30 Nov 2013

Mulcaire and Goodman: phone hacking trial week 5

From David Cameron’s private birthday party to what Rebekah Brooks thought about Andy Coulson’s government job: here’s the five things you need to know about week five of the phone-hacking trial.

1. News International dealt wtih Mulcaire and Goodman after arrests

The week’s evidence shed new light on how News International dealt with former royal editor Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire before and after they were jailed for ‘phone hacking in 2007.

Mr Goodman produced a recording made in 2006 following his arrest, but prior to his conviction, in which he telephoned his then-boss Andy Coulson. In the twenty minute recording, Mr Coulson said he had a “duty of care” towards him and that his “absolute intention is that we’re going to continue to employ you.”

The court was shown a receipt from then-Sun editor Rebekah Brooks for lunch at the RAC Club with Mr Goodman after his conviction. She claimed £67.40 for the meeting.

A follow-up email was read to the court, in which Mrs Brooks – then known as Ms Wade – stressed that she was making a “genuine offer of work/training from one old colleague to another”.

On Wednesday, the prosecution alleged that payment records showed the News of the World had continued to pay Mr Mulcaire following his arrest in 2006.

2. Andy Coulson is told police obtained ‘numerous voice recordings’

The jury saw an email from News International lawyer Tom Crone to Andy Coulson, sent on September 15 2006 following Clive Goodman’s arrest.

The taped phone call between the then-editor and Mr Goodman, played to the court on Monday, was made in November that year.

Mr Crone’s email featured information “from Rebekah… relayed to her by cops”.

The email purports to warn Mr Coulson that:
– police were “confident they have Clive and GM bang to rights on the palace intercepts”;
– raids on property of Glenn Mulcaire “produced numerous voice recordings and verbartim (sic) notes of his accesses to voicemails”;
– from Mr Mulcaire’s notes, the police had compiled “a list of 100-110 “victims””.
The police also had, according to the note, information about “£1m of payments” from the NOTW to Glenn Mulcaire.

3. Brooks thought Coulson ‘couldn’t survive’

In October 2010, David Cameron held a private birthday party at Chequers. Sixty guests attended, including Mrs Brooks. The court was told the dinner was held at a time of much “press speculation” about ‘phone hacking and the future of Andy Coulson.

One of the guests, Dom Loehnis, a “close friend” of the prime minister, told the court that he asked Mrs Brooks about whether Mr Coulson could survive in his job following revelations of ‘phone hacking.

Mr Loehnis told the court that the then-News International CEO said that she wasn’t sure he could survive.

Mr Loehnis said that Mrs Brooks told him that the story “wouldn’t go away” because at a “point in time” people had discovered how to get into mobile phone voicemails by typing in a default pin code.

“Who knew how many people had done it?” she asked, according to Mr Loehnis.

4. Brooks speaks publicly about phone-hacking

In addition to the prime ministerial birthday, the prosecution alleged Rebekah Brooks discussed telephone hacking at another social event.

Eimear Cook, former wife of golfer Colin Montgomerie, told the court she had attended a lunch with Mrs Brooks and their mutual friends Rafi and Jo Mannoukian.

Mrs Cook alleged that Mrs Brooks told her “how easy it was” to listen to the voicemails of the rich and famous, and said that she “couldn’t believe famous people who had all of these advisers” didn’t realise that they needed to “personalise or change their pincode to make it more secure”.

In cross-examination Jonathan Laidlaw QC, for Brooks, repeatedly accused Mrs Cook of telling lies and embellishing her account. He added that one of her claims – that Mrs Brooks had joked at the meeting about being arrested for assaulting her then-husband Ross Kemp – was impossible, as the arrest hadn’t happened at the time.

5. Surprising targets for investigation

Glenn Mulcaire, the prosecution alleged on Wednesday, was paid thousands of pounds to investigate the killers of James Bulger.

They were codenamed “Emily and Alex”, according to Detective Sergeant James Guest.

And on Thursday, the court was told that the News of the World’s deputy editor Neil Wallis was hacked by the News International “private wire line”.