Day 81, Part 2: News International’s head of security today denied burning documents that incriminated the company in his back garden.
Mark Hanna told the phone hacking trial that a security guard working for the newspaper group was wrong to say that he had disposed of any papers at his home.
The guard, Robert Hernandez, told the trial in January that while having a drink with Mr Hanna on the night of the final edition of the News of the World he had said: “He dug a hole in his garden and burnt stuff.”
Mr Hernandez, who was called as a prosecution witness, went on to say: “I don’t know what it was. For all I know, it could have been bank statements.”
Mr Hanna, giving evidence at the Old Bailey, was asked by his counsel William Clegg QC: “Did you ever burn incriminating documents from News International at your home?”, to which he replied: “No.”
Mr Clegg continued: “Did you ever dig a hole in your garden and burn anything incriminating, or anything, from News International,” to which Mr Hanna told the court: “Never.”
In answer to further questions from his barrister, Mr Hanna said that he had only gone out for a drink with Mr Hernandez once and that he did not count him as a friend.
In other evidence, Mr Hanna, 50, from Buckingham, said that his work for NI’s headquarters at Wapping had increased greatly in the run up to July 2011.
He usually worked 15-hour days seven days a week, he told the court, but he added that in April 2011 he had organized extra security for the chief executive Rebekah Brooks and other executives after three News of the World journalists were arrested for phone hacking.
The Old Bailey heard that after the Guardian story about Milly Dowler on July 4 2011, Mr Hanna emailed colleagues warning them that the risk to the newspaper group and its staff had “increased dramatically” and that they were “ready to do whatever it takes legally” to protect the company, its assets and its staff.
Mr Hanna contracted security firms to guard Mrs Brooks and her husband Charlie on the weekend of 16 and 17 July, as she prepared for a select committee hearing on the following Tuesday.
That weekend, he told the court, he and fellow guards worked 12-hour shifts patrolling the perimeter of the manor house where the Brooks’s were staying round the clock.
Asked when he had believed the couple were going to leave Enstone Manor, Mr Hanna replied: “On the Monday” [18 July.]
The court has previously heard that on Sunday 17 July, Mrs and Mrs Brooks and Mr Hanna and their guards travelled to London, when Mrs Brooks was arrested.
Mr Brooks then hid his bags from the police – leading to an allegation of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice which Mr Brooks, Mrs Brooks and Mr Hanna deny.
Mr Hanna, whom the court heard had an “exemplary” record during 12 years in the Coldstream Guards, which included being mentioned in dispatches during the first Gulf War, will continue giving evidence tomorrow.
Reblogged this on Vox Political.
Reblogged this on David Hencke and commented:
Here Mark Hanna head of security at NI flatly denies claims by another witness that he destroyed incriminating documents to protect News International.