Day 117, Part 2: Clive Goodman, the “rogue reporter” blamed by News International for phone hacking at the News of the World, lied when he gave evidence at the current phone hacking trial, the judge suggested today.
Summing up, Mr Justice Saunders pointed out to the jury that Mr Goodman – on trial for conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office – said he could not remember hacking anyone other than five royal aides and a minor royal.
But after being told he would face no further hacking charges, the judge added, Mr Goodman had remembered that he had intercepted the voicemails of Prince William, Prince Harry and Kate Middleton.
Mr Justice Saunders told the jury:
“He was telling you that he had forgotten that he had hacked Prince William, Prince Harry and Kate Middleton. I think it’s generally accepted that he couldn’t possibly have forgotten that, and he was telling you lies.”
The judge added:
“The fact that someone told you a lie in the witness box is something you must very much take into account when considering their other evidence.”
Earlier, the judge had pointed out that the News of the World’s editor, Andy Coulson, had agreed under the paper’s secret “Alexander Project” that Mr Goodman could pay £500-a-week to a source close to the young royals, adding that Mr Coulson had told the court he did not know the identity of the source.
He turned out to be the News of the World’s contracted private detective and phone hacking specialist Glenn Mulcaire.
The judge pointed out that it was unusual for one of the News of the World’s source to be paid a retainer, adding that in fact there were no other recorded instances of it happening.
He referred to an email exchange between Mr Goodman and Mr Coulson in which Mr Goodman had told his editor about a hacked royal story: “You and I know it is 100% fact.”
The judge pointed out that Mr Coulson had said “100% fact is just something people say in newspapers. It didn’t mean I knew about it [the hacking] or had seen the transcript.”
In another exchange the judge cited, Mr Goodman told Mr Coulson that information about a medical injury to Prince Harry had been “scammed” from his private secretary, Helen Asprey.
He said Mr Coulson’s position was that none of the references meant he knew the stories in question had come from phone hacking.
Mr Justice Saunders will continue to sum up Count 1 tomorrow, when he will deal with the cover-up at News International before and after Mr Goodman’s conviction for hacking in January 2007.
He told the jury that he would deal with the six counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice quickly – and that they would retire on Wednesday.
All defendants deny the charges.