Day 46: A close relative of Jude Law was secretly paid by the News of the World for supplying information about the actor, Andy Coulson’s lawyer suggested today. At the Old Bailey, Timothy Langdale QC wrote down and passed to the Hollywood star the names of three associates he suggested had been feeding information to the Sunday tabloid at the time his phone was being hacked.
One was a member of Mr Law’s “immediate family”, another a publicist and the third an employee “providing services” to Mr Law.
Appearing as a witness at the phone hacking trial, the actor said he had been made aware last year that a male family family member had been speaking to the press. But he added: “I was never aware of any money changing hands.”
He told the court he had been shocked, but not surprised, at the amount of information gathered on him by the News of the World’s private detective Glenn Mulcaire, who kept notes on him from 2000 to 2006. Some of the time he had been targeted, in 2003 and 2004, he had been “visiting America regularly for my work,” he added.
Dressed in a grey suit, Mr Law – whose appearance prompted 20 press photographers and TV cameras to gather outside the court – said he had become of intense interest to the press after he was nominated for an Oscar for The Talented Mr Ripley in 2001, saying: “It raised my profile somewhat.”
Asked what form that took, he told the court: “From the period around 2001 and increasing over the following four or five years the appearance of packs of photographers either in the street or in cars became a regular occurrence. Me, my family, nanny and friends would often be followed.”
His divorce from fellow actor Sadie Frost, the mother of his three children, and his subsequent relationship with Sienna Miller had attracted almost daily stories.
He told the jury: “There seemed to be an unhealthy amount of information which meant they had access to my life, my whereabouts, what I was doing and who I was with.”
Asked about Mulcaire’s notes, Mr Law said: “I was shocked to see how much information had been accumulated.” He added: “It didn’t surprise me,” explaining that his life had been so exhaustively covered in the papers.
Timothy Langdale QC, for Mr Coulson, asked Mr Law about a News of the World story on 9 October 2005 headlined “Sienna Cheats on Jude”, about a brief relationship Ms Miller had had with the James Bond actor Daniel Craig.
Passing Mr Law copies of that and another article, Mr Langdale told him: “I’m not going to ask you to read every word of it” – to which the actor replied: “I’d rather not.”
Mr Law confirmed that he had phoned Mr Craig – rather than left a message – to, as Mr Langdale put it, “express a view about his behaviour.”
Mr Langdale asked Mr Law: “Were you aware that that people associated with you were talking to the News of the World about this story?”
“No, I didn’t know that anybody around me was talking to the newspapers,” Mr Law said. “But I suspected it because there was such a constant flow of information about me, my family and those around me.”
Mr Langdale asked: “Were you not aware that a member of your immediate family was speaking to the press, to the News of the World about this time?”
He replied: “No, I was not aware of that.”
Mr Langdale passed him a note with the name of the family member – who was not named in public.
The actor said he had recently become aware that “there was some sort of communication” between the relative and the press, but – in response to a question from Mr Langdale -said he was not been aware he had been paid.
Mr Langdale then passed Mr Law a note containing the name of the publicist and the employee who were also said to have given information to the News of the World.
Mr Law said he was not aware at the time of either of them passing information to the press, though he said about the employee: “I have since discovered he had given to the media information about me.”
In answer to Andrew Edis QC, for the prosecution, Mr Law said he had not knowingly authorised anyone to speak to the press about Ms Miller’s relationship with Mr Craig.
Mr Coulson denies conspiring to hack phones. The case continues.