editor and he named other journalists he believed were also bullied. The deputy editor also had "a corrosive influence" on Coulson, Goodman claimed. "He would go for someone then Andy would, just to show he was just as tough," he said.

    The defendant was then asked about Greg Miskiw, who the jury has already heard has pleaded guilty to phone-hacking. Goodman said he never had any professional issues with Miskiw or with the other defendants who have already pleaded guilty, Neville Thurlbeck and James Weatherup. The witness denied he had ever had any dealings with previous witness Dan Evans.

    The defence QC then asked about the culture of the News of the World while Andy Coulson was editor. Goodman said it was "competitive, fast and quite bullying and menacing, there was an extreme drive for results". He said if a reporter "did not deliver he would be hauled over the coals". This atmosphere, the witness said, came from the top of the paper, "from Andy". He told the court about a story regarding a "household name model" who it was thought was working as a "high class prostitute in Europe". When one journalist found out that the investigations team was working on the story, he phoned the model's agent and warned him. The story never made the paper. Goodman told the court that he had a good contact who he paid in cash and a news editor arranged to have a private detective agency, Southern Investigations, to follow him and find out his source's identity. "I was picked upon," the defendant told the court.

    Goodman was then asked about his conviction for phone-hacking in 2007 and he confirmed he was sentenced to four months in prison. He was sacked a few days later. He later appealed and received a settlement of £140,000. The defendant said he found it difficult to find work after this and could only secure part-time work with the Daily Star on Sunday, a job he lost after being arrested again in July 2011. The defendant said he was now the sole carer for his nine-year-old daughter.

    Goodman was then asked about the alleged purchase of a Royal family telephone directory in 2002 and the purchase of a Royal "green book" in 2003, which make up charge two on the indictment. The court was told that these contained addresses, landline numbers and some mobile telephone details of senior members of the "Royal household". Fifteen of these were found by police at Goodman's home when he was arrested in 2006. Goodman said most of the information in the directories could be found in other places but the books "gathered it all together". The defendant denied he had ever used any information from any of the directories for "hacking or blagging" or passed them to anyone else for that purpose. The telephone directory, Goodman said, contained staff details while the green books contained the details of senior members of the Royal household. "Upstairs downstairs?" the defence barrister asked. "Very Dowton Abbey," Goodman replied, adding: "You could see who was up and who was down, depending on what titles people were given."

    The court then took a short break.

    When the jury returned, David Spens QC, who is acting for Clive Goodman, asked his client how he used the Royal directories. Goodman gave the example of when Princess Diana was killed in a car crash in 1997. The press office, Goodman said, was closed so he used the details in the green book to contact the Queen's private secretary and arranged for a statement to be released. Goodman also told the court that after Diana's death there was a great deal of public concern that no flag was flying at half mast from Buckingham palace. A flag, the defendant said, did briefly appear and he used details from the Royal directory to locate the fireman who had raised it "and let him speak". He had also used the directory to expose claims from Prince Charles that he lived a "frugal lifestyle" by discovering he had "a valet, a deputy valet and an under-valet".

    Spens then asked the defendant if he had been asked questions about the directories by the police in 2006. Goodman said they had and had suggested they were obtained illegally. He was never prosecuted. Goodman told the court that none of the books came from a public official. The defendant told the court that when he joined the News of the World in 1986, the paper gave him the current green book. Two of the directories found at his home, Goodman said, came from one of Prince Charles' valets "who was thoroughly fed up with working for him".

    Another directory, Goodman told the court, came from Diana, Princess of Wales, who told him she "wanted to expose the size of her husband's household", adding: "She was going through a very bad time." The defendant said he could not recall where the other books came from but "not one" came from a policeman, as Royal protection officers and journalists did not have a good relationship. "They saw as a distraction from doing their jobs," he told the court. Goodman said the Royal bodyguards were "hostile" to him personally because if the News of the World ran exposés "it was bad news for their principles if we were looking at them". He gave an example of when he was following Prince Charles for a story when police blocked off his car with theirs, then locked their vehicle and drove off, trapping him. There were also instances during trips abroad where police had threatened him with arrest, he said.

    Court then rose for the day. All of the defendants 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 in London

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