Day 101, Part 2: It seemed the “first instinct” of News of the World executives after the arrest of phone hacking royal editor Clive Goodman and private detective Glenn Mulcaire was to launch a cover-up, the Old Bailey heard yesterday.
On the first day of his closing speech, prosecuting counsel Andrew Edis QC analysed the behaviour of Andy Coulson, Stuart Kuttner and Rebekah Brooks in the weeks and years after the Metropolitan Police launched the dawn raids.
Mr Edis said: “It appears that the first instinct of Mr Kuttner and Mr Coulson, knowing of the arrests, was to start covering things up. Keeping Mr Goodman and Mr Mulcaire sweet.”
Referring to Mrs Brooks’s lunch with Mr Goodman in March 2007, weeks after he left prison, Mr Edis continued: “And we know that the following year Mrs Brooks gets herself involved in it too with her job offer.”
The offer “chimes oddly, you might think,” he told the jury, with a letter sent by the Sun, edited by Mrs Brooks, to the Press Complaints Commission saying that any Sun journalist found breaking the law was liable to instant dismissal.
Of her deal to settle Max Clifford’s civil claim for hacking, Mr Edis said: “We suggest that the settlement in the Clifford case was to stop the truth coming out.”
Turning to the allegations that Mrs Brooks’s PA, Cheryl Carter, removed her boss’ notebooks from News International’s archive in July 2011, Mr Edis suggested that it had been done because they knew that she was about to be investigated by the police herself.
In her evidence, Mrs Carter said the boxes contained mostly clippings of her own beauty column in the Sun, rather than Mrs Brooks’s journalistic notebooks. The contents of the boxes have not been recovered by police.
Mr Edis reminded the jury that the Record Transfer Form when the boxes were archived on 2 September 2009, when Mrs Brooks became NI’s chief executive, read: “All notebooks from Rebekah Brooks (nee Wade) 1995-2007.”
Mr Edis asked: “Why would you write: “All notebooks Rebekah Brooks if they weren’t?”
He dismissed Mrs Carter’s claims that she had chosen 8 July 201 – the day Mr Coulson was arrested, the eve of the News of the World’s final edition – as “a quiet day” to remove the boxes was “patent rubbish.”
He also rejected Mrs Carters and Mrs Brooks’s assertions that Mrs Brooks had known nothing at the time about the removal of the boxes.
Mr Edis said: “There is no way that a loyal PA such as her would have been doing this without her instruction. It is just inconceivable.”
The defendants deny all the charges. The case continues.