Mr Goodman, who faces a charge of paying police officers for information, told the phone hacking trial that he felt the NoW’s editor Andy Coulson was manipulating him after his arrest in August 2006 so that he would take sole blame for hacking.
In subsequent court hearings, Mr Goodman pleaded guilty to hacking and was jailed for four months in January 2007. News International later claimed he was a “rogue reporter” who had strayed from the company’s strict ethics.
Giving evidence at the current trial, Mr Goodman was asked by Mr Coulson’s lawyer, Timothy Langdale QC, why he had tape recorded a meeting with Mr Coulson at a Cafe Rouge restaurant in Wimbledon on 14 August 2006 a week after his arrest.
Mr Goodman replied:
“I felt I was being manipulated by Mr Coulson into taking the full blame for hacking at the News of the World – which turned out to be the case. I felt the promises they [News International executives] were making to me weren’t genuine. I felt they were interfering in my legal case so I would take the blame and I didn’t trust them. I felt I needed some self protection.”
Asked where the tape was, Mr Goodman said that after a police search of his home and three house moves it had been lost, but he added that he had made a written note hours afterwards.
Asked why he had not at the meeting asked Mr Coulson to confirm his knowledge of phone hacking, Mr Goodman said:
“I think if I got into: ‘Andy Coulson, you knew all about phone hacking’ then that would have been the end of the conversation.”
Mr Langdale, in his last session of cross-examination of Mr Goodman, said: “I suggest your account of the Cafe Rouge meeting is not accurate.”
Mr Goodman told the court: “It’s completely accurate.”
He went on:
“Mr Langdale, at the time I was terrified. I was in a police cell for three days, arrested by armed anti-terrorism officers. I was facing financial ruin… and Andy was offering the only hope: ‘You may be one of the people who could come back [return to work at NoW]. It was a chance that I had to explore.”
Mr Langdale pointed out that following the meeting Mr Goodman’s sister Fran, chief sub-editor at the News of the World, had email Mr Coulson to say: “He was pleased you went to see him.”
Mr Langdale asked whether that was true.
Mr Goodman told the jury:
“No, it wasn’t true. She’s my sister, but she also works on the paper. She’s not going to say: ‘He thinks you’re a lying toad and you’re going to try to shaft him’.”
“Throughout this period I became increasingly suspicious of the intentions of News International, my solicitor, that somehow they were all acting together to put me in the middle of all this.”
Mr Goodman and Mr Coulson deny two counts of conspiring to commit misconduct in public office. Mr Coulson also denies conspiring to hack phones. The case continues.