Former News Of The World royal editor and convicted phone hacker Clive Goodman tells hacking trial of the rats-in-a-sack attitude to “industrial scale” phone hacking at the paper — they were even doing it to each other!
“It got to the level when [a senior journalist who cannot be named] was hacking the editor Andy Coulson’s phone.”
Goodman claims that, along with Sun editor Rebekah Brooks, David Cameron’s former director of communications was being hacked to find out what stories were coming up at Murdoch’s British tabloids.
Perhaps of more relevance to the outcome of the case, however, Goodman also told the court that he showed a transcript of a Prince Harry phone hack to Coulson:
The case continues.
David Cameron’s former director of communications Andy Coulson appeared on the Christmas 1997 special edition of sports panel show They Think It’s All Over – and whacked himself in the head with a mask of boxer Frank Bruno.
The then showbiz hack was attempting to illustrate a Sun scoop which revealed the boxer had quit the Spice Girls movie after one of his sons was refused the band’s autographs.
This was six years before the paper was forced to apologise for the headline ‘Bonkers Bruno Locked Up’ — a splash which Rebekah Brooks admitted in court last month was one of her worst mistakes.
An MoD official, charged alongside Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson as part of Operation Elvden, was involved with organising visits to Afghanistan for officials. Bettina Jordan Barber’s LinkedIn profile shows her to be an Afghanistan Visits Strategy Officer:
Operation Elveden is looking into allegations of inappropriate payments to police and public officials.
Jordan-Barber is alleged to have been paid £100,000 over a period of seven years.
With former News Of The World editor and Number 10 adviser Andy Coulson detained by Strathclyde Police for alleged perjury during the trial of Tommy Sheridan. Let’s take a look at what he told the court under oath.
On Glenn Mulcaire’s phone hacking:
“I never knew him as an individual, I never met him, I never spoke to him, I never heard his name until the Clive Goodman affair started. But I knew his consultancy was used in an entirely legitimate way during my time as editor.”
Asked about oversight “condoning” hacking in the newsroom:
“I don’t accept there was a culture of phone hacking at the NoW. There was a very unfortunate, to put it mildly, case involving Clive Goodman. No one was more sorry about it than me; that’s why I resigned.”
Quizzed on the testimony of former NOTW hack Sean Hoare, that Coulson told him to use the “dark arts”. Coulson said:
“I have absolutely no recollection of telling him that.”
On the hacking of Tommy Sheridan’s voicemail:
“I’m saying that I had absolutely no knowledge of it. I certainly didn’t instruct anyone to do anything at the time or anything else which was untoward.”
A perjury trial may well beget a perjury trial.
William Hague came out fighting for Rupert Murdoch after a report from MPs branded him “not a fit person” to run an international company. This is from the man who worked for the News of the World as one of their highest paid columnists, earning over £400,000 from it and his publishing deals.
Rowing back against efforts to pressure media regulators Ofcom over their “fit and proper” rule, Billy Fizz told Radio Five Live:
“They are great business people, let us be clear about that … people who run big businesses around the world are very capable people”
Hauge was brought to News Of The World by Andy Coulson in 2003. In his two years as a columnist Hague was paid an eye-watering £390,000 by the Murdoch red top — comprising four six-month contracts each worth almost £100,000. Hague is rumoured to have introduced Coulson to George Osborne, who fatefully brought him into Number 10.
Hague’s biographies of William Wilberforce and Pitt the Younger, written while he was on the backbenches, were published by Murdoch’s HarperCollins — boosting his income from NewsCorp companies to nearer £1m.
In backing NewsCorp, the foreign secretary follows in the tracks of fellow Murdoch columnist Michael Gove, who was one of Jeremy Hunt’s staunchest defenders after his bruising Commons statement last week. And while Louise Mensch’s books are published by Hachette, it is notable that her sister Tilly Bagshawe has transitioned from Hachette to Harper Collins.
We’re sure Mensch’s performances over the last year will not have debarred her from joining Murdoch’s stable of bestselling authors.
Read more: NOTW paid £20k to bury embarrassing photos »
The geographic scope of the Leveson Inquiry into the phone hacking scandal could be widened with the news that Scottish solicitor Aamer Anwar will be making a submission to the investigation. The high-profile legal activist said:
“We welcome the opportunity to make submissions to the Leveson Inquiry and will be highlighting the fact that criminality by the News of the World was not exclusive to England, but also rampant in Scotland.”
Anwar famously defended former Scottish Socialist leader Tommy Sheridan in his perjury trial, where the defence claimed that convicted hacker and NOTW employee Glen Mulcaire had accessed Sheridan’s phone illegally. Andy Coulson insisted that he had no knowledge of any hacking, and that Mulcaire had been paid for, erm, “legitimate services”.
As reported in August, Scrapbook understands evidence given by figures including Andy Coulson, Bob Bird and Douglas Wight may be of relevance to Strathclyde Police’s Operation Rubicon, the Scottish equivalent of the Met’s Weeting and Elveden inquiries into hacking, perjury and corruption.
To think that the “single rogue reporter” defence was still being used in July.
Ex-News of the World editors who gave evidence in the Tommy Sheridan trial are feeling the pressure as Strathclyde police steps up Operation Rubicon – the Scottish investigation into phone hacking and alleged perjury. Scrapbook understands that testimony given by figures including Andy Coulson, Bob Bird (former Scottish editor) and Douglas Wight (former news editor) may be of relevance to police inquiries.
More than 40 officers are currently assigned to the case, investigating evidence given during the trial as well as allegations of phone hacking north of the border. The number of officers attached has reportedly risen as high as 50 and there is a growing expectation that there will be arrests before too long.
The Herald reported last month that the Strathclyde force were not worried about a “Met-style scandal” - as contact between high level officers and the media had been “minimal.” Although Lothian & Borders police conducted the original Sheridan perjury probe, the Strathclyde force have been assigned the operation by the Crown Office because Coulson & Co’s alleged perjury took place in Glasgow High Court.
A lucky escape for Lothian & Borders who are doing their damndest to dodge questions about their relationship with News International.
The News of the World hacked multiple individuals connected with a libel trial, it has emerged. After Scots politician Tommy Sheridan told a court his mobile phone was targeted, the Daily Record has now reported that the newspaper also hacked its own star witness in the 2006 Sherdian v News Group Newspapers case.
The revelation raises questions as to the potential hacking of other witnesses and what knowledge former editor Andy Coulson had of this. The Murdoch-owned media group was ordered to pay £200,000 in damages to Sheridan over claims that he had attended sex clubs — but the former MSP is now serving a three-year sentence for perjury after he was convicted of lying under oath.
At his trial last year, Sheridan showed a courtroom notes apparently taken by convicted phone hacker Glen Mulcaire in 2004, which included his mobile phone number and voicemail PIN code. After testifying for the company in 2006, former socialist activist Fiona McGuire was recently told by police that she was also targeted by News International.
Asked at Sheridan’s 2010 perjury trial if the News of the World paid corrupt police officers, Andy Coulson replied “Not to my knowledge.” He also denied knowledge of “illegal phone hacking”, and did not accept that there was a “culture of phone hacking” at the paper. Then working for David Cameron in Downing Street, his legal fees were paid by News International despite growing evidence of criminality at the company.
As he bides his time in HMP Castle Huntly, doubtless we haven’t heard the last from Mr. Sheridan.