Hacking Trial Live Tweets – 18 Nov

Monday 18 November 2013

The Prosecution Case Continues
Back at the Old Bailey
Witness – Justin Walford (Barrister employed by NGN)
Prosecution Counsel questions Justin Walford
Counsel for Andy Coulson cross examines Justin Walford
Counsel for Stuart Kuttner cross examines Justin Walford
Counsel for Rebekah Brooks cross examines Justin Walford
Further Prosecution question to Justin Walford
Witness – Michael Gill (Group Financial Controller of News UK)
Prosecution Counsel questions Michael Gill
Counsel for Rebekah Brooks cross examines Michael Gill
Further Prosecution question to Michael Gill
Witness – Harry Scott (former NOTW journalist)
Prosecution Counsel questions Harry Scott
Counsel for Andy Coulson cross examines Harry Scott

The Prosecution Case Continues
Back at the Old Bailey
Big police presence, plus Nick Griffin and EDL outside Old Bailey today. Suspect nothing to do with #hackingtrial
Witness – Justin Walford (Barrister employed by NGN)
Prosecution Counsel questions Justin Walford
We’re back, with Anthony Edis QC, calling a number of former News International employees, starting with Justin Walford
Walford is a barrister employed by NGN since December 2005 in the legal department #hackingtrial
Walford used to report to Tom Crone, and was promoted in 2011 with responsibility for the Sun, and the NOTW when Crone was away
Walford: “Crone was technically legal director over all 4 titles – the NOTW, Sun, Times and Sunday Times… but spent most time with NOTW
Counsel for Andy Coulson cross examines Justin Walford
Langdale for Coulson cross examines Walford about Tom Crone: “He spent most of his time in the NOTW offices….”
Walford: “Crone had been there a very long period of time….I’d consult him for any major legal settlement, consult him on a big Sun story”
Walford: “Tom Crone worked a NOTW week starting on Tuesday and including Saturday.”
Langdale: “Was it clear that Andy Coulson valued his (Crone’s) advice and consulted him?” Walford: “Yes it was.”
Walford confirms that Coulson was keen to get stories “legalled”
Walford involved in ‘libel reading’ – getting hold of copy intended to be published, adding ‘alleged’, removing paras, with balanced quotes
Walford on no-win and no-fee arrangements: it would double costs. The burden on proof always on newspaper or broadcaster.
In practice Walford would instruct lawyers and counsel on pre-publication injunction threats, rather than do in house
Walford also dealt with post-publication legal complaints, and decide whether to settle or defend. If the latter, went to outside counsel
Walford would take instructions with editor and managing editor (Kuttner) of the NOTW – the latter about PCC complaints matters
Walford worked on the Express beforehand, and his advice was sought on PCC matters. He’d also deal with buy up contracts, usually predrafted
Walford confirms to Langdale QC that he advised on matters of conduct – such as drugs in undercover operations
Walford on investigations such a Mazher Mahmood “a number of convictions over the years through its journalism”
Walford would replace Crone when he was away, and assist libel readings when he was busy
Walford also gave advice about legality of methods of obtaining information: e.g. subterfuge, confidential material
The NOTW didn’t have night lawyer because of weekly publication, unlike the Sun.
Langdale QC: “So the Sun and NOTW had a full co-operation with the police?” Walford: “Yes… and convictions as a result”
Prior to arrest of Mr Goodman in 2006 and sentencing in 2007 Walford can “recall no time” when he was asked to give advice on phone hacking
Walford can’t remember anything than made him think that a story from this time (post 2006) had been obtained by phone hacking
Walford recalls Tom Crone gave training in a “school of excellence” which covered legal issues: do’s and don’ts of journalism
After the Goodman incident, Walford got involved in some training for NOTW because Tom Crone was busy
Walford says the PCC code on privacy, accuracy and undercover work was taken very seriously by the editors and the paper
Langdale asks Walford about “checking sources of information…” he agrees broad responsibility for this rested in the editorial team
Saunders confirms “conduct matters rested with editor and managing” but because of volume of material “departments and desk editors”
Walford “you tended to be bought into stories quite late…. so the focus is on libel and privacy…. on that copy for tomorrow”
Walford: “I don’t tend to find out about journalist’s sources… they’re very personal to them… and naturally very protective”
Langdale to Walford on sources: “If they made that information public it might come to the attention of the source….”
‘Might there come occasions when the provenance of the source became an issue?” Walford “Yes breach of confidence matters…”
Walford: “My experience is that by and large lawyers don’t go and try to find out the name of the source… court orders complicate matters”
Walford on dangers of court orders and knowing the name; “there was an added burden not to go into exact details of a source”
Walford said he never felt any financial pressure from the proprietors: “I give advice… if the editors don’t like it it’s their problem”
Walford agrees that “from what he saw” Andy Coulson took Tom Crone’s advice, and would take seriously legal advice
Counsel for Stuart Kuttner cross examines Justin Walford
Caplan representing Stuart Kuttner, former NOTW managing editor, asks Walford about how hard working he was.
Caplan asks Walford the ‘legalling’ process: Sun had night lawyers coming in at 6pm-10.15pm. But NOTW was legalled on a Saturday
Walford says that on a major story risking a superinjunction (mainly privacy problems) leading counsel would be bought in, even back in 2006
Walford said rise of superinjunctions came from a growing recognition in the noughties from lawyers of the power of privacy over libel law
In the Sun there is a ‘leg-in’ legal box, according to NI internal lawyer, with legal marks that needed to be checked before publication
On the NOTW “much to my shame” Walford says, he knew of no such ‘leg-in’ system. He’d make notes direct on copy and hand to sub.
Caplan, counsel for Kuttner, asks if most the copy would have been read by a lawyer. Walford says yes.
Caplan asks Walford about ‘cash payments’. Walford “in the case of kiss and tell, mainly the ladies who are paid…. but cash payments rare”
Walford on payments in general: “Not something the lawyers would generally get involved in… I can’t remember it coming into my orbit”
Walford agrees there has been a ‘change in culture’ in the use of cash payments after the Bribery Act became operational in mid 2011
“Your hearing means there has been a major change in attitude to cash payments,” Walford says.
Caplan turns to the role of the managing editor, and asks Walford if the title is misleading: “He’s not an editor in the true sense of word”
Walford: “The managing editor does all the business side of the newspaper… staff matters, budgets, contracts… a pretty tough job”
Walford says “Occasionally a managing editor will writer a leader … the political comment… and takes responsibility for it”
Walford agrees Managing Editor would oversee HR department and disciplinary matters, and with complaints made to PCC about NOTW
Caplan asks Walford about private investigators – Walford cannot remember any time he was involved in hiring them.
Walford says he doesn’t know enough about it to agree with Caplan “there are many legitimate functions for private investigators”
Caplan asks Walford about the Data Protection Act regulated by the information commissioner. Was he aware of the two reports in 2006?
Walford agrees that other bodies other than newspapers were criticised for their use of private investigators.
“My feeling there has been a considerable tightening up… of use of private investigators” in newspapers says Walford.
Counsel for Rebekah Brooks cross examines Justin Walford
Laidlaw, counsel for Brooks, asks Walford about his cross over with his client from 2005, when his work was with the Sun
Brooks was the editor of the Sun when Walford joined, and remained editor until 2009 when she became CEO.
Laidlaw asks about Walford’s work for the Sun about “professionalism and standards”.
Though associated with “page three” and “celebrity stories” Walford agrees the Sun is a “national institution… provide proper news.”
Walford: “the Sun…campaigned on certain issues and would expose wrong doing…had something to say to a certain section of the population”
“Most fair minded people would agree Sun has a high degree of professionalism… don’t get to work on it unless a very good journalist”
Walford an Brooks: “She was very passionate about the paper… and we had many arguments about what she wanted in the paper.”
Walford on Brooks: “Like most editors….she knew the rudiments of the law, as they jolly well should do. And the PCC code…”
Walford “to the best of my recollection I cannot remember being asked to advise on it (the legality of phone hacking)… or Mulcaire.”
Asked by Laidlaw about hearing about Mulcaire before 2006: Walford “My recollection is that I cannot remember it”
After the Goodman conviction, Walford “did ask a number of people” and was given assurances phone hacking hadn’t happened on the Sun
Laidlaw turns to the matter of ‘sources’: “sheer volume of stories published every year…. only respected department editors could monitor”
Walford replies: “The focus of the lawyers was…. inevitably on the final product rather than where the material had come from”
Laidlaw lays out the volume of NOTW stories, each edition with 200 or 300 hundred stories: “including sports stories… yes.”
Laidlaw explains that this is just published stories, many more went unpublished. He then turns back to the six day a week Sun newspaper
Laidlaw, QC for Brooks, points out that the Sun published hundreds of stories a week “and those are only the stories that made the paper”
Walford: “I learned at the NOTW that if you worried about a story during the week you’d find it never actually got published on the Sunday”
Laidlaw explores with Walford the reluctance of journalists to reveal their sources. “Journalists move between publications…”
Walford: “One of the extraordinary thing about the Sun and the NOTW was the tremendous rivalry between them… a fierce competition.”
Walford: “I’d worked in a newspaper group that did cooperated, when I worked at NI I was quite taken aback by the rivalry between (titles)”
Walford agrees to quesiton “it would be quite impossible for an editor to know the source of every story” – “yes, given number of stories”
Walford agrees he did approve the use of private investigators, hired by external lawyers, during litigation
Walford explains about “pre-notification… of a target of investigation” and the growth of privacy injunctions.
Walford explains the Reynold’s defence that gives the press a responsibility in libel to confront and publish a response
Walford’s line is that ‘pre notification’ is the Sun’s practice even though it can tip a target off and therefore risk a privacy injunction
Laidlaw points out that pre-notification means getting contact details of a subject, but Walford says “doesn’t jump out as a problem”
Laidlaw on lawyers “note keeping” in newspapers. “Something Lord Leveson pointed to… it is a problem. No systematic system.”
Walford: “Nine times out of ten I’d make marks on the copy on the computer… no systematic recording of advice.”
Laidlaw asks Walford about Sun’s campaigns – like Help the Heroes “Mrs Brooks very much the driver of those… a topic close to her heart”
Further Prosecution question to Justin Walford
Edis for the prosecution questions Walford about the most important thing; “Meaning… and then justification or truth,” he replies
Walford asked what is the key question in privacy: “Is the information you’re seeking to publish, is it itself private?”
Walford on the ‘balancing exercise’ in privacy issues: “is there some public interest, some wrong doing, that outweighs it”
For a prominent story, Walford would discuss a privacy issue with the editor
Edis asks about oversight of contracts, if they were non-standard. Walford says “I might become involved… depend on volume of work”
Walford on Tom Crone’s “School of Excellence” – he thinks precedes the arrest of Mulcaire and Goodman. “I wasn’t involved at that time”
Walford says the issue of phone hacking was included in the training sessions after the arrest.
Edis shows Walford the PCC code of practice for Dec 99 and restriction on clandestine devices and messages, except with public interest
Walford thinks there was some training by managing editors with members of the PCC after arrests, but maybe before.
Edis shows Walford the PCC code of practice 2003 – which is identical to the one four years earlier on phone hacking.
Anthony Edis QC, counsel for the prosecution, asks about ‘only department heads responsible for individual journalists.”
Walford agrees responsibility for department heads laid with the editor and managing editor
Walford explains the review of cash payments after the introduction of the Bribery Act, with a new code of practice.
Walford says Brooks was a “very demanding editor… strong personality, strong views, expected hard work everyone pulling in same direction”
Walford: “She tended to have legal problems dealt with by deputies… but wanted to know in outline the legal problems at the paper”
Walford was involved “very very briefly in phone hacking inquiry at NOTW… when the arrests happened… Tom was away….”
Saunders asks Walford if he advised on stories like taking a gun on a plane of part of an investigation. “Serious though to be given.”
Caplan has another question to follow up on “public interest” – he would seek “outside counsel….a silk to put his head on the block”
Ten minutes break
Witness – Michael Gill (Group Financial Controller of News UK)
Prosecution Counsel questions Michael Gill
Edis for the crown calls Michael Gill, group financial controller of News UK (formerly News International) since March 2008
Until 2006, Gill was a financial accounting manager – 2006-08 Financial accounting controller.
Gill is the group financial controller for both NGN and Times Group. He manages a large staff and computer system in Peterborough
Edis asks about NGN contributor payment process. Gill “our objective was ensure… payments properly authorised and processed.”
Gill “if process not properly authorised….” Edis “Payment wouldn’t be made: Gill: “That’s right”
Gill explains four different methods of payment 1/ Cash direct 2/Cash through Cook or WU 3/BACs 4/Cheque
Gill explains that a ‘desk head’ would often request payments. Back in 2001 a central team received requests based in London
Gill said the central processing team was disbanded in 2003 and put in respective titles sitting alongside desk heads
Originally the payment authorisation was manual, but became computerised in 2003.
Edis looks closer at the payment approval system and six policy documents. They are put on the screen.
Gill explains ‘approval authorities’ 2002 document, but can’t help for the policy before that date.
Gill explains that different expenses had different authorisers and ‘cost centres’, and limits to amounts.
“Exceptional items… should be signed off at a higher level,” according to the 2003 Payment Authorisation document.
System was then controlled by accounting manager in 2002 (not 03) – which was Michael Gill at the time.
Another document list the different employees authorised to make payments. Some had no limit to how much they could authorise – board level
Category 3 authorisers had a financial limit of 50k. Category 6 had a 5k limit to payments
Edis then brings ups some more notes on authorisation e) Contracts have to reviewed g) Contributors only related to stories and photos
Gill says that only people responsible for certain editorial areas could sign off contributor payments.
Edis now goes to a list of people in each category of authorisation according to department.
In a document dated April 2002: Kuttner and Brooks had 50k authority, everyone else except one was a category 6 lasted till 07/5
iPad not letting me post – on phone. In 2002 only Brooks and Kuttner had 50k authorisation – including year total payments
OK – let’s try again. Edis is now going through a series of payments made by NOTW news editors
I think i must have exhausted my twitter feed – both phone and iPad wouldn’t work. Hopefully you’ve all got the gist. Payment issues
According to NI policy regular monthly payments should have been referred upwards if total exceeded 5k desk limits
Break for lunch
Along with flags, Jerusalem on speakers, BNP Old Bailey protest banners call for the return of the death penalty
A slightly tetchy and buggy start to week four of the #hackingtrial with @twitter allowing me to RT but not post for a while
Can’t say the BNP protest outside the Old Bailey is overwhelming pic.twitter.com/juUY1ofucc
Back with Michael Gill – Edis summarises the contributor rules – each person would have an individual account in SAP software
Gills explains two ‘generic vendor account codes’ were used for NOTW and the Sun for cash payments if recipient not named
“If the recipient was named” cash payments would go onto an individual user account name, that the revenue could check for tax implications
An unnamed account required NI to pay the tax: the two generic anonymous codes were ‘confidential’ or ‘insufficient address details’
In pre 03 manual system of payments there was three copy carbon system: white (receipt), blue (accounts) and pink (editorial) copies
The approval for cash payments prior to 02 came from the managing editors office – Kuttner and Spink
In the early days, according to Gill, cash would be collected from a ‘cashiers office’ in Wapping until 2009
The money would be collected from the cashier’s office by a ‘runner’ or occasionally by a journalist.
After May 2009 when the cash office was closed, individual titles and their managing editors were able to dispense cash themselves
The cash office kept a weekly log of money sent and received, which would be sent to financial HQ in Peterborough on a weekly basis
Edis takes News UK’s financial accountant Michael Gill through old stamped invoices, Thomas Cook payment forms, and bank transfers
Counsel for Rebekah Brooks cross examines Michael Gill
Laidlaw, counsel for Brooks, cross examines Gill about the NI financial accounting system.
Laidlaw goes through the budgets of NOTW during the three years of Brooks’ editorship.
Laidlaw goes through NOTW first financial year of Brook’s editorship July 2000-June 2001 – revenue estimated at £161 million
Laidlaw points that editorial cost for NOTW £23.5m production £29m ink £46m promotions distribution – does not give libel figure
Apparently is NGN not NOTW Shared cost £32m Profit £39m minus £9m contingencies in 2000
Laidlaw points out that NOTW £20m editorial costs is subdivided to various desks at Wapping and regional offices
Editorial cost 98-99 was £20 million: £2.5 editorial managemeent. £2.9m features £3.3m 01-02 substantial overspend on budgeted figures
Overspend by about £3-4million on a budget of £29 million in 01/02. (Occasionally Laidlaw includes magazine, sometimes not)
Laidlaw goes back to last year of Brooks’ editorship of NOTW: financial year 02-03 with an editorial budget of just over £30million
The £26 million for the paper alone (without magazine) breaks down to features, news, sport and pictures taking more than half the budget
Laidlaw points out that one month for April 02 payments has 100 pages of request for payments for NOTW
The four weekly payments for Mulcaire are in this bundle of payments for April 02: to Nine Consultancy
Laidlaw, Counsel for Brooks “just a glance down that page shows the kind of sums for that single day.”
Laidlaw goes to two other £1,769 payments to Mulcaire in the mass of payments, some very small, others up to £7k
“These are four payments on a monthly payments among many hundred of payments” Laidlaw on Mulcaire in April 2002
Laidlaw takes Gill to a third binder of all payments authorised by Brooks during her editorship of News of the World
“Most of these appear to be expenses claims,” says Laidlaw of Brooks’ payment authorisations while she was editor NOTW
Gill confirms that Brooks never authorised a payment to Mulcaire either in person or to his consultancy according to computer records
Laidlaw says News International contributor payments procured by police for period 2001-2011: no documentation before 2002
Mulcaire never had employee status at NOTW, but paid by weekly payments around £1.7k, and additional one off payments.
The composite figure became ‘annualised’ in 2005: Mulcaire reached 100k and would need senior authorisation
The composite annualised policy ‘should have been there’ before 2005, it was implied but was not spelt out until then, according to Gill
Laidlaw asks about Brooks’ approach to the budget during her time as editor. But Gill can’t help him because not his responsibility
Further Prosecution question to Michael Gill
Edis shows Gill over Mulcaire’s 02 agreement: it’s for Euro Research and Information Ltd. Different from 9 Consultancy in invoice systems
The agreement documents the weekly sums mentioned in NI invoice records. Edis asks Gill who would have approved it
Gill on Mulcaire’s 02 contract “It would need editorial approval for the total amount… £92,000… for total amount of contract.”
Edis asks Gill about NOTW editorial costs: 98-99 £20m 99-00 £23m 00-01 supposed to be reduced £1.2m.
Expected NOW profit of £39m in 2000 only actually achieved £33m. Budget lowered to £30m for the following year: £1.5m less for editorial
Edis on Brooks’ authorisations for NOTW, asked if a similar document could be produced for her period at the Sun and Coulson. Gill: “yes
Edis produces a list of payments made to Mulcaire and associated companies, scrolls down to 4 payments made in 2002
Mulcaire’s entries are filed “research” sometimes “urgent”. All approved by Kuttner. Paid to Euro Research and Information (as per contract)
Witness – Harry Scott (former NOTW journalist)
Prosecution Counsel questions Harry Scott
Edis calls Harry Scott as a witness, a former NOTW journalist who joined in 1990, a subeditor, and then the night editor in mid 90s
Scott explains to Bryant Heron the difference between “Back and middle benches” – the sub would rewrite in house style
In the middle bench, the chief subs would supervise the subbing. The back benches would do production ‘packaging’
Scott explains it like a shop: “we’d make it look good and sound right” like composing shop windows.
Scott explains how the night editor would choose the right pictures and headlines
Scott “I have to be convinced in my own mind the story was right…. it’s going to be read by 9 million people. They’d come after you”
Scott; “If you had any questions about a story you’d go back to departmental head… Is this right?”
Scott, former night editor: “If it turned out to be a rumour in a pub… you can’t publish it. You’d talk to a lawyer, use you common sense”
Scott: “If it’s a PA story or Reuters, you trust them to do it right. Legal oversight of everything you run.”
Scott: “if you have a kiss and tell, and lots of quotes from the woman telling, you’d know it’s right… you can’t always know source”
Scott: “If the woman has signed an affidavit… and if there’s a picture of them kissing… you’d know it was right.”
“You tend to leave shortly after the editor,” Scott says about Saturday night deadline on NOTW
Scott thinks first edition off stone at 7.45 on Saturday night, but sometimes late. Second edition on sport 8, and third about 10.30 pm
Correction, Scott thinks second edition of NOTW was probably around 9pm
Counsel for Andy Coulson cross examines Harry Scott
Langdale, QC for Coulson, to Scott the night editor “I’m afraid I’ve got quite a lot of questions for you.”
Scott explains to Langdale more of the sub-editors job: a ‘taste queue’ of copy and then draw up a page with art department, and give to sub
Scott confirms that under the Hermes computer system you could see who edited, but Langdale says that copies of Hermes no longer available.
On the middle bench at NOTW: a chief sub, a deputy chief sub, an assistant chief sub – often no relation to what they did
On a Saturday for NOTW, according to Scott “every editor would be on the back bench…. except Colin Myler”
Scott lays out the logistics of the NOTW offices: Editor’s offices backed on back benches, then middle benches, and sub editors.
Scott lays out to left of back bench picture desk, news desk, and reporters arrayed at the old NOTW: to right the art desk, and production
There would be someone on the legal desk, according to Scott. Then political editor, Ian Kirby.
Scott then explains the ‘secret room’ which unlike others didn’t have a glass wall.
Scott then runs through the series of editors – Phill Hall, Rebekah Wade, Andy Coulson. Scott refused promotion because of family
An organisational chart from NOTW 06: Coulson editor, Wallis deputy: under him Gary Thompson with Harry Scott immediately below
Scott says “You couldn’t take anyone out of the system (at NOTW) we didn’t have much spare meat”
Scott goes through some of the NOTW news schedules around time of Milly Dowler with counsel for Coulson, Anthony Langdale QC
12.04.02 News schedule from the Friday has MISSING MILLY at number six, assigned to Arnold/Rose/Mabey
The same day but a bit earlier the NOTW news schedule has Milly Dowler story on at 8th position with same reporters
Back tomorrow

Note: All the defendants deny all the charges. The trial continues.

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Previous Posts
Hacking Trial Live Tweets – 12 Nov
Hacking Trial Live Tweets – 13 Nov
Hacking Trial Live Tweets – 14 Nov

Links: The Trial So Far | Full Trial Summary | Indexed Evidence | Breaking News

5 thoughts on “Hacking Trial Live Tweets – 18 Nov

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