Day 110, Part 2: Andy Coulson, former editor of the News of the World, has faced two prosecution speeches at the phone hacking trial: one from the prosecution and a second from ex-royal editor Clive Goodman, his lawyer complained today.
Making his closing speech at the Old Bailey, Timothy Langdale QC, for Mr Coulson, told the jury that Mr Goodman had spent much of his time in the witness box making false allegations about his client.
In addition, he said, Mr Goodman’s lawyer, David Spens QC, had spent only an hour of his closing speech on the corruption charges against his client – and most of his court time attacking Mr Coulson.
Mr Goodman’s insistence that he was not seeking vengeance on his former editor was demonstrably false, Mr Langdale told the court.
The former News of the World reporter was, the jury might think, “seething with resentment for a number of years,” and was a “sly” witness who “turned and twisted the position” to try to protect himself.
He had told “lies” about the true extent of his phone hacking, he added, and falsely claimed that Mr Coulson had approved a project to hack members of the Royal Household, when there was no reasonable evidence to support that contention.
Mr Goodman, who is standing trial for two counts of conspiring to commit misconduct in public office, was sacked by the NoW in February 2007 after being jailed for intercepting the voicemails of royal aides.
Since going ill during the trial Mr Goodman has been told he won’t face any further hacking charges.
However he was named at the start of the case as a co-conspirator on Count 1, the hacking charge faced by Mr Coulson and others, meaning Mr Goodman could give evidence about hacking at the News of the World.
Challenging Mr Goodman’s claim that he was merely setting the record straight on hacking, Mr Langdale told the jury:
“Mr Goodman claimed he wasn’t taking any pleasure in giving evidence about Mr Coulson’s involvement in phone hacking. Well, you could have fooled me. His counsel, having spent one hour on the counts where Mr Goodman is a defendant, spent the rest of the day in an attack on Andy Coulson.”
The lawyer went on: “It must be pretty unusual in a case to have to face two prosecution speeches – one from the prosecution, the other from a rather different entity, a defendant who has nothing to with it, because he wasn’t charged in relation to count one of this trial.”
He added: “It suits the prosecution case very well that Clive Goodman’s gun was aimed at Andy Coulson.”
Since the prosecution knew that Mr Goodman was guilty of hacking on a far wider scale than he admitted in 2007, Mr Goodman must have thought he was “remarkably fortunate” not to be facing further prosecution, Mr Langdale said.
He went on:
“The prosecution must have been delighted that, in effect, Clive Goodman was employed as a surrogate prosecutor against Andy Coulson. Clive Goodman could say whatever he liked about him, without any come back.”
Jurors, the lawyer said, might well think that Mr Coulson correctly described Mr Goodman as “someone who was quite difficult to get a grip of”, who was “prone to exaggerate” and “a bit of a tricky customer.”
He asked jurors: “You saw that yourselves, did you not, in the witness box?”
Mr Goodman’s testimony on the extent of his hacking had been “inaccurate, unreliable, dishonest,” Mr Langdale said.
He reminded the court that before Mr Goodman went off ill for eight weeks he had asked the reporter whether he had hacked anyone else other than the five figures (four royal aides and Tom Parker-Bowles) he had admitted hacking.
Mr Goodman had replied: “It’s possible, but I don’t recall.”
Mr Langdale told the jury: “His counsel described that as a white lie. I’m going to describe it was a whopper. It’s completely untrue.”
Mr Goodman, the lawyer pointed out, had hacked Prince William and Prince Harry, and hacked Kate Middleton, Prince William’s then girlfriend, 155 times.
He had hacked Miss Middleton on “Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day”  and “Valentine’s Day” , Mr Langdale pointed out.
Mr Langdale said: “If it suits him, Mr Goodman will tell any lie.”
Mr Langdale is due to conclude his closing speech tomorrow. The defendants deny all charges.