Hacking Trial Live Tweets – 20 May

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Tuesday 20 May 2014

Rebekah Brooks Closing Statement
Jonathan Laidlaw QC presents the Closing Statement for Rebekah Brooks
Laidlaw’s view of the Prosecution Case
Closing Statement on Count 1
Hacking under Brooks Editorship

Rebekah Brooks Closing Statement
Jonathan Laidlaw QC presents the Closing Statement for Rebekah Brooks
Jonathan Laidlaw QC is on his feet, opening his address to the jury at the #hackingtrial for his client Rebekah Brooks
Laidlaw tells the jury that they will “deliberate at their own pace, in your own time, and we will wait for you”
Laidlaw commends the jury for their attention when the sequence of the trial was lost, delays, half days, and bogged down in evidence.
“We all appreciate you’ve done that at some cost to your own lives” says Laidlaw to jury: “You’ve given up a lot”
Laidlaw asks the jury to imagine they were in the public gallery “watching the trial of a member of your own family, a friend, a loved one”
“From up there you would be reassured by the care the jury have taken… and the commitment they have given” says Laidlaw.
Laidlaw talks of “attention from the media in all its modern forms.. inaccuracy, bias, outright cruelty and vitriol” about coverage
“Can anyone be strong enough to avoid being influenced by it” says Laidlaw of media coverage of the case.
BREAKING: “She is starting at a disadvantage… and cannot win” says Laidlaw for Brooks of media coverage of the #hackingtrial
Laidlaw’s view of the Prosecution Case
“The way the prosecution have behaved… leaves you thinking they have not considered it objectively” says Laidlaw
“Their attitude has been theory first, evidence later” says Laidlaw saying the prosecution has been “twisting and turning”
Laidlaw claims the prosecution has called liars, and that police officers have “misled” to prove “Brooks must be guilty no matter what”
Laidlaw says there is one place you can trust if viewing this as a relative – the jury and the oath they have sworn
“The law is you cannot convict anybody unless you are sure of guilt” says Laidlaw: “unless you are sure… cannot rule out any alternative”
Laidlaw illustrates one of the “worst examples of the prosecution’s attitude to Rebekah Brooks… symptomatic”
Laidlaw turns to the evidence of DC Pritchard from January and the “search for the dawn raid” in Oxfordshire 13/03/12
Laidlaw talks of the search warrant Pritchard got from magistrates court
“You will be completely forgiven if you forgot his reply” says Laidlaw of Pritchard’s response to magistrates
Pritchard told the jury that “user activity” on Brooks’ NI computers did not reflect recent use of her.
Laidlaw says that the prosecution didn’t correct DC Pritchard about Brooks’ computer usage and he had to correct him.
“That evidence showed that DC Pritchard was completely wrong” says Laidlaw of Brooks NI computer usage: new admissions show it.
The MacBook Air “in usage heavily at the time of her arrest… was where she left it” says Laidlaw of Brooks computer.
“There were documents on that computer with direct relevance to this case… in the weeks running up to her resignation” says Laidlaw
Laidlaw says there were documents on that computer dating back throughout her time at NI:
Pritchard’s “challenge to us…. you prove that I’m wrong” characterises the whole prosecution case says Laidlaw
“That is not how a criminal trial is supposed to work” says Laidlaw of prosecution case “a trial on evidence not on theory” he says.
“It’s not for me to say why the prosecution has lost their way” says Laidlaw: “But they have lost their way in their case against Brooks”
“DC Pritchard is far from being alone… there are many many examples of theorising in Mrs Brooks’ case” says Laidlaw of Dowler, Blunkett
Laidlaw calls it “extraordinary” that the prosecution stood by the account of a “lying witness” Eimear Cook.
Laidlaw says “much nonsense… complete nonsense” has been said about this trial and “awful things said about Rebekah Brooks
Laidlaw says Brooks doesn’t “ask for special treatment” and asks the jury to “guard against mistakes made by those in this court”
Laidlaw tells the jury to afford his client that “protection” of a “fair mind” and “complete concentration on the evidence”
Laidlaw returns to the “publicity” accorded to this case, you should have expected “a welter of evidence… from massive inquiry”
Closing Statement on Count 1
BREAKING: Laidlaw says there was no “smoking gun” against Brooks, but a circumstantial case “she must have known”
Laidlaw cites Edis’ closing speech on Count One and his “best case” on Brooks’ “four different news editors guilty of phone hacking”
“If the four news desk heads were guilty… their bosses must have know it too” says Laidlaw and cites Edis’ “over the top” murder analogy
“It just doesn’t follow… you must not assume Brooks is guilty just because Miskiw and Thurlbeck are guilty” Laidlaw tells the jury
Hacking under Brooks Editorship
Laidlaw says the guilty pleas of Thurlbeck and Miskiw don’t tell you how much hacking they were involved in during Brooks’ editorship
Laidlaw says the hacking activity didn’t really take off until Brooks left, and she could have easily been unaware.
“You must first decide how much hacking was taking place under her editorship” says Laidlaw – affecting the “must have known” claim
Laidlaw tells the jury that “Mulcaire’s hacking activity during Brooks’ editorship of NOTW was a rare event”
Laidlaw says that despite the “enormous effort” prosecution has put into their case, only one case remains “Milly Dowler story”
“It was published when she was thousands of miles away in Dubai” says Laidlaw of Milly Dowler: “Can that really be a coincidence?”
“It’s not just that there was just one hacking story during her editorship” says Laidlaw, Mulcaire did very little hacking.
“Hacking did not take place at the Sun” Laidlaw says twice:”the practice did not follow Brooks from one paper to another”
“Can that be a coincidence?” asks Laidlaw of it not following her to the Sun, and it being rare under her editorship.
Laidlaw talks of four chapters in Count One: 1/ extent of hacking 2/ Brooks’ knowledge of Mulcaire 3/ Dowler, Gilchrist etc 4/ Eimear Cook
Laidlaw says he’s grateful that Mulcaire notes still exist for period of Brooks’ editorship – she’d be at a disadvantage otherwise.
Without Mulcaire’s notes and “their completeness”, Laidlaw says they “do have the evidence of amount of hacking activity… very little”
Laidlaw says Mulcaire was a “prolific note-taker” even though they were sometimes not clear.
Laidlaw says Mulcaire always wrote down information needed to hack phones “not the kind of thing you can recall from memory”
Laidlaw talks of the hacking records before 13/01/03 when Brooks left NOTW: he says only Dowler and Gilchrist have records of voicemails
Laidlaw says there are only 12 occasions out of 550 taskings during Brooks’ editorship which look like hacking.
Laidlaw points out that in early days of mobile phones you didn’t necessarily need a DDN, and could use default PINs
Laidlaw says these alternative notes “do not undermine” the lack of hacking entries by Mulcaire under Brooks’ editorship.
Laidlaw brings up an example of a Mulcaire notebook entry for Charlotte Church to show the jury.
A break while a detail of Mulcaire’s notes on the screen can be brought to Jury’s attention
Back after the break at the #hackingtrial – Laidlaw is analysing a Mulcaire note on Charlotte Church and “nature of information recorded”
This Church tasking dated 27/02/02 – and has an Orange Platform number. 31/12/02 a tasking for Amanda Holden shown to the jury
Star 9 is written on this tasking for Amanda Holden: “important information” because people could access their own voicemail that way
Third Mulcaire note adduced by Laidlaw for Brooks: 08/01/03 tasking for Mandy Mowler and Orange Platform number.
Laidlaw says these three taskings from the last three months of Brooks’ editorship show “generic” access to voicemails
Laidlaw: “This demonstrates that Mulcaire felt it necessary to record generic information in his notes… and writing it down makes sense”
“It’s his reference for future taskings… so the absence of basic information elswhere is significant, very significant” says Laidlaw
Laidlaw says this means “phone hacking is unlikely to be going on where there is no such information” – i.e. 538 times during Brooks’ NOTW
“Mr Edis did not address you once on those numbers” says Laidlaw but to “to later numbers” and the evidence of DC Fitzgerald.
On 191 day between Feb 05 and August 06 – 88 UVNs hacked on 1400 occasions: Edis said they “shone a light” on Mulcaire’s activities.
“That cannot impact on your assessment of evidence in Mrs Brooks’ case” says Laidlaw of later hacking when she’d left for the Sun
“You cannot just assume the amount of hacking carried out on 05/06 was the same amount going on on 2000-03” says Laidlaw
Of Direct Dial Numbers, Laidlaw says Mulcaire had acquired “not a single one” during Brooks’ editorship.
Laidlaw says Edis’ numbers “utterly irrelevant to Mrs Brooks’ case”
Laidlaw refers back to Edis’ opening speech saying that Mulcaire wouldn’t have been able to access every phone he was tasked to.
Laidlaw says that Mulcaire’s contract would have been brought to an end with the limited hacking he did 2000-03 had that been his key role
BREAKING: Evidence proves “Mulcaire was not employed to hack phones…. until after Mrs Brooks had left the paper” says Brooks QC Laidlaw
“There was nothing to link Mrs Brooks to any tasking… of Mulcaire, and when she was in charge there was hardly any hacking’ says Laidlaw
None of the 12 hacks says Laidlaw during Brooks’ editorship resulted in NOTW story, except Milly Dowler.
Laidlaw adduces a schedule of Mulcaire’s produced by DC Oskiewiscz from 1999-2002
Laidlaw runs through the numbers on this Mulcaire schedule from over 3000 pages from various notebooks and loose paper.
Of those 3000 notes, 2200 have names of NOTW news desk editors – two of whom did not join NOTW until after Brooks’ departure.
There are 600 tasked entries in Mulcaire’s notebooks during Brooks editorship – 4 before she joined: 1600 for Coulson’s editorship/undated
Of those 600 Mulcaire notes for Brooks’ editorship, 50 are duplicates: giving 550 taskings by Miskiw and Thurlbeck – 50% no mobile phone
Laidlaw says DC Oskiewiscz only identified 12 entries where there had been preparation for a hack or a hack had taken place.
Laidlaw cites Nicholas Natchell tasking 08/02/02 “first significant evidence of a hacking tasking”
“It’s almost two years after Mrs Brooks started as editor of paper: 5-6 months after first Mulcaire contract” says Laidlaw.
Laidlaw says there is “absolutely no evidence” that Mulcaire’s contract was for phone hacking.
“If Mrs Brooks was responsible for phone hacking at NOTW, she certainly took a long time to introduce it” says Laidlaw.
Sally and Robert Dowler notes of Mulcaire adduced by Laidlaw: “it did of course uniquely lead to an article being produced”
“The important thing to remember” says Laidlaw “there is nothing… I underline nothing… that was obviously sourced from the hacking”
Laidlaw turns to the Charlotte Church hacking details, seen a few minutes ago. “Two linked stories… in NOTW”
Laidlaw says there’s nothing obvious in these Charlotte Church NOTW articles to suggest a hack.
Laidlaw turns to Mulcaire’s notes on Amanda Holden: there are five linked NOTW stories in 2002: “nothing obvious to indicate a hack”
An email is referenced in NOTW article – an email address for Amanda Holden is contained in Mulcaire’s notes.
CORRECTION: that second Mulcaire target wasn’t Holden – Laidlaw changed the order – Holden only has two NOTW stories linked.
Laidlaw says it’s important that nothing appeared reliant on hacks because Edis says the editor’s job was to know a story was true or not.
“The point is that for each of these three stories… if no information had landed up in story” editor would have never known source.
“To borrow the language of prosecutions own document… entries of significance, there are a total of just 12” says Laidlaw.
“They have fallen a long way short of proving hacking was prolific under Mrs Brooks. That matters a lot” says Laidlaw.
“They cannot prove from the volume of evidence she must have known” says Laidlaw of prosecution case against Brooks.
“It’s the kind of rare event which could have easily escaped the attention of Mrs Brooks” says Laidlaw.
Laidlaw answers Edis’ rhetorical question: “if he wasn’t a phone hacker, was else was he doing?”
“That was a completely false point for the prosecution to have made to you” says Laidlaw.
Laidlaw says Edis’ evidence is “completely contradicted” by his police witness DC Oskiewiscz.
Laidlaw explains to the jury the role of “blagging” and the Fake Sheikh pretexting at NOTW.
Laidlaw says that there “many more notes that could be linked to blagging rather than hacking…. 176 taskings by Miskiw to blag”
“That’s quite a lot more than the 12 taskings in total that have anything to do with hacking” says Laidlaw.
“The prosecution’s claim that Mulcaire was hired solely to hack phones contradicted by their own evidence” says Laidlaw: “not a great start”
Laidlaw adduces another Mulcaire note about a prisoner who had served time with Lord Archer – Chris Mitchell.
Laidlaw says this is Mulcaire doing tracing and other investigative work.
Another Mulcaire note on Kelly – “Muclaire has been tasked to get flight information” says Laidlaw.
Another Mulcaire tasking seems to be a request for background information, age, children, address and ‘income support’
Sara Cox is the target of another Mulcaire tasking – “all about the car…. an Audi”
Another prisoner is targeted in a Mulcaire tasking but “nothing whatsoever to do with hacking” says Laidlaw.
The Earl of Strathmore is a target of a Greg tasking – the locations where he could be that weekend.
Another television celebrity targeted in a Mulcaire note – addresses and the like
Laidlaw adduces another Mulcaire tasking which seems to be “tracing information” only
Brian Moore or Noble? seems to be the subject of another tasking of Mulcaire for addresses and previous occupation
“We’ve looked at ten or so entries” says Laidlaw of tracing.
Laidlaw speaks of the “own goal scored by Edis in his cross examination” and the use of Mulcaire to trace paedophiles for Sarah’s Law.
Laidlaw shows the jury the name of an alleged paedophile, age and address in Mulcaire’s book – clearly associated with Sarah’s Law.
Laidlaw mentions another Mulcaire tasking over two Soham cops alleged to have visited a child pornography site.
18/09/02 Thurlbeck tasking of Mulcaire about tracing details on a Soham cop shown to a jury.
Laidlaw talks of “the most generic terms… in Mulcaire contract… research and information”
Laidlaw says that Edis tried to suggest that generic term for Mulcaire was “suspicious”: Laidlaw says it takes him nowhere.
Laidlaw says Mulcaire did ‘binology” so a lawyer would not “delve into those grubby details” and would use neutral term “research services”
Laidlaw says that “research services” doesn’t undermine the fact only 12 Mulcaire entries for phone hacking during Brooks’ editorship.
Laidlaw points out that NI lawyer writing to Coulson about Mulcaire’s contract being “safe… neutral” was in 2006: nothing to do with 00-03
“Whatever Mr Edis may wish” says Laidlaw “Mulcaire’s notes demonstrate phone hacking rarely occurred during… Brooks’ era”
Laidlaw says hacking was carried out by a man “well removed from NOTW office” and “could well have occurred without her knowledge”
Laidlaw moves to second chapter of Charge One: “did she know anything about Mulcaire… the name of his companies”
“No direct evidence… not a single document that referred to Mulcaire, albeit obliquely, no emai… circumstantial” says Laidlaw.
“The question did Mrs Brooks know about Mulcaire is much more important to the prosecution” says Laidlaw.
Laidlaw: “It’s very important to the prosecution to demonstrate Mrs Brooks knew about the man… and must have known what he was doing”
Laidlaw says from defence point of view, it’s not important whether Brooks knew of Mulcaire: “He was not hacking much during her era”
Laidlaw reminds jury that Brooks said she did use inquiry agents at NOTW “they were widespread in the newspaper industry”
Laidlaw points out the use of PIs was tightened up because of abuses in Fleet St “and in other industries”
Laidlaw reminds the jury of Brooks evidence that Mulcaire contract “should have been brought to her attention but wasn’t”
“But even if it had been brought to her attention” says Laidlaw of Mulcaire contract: “it wouldn’t have caused her any concern”
Laidlaw turns to September 2001 Mulcaire contract.
Laidlaw points out there is no reference to Mulcaire and the services in this contract were only ‘research and information’
Brooks signature was not on Mulcaire’s contract, and it was stored at the news desk.
Laidlaw addresses Edis charge that Brooks was “hands on” and would have known about a £92k contract – ignores the evidence of £33m budget
Laidlaw says there is a “mass of evidence” Brooks gave a “high degree of discretion over expenditure to each departmental head” at NOTW.
Laidlaw revisits email from Brooks at NOTW to her editors “you may divide the money as you see fit… cutting your cake in different ways”
“It really will be like running your own business” says email. “Couldn’t be clearer” says Laidlaw about “weekly spend limits”
Kuttner would be in charge of inspecting budget 31/05/01 email says, making clear desk heads must not exceed weekly spend limits.
Laidlaw goes to the final paragraph of exceeding weekly spend limits in 2001: then the editor would have to be approve
Laidlaw points out that in 2001 every payment went through managing editors department: “the position not the same… for the editor”
The only occasion editor would be asked to authorise, says Laidlaw, was then desk heads exceeded weekly spending limits.
Miskiw writes to Brooks over a ‘Bulger’ story and £7.5k payment – Miskiw had not sought prior approval from editor email proves
“I hope you can afford it, I’ve stressed the budget rules again and again” writes Brooks back to Miskiw.
Laidlaw says this £7.5k payment corresponds to a written contract Miskiw had entered into with Mulcaire.
Miskiw had signed a contract with ‘Paul Williams’ AKA Mulcaire for £7.5k for Bulger story.
Laidlaw says “on a proper analysis” this £7.5k “actually helps illustrate Brooks did not know about Glenn Mulcaire”
Laidlaw says Miskiw entered into contract on Wednesday – was capable of entering the contract without impact by editor.
Laidlaw says this is a “concrete illustration” of Miskiw contracting Mulcaire without involving Brooks.
Laidlaw says that if Brooks knew about Mulcaire “why did Miskiw omit to mention” that it “was a special payment to our hacking man”
“Why not say our special voicemail agent was deployed in search of this story?” asks Laidlaw of email exchange between Miskiw and Brooks.
Laidlaw cites another email that proves Brooks was “completely ignorant” of Mulcaire’s role in Bulger story.
Laidlaw cites email from Brooks asking Kuttner to criticise Miskiw for “paying £7.5k for Bulger and everyone had it”
“The James Bulger story wasn’t worth the money they paid for it” says Laidlaw. If she had known source was Mulcaire, she would understand.
Laidlaw says this email proves that “Mrs Brooks had no idea… no idea at all…. of the arrangement Miskiw had with Mulcaire”
Laidlaw addresses Edis’ claim that Mrs Brooks “cooked the books” to hide Mulcaire payments.
“That kind of pithy phrase that Mr Edis is good at deploying… cooking the books” says Laidlaw.
Laidlaw agrees that original retainer for Mulcaire should have been brought to Brooks’ attention, even to people senior to her.
“She should have been told about the annual contract because of its value, ” says Laidlaw “because it exceeds the editor’s 50k limit”
Laidlaw says Edis’ claim that this means NOTW “cooked the books… is something of a red herring”
Laidlaw says that annual value of Mulcaire contract may have been “overlooked”, and that there was a “lack of clarity” about the rules
Laidlaw reminds the jury that Kuttner thought that a contract in excess of £50k wouldn’t be escalated above him: an element of confusion
“Why would Greg Miskiw hide the fact” of Mulcaire’s contract “from anyone Mulcaire not a phone hacker at time contract was signed”
Even if Mulcaire was hacking earlier, the contract says nothing about phone hacking; nothing on the “face of the document… sinister”
“You don’t hide a camouflage do you? You show the camouflage to hide the truth,” says Laidlaw of Mulcaire contract.
Laidlaw says that both Kuttner and NI lawyer knew about this contract in 2001: so who were they trying to hoodwink by cooking the books.
Laidlaw asks the jury to consider the proposition that the books were cooked to hide contract at a higher level.
The contract is “innocuous” says Laidlaw, so there was no need to cook the books.
Laidlaw says Mulcaire contract was “error or misunderstanding rather than deliberate deceit”
Break till 2pm
Back at the #hackingtrial after lunch: Jonathan Laidlaw QC is continuing his closing speech for Rebekah Brooks.
Laidlaw talks of Geoff Sweet, NOTW journalist, who wrote the article on Mulcaire who said that Mulcaire was “generally known”
Rob Beasley, Sweet’s boss, said he’d never heard of Mulcaire till his arrest.
Laidlaw suggests that Mulcaire may have “bragged” to Geoff Sweet about how well known he was at NOTW.
Even if he was known, says Laidlaw, it would have been as a private detective rather than phone hacker.
Laidlaw says of Mulcaire being mentioned in a NOTW article: Harry Scott, Night Editor, had never heard of Mulcaire either.
When he saw the article Scott said: “Oh yeah, Mulcaire”: he had no idea Mulcaire mentioned in 18/08/02: two days after Soham victims found.
“The whole paper had to be rearranged to accommodate finding of bodies of Soham murders, and 40 football matches” says Laidlaw
Laidlaw says it’s unlikely any of the senior staff would have seen the article, and Mulcaire’s hacking was rare in those days.
Laidlaw now turns to the Milly Dowler story: he wants to address two questions “that I hope and predict you will ask yourself” he tells jury
“Can the prosecution prove Mrs Brooks….was party to agreement to hack before the hacking occured?” asks Laidlaw of Dowler: “No,” he says
The second question Laidlaw wants the jury to ask themselves of Dowler is why Brooks wasn’t told: “Why might that be?”
On the foreknowledge of hacking, Laidlaw says wasn’t there “Let’s look at the evidence shall we, and see if we’re right”
Laidlaw draws the jury to the 9 page version of the Milly Dowler timeline.
“The hacking of Milly’s phone follows the tasking by Thurlbeck on 10th April 2002” says Laidlaw of Mulcaire hack of Milly Dowler.
Laidlaw says “let’s assume.. Thurlbeck and Mulcaire formed an agreement to hack Milly’s phone on 10/04/02” Mrs Brooks cannot have been party
By Wednesday 10th April 2002 says Laidlaw Brooks had been in holiday in Dubai for three days
Laidlaw says the billing for mobile phone of that week NI was billed for incoming and outgoing – all her calls despite 14 years.
“There is no telephone contact between her and anyone at NOTW… until the day after the tasking” says Laidlaw of Mulcaire hacking Dowler
First outgoing call is to Dave Read over a Michael Greco story: nothing on the 10th April. Voicemail retrievals on the 9th. Nothing on 8th.
“There is no evidence, simply no evidence at all, Thurlbeck or anyone disturbed her holiday… on evidence they did not consult her”
BREAKING: Laidlaw says “If there is one thing you can be confident of is that Brooks was not guilty of the hacking of Milly Dowler‘s phone”
Laidlaw says the trips to Telford, the contact between Kuttner and Surrey Police is “irrelevant”
“Also irrelevant is the rather desperate prosecution case that.. this special concern of [Brooks] to protect children makes her more guilty”
“She was on holiday when the hacking of Milly’s phone took place” says Laidlaw: “whoever was responsible… did it without asking Brooks”
Laidlaw says prosecution has a “ridiculous position” by suggesting Brooks was lying about a police steer it was Milly father was a suspect
“Are the prosecution suggesting the press knew Bob Dowler was a suspect and Brooks didn’t” asks Laidlaw
“Sarah”s Law was about predatory paedophiles not missing children” says Laidlaw: “perfectly reasonable” to held this back from police.
“It makes no sense” says Laidlaw of prosecution assumption that interest in Sarah’s Law makes it more likely Brooks knew of Dowler hacking
Laidlaw talks about the evidence of Hennessy meeting Brooks in Dubai remembering precise words after more than a decade.
Laidlaw says Hennessy’s evidence of Brooks talking of a “missing Surrey Schoolgirl” was “beside the point” – Dowler already hacked.
“She is not guilty of the hacking of Milly Dowler‘s phone, she cannot be, she could only have found out after the event” says Laidlaw
Laidlaw remind jury that Keyworth didn’t have any memory of this conversation – “You may think Mr Hennessy not very reliable at all”
“Mr Edis… would have you believe, Mulcaire was a dedicated hacker for NOTW” says Laidlaw: “he says she knew about phone hacking in general
“The prosecution are wrong about that” says Laidlaw, apologising about repeating himself: saying the Mulcaire only hacked once before Dowler
“There’s no evidence she knew about hacking phones before she stepped onto that plane to Dubai” says Laidlaw of Brooks.
“If you are not sure she knew of phone hacking prior to going to Dubai, you cannot find her guilty” says Laidlaw.
Laidlaw asks “why wouldn’t anyone have told her about… hacking of Milly’s phone”: since Thurlbeck isn’t a witness, he can’t ask him.
Laidlaw talks about the “spectrum of possibilities” over the “absent editor” might not have been told of “splash changing”
Beyond it being a minor page 9 story “there could be other reasons” Brooks wasn’t told about Dowler.
Laidlaw goes to an email between Brooks and another NOTW journalist about “Britain’s most wanted Drugs Baron” and Brooks’ comments on story
“From his secret hideout” says draft article. “Shouldn’t we tell police” commented Brooks.
Laidlaw says this is “Concrete evidence police kept up to date” over a news desk story about a drug baron – even more so for missing child.
“Tell the police… there is a mother to think about” was Brooks evidence on NOTW information about Milly.
Laidlaw suggests NOTW staff would have kept the Milly hacking story quiet from their boss Brooks.
Laidlaw reminds jury that Coulson wouldn’t have wanted to draw Brooks’ attention to the “mix and layout” of Dowler paper.
Laidlaw we have evidence of Brooks’ reaction to first hearing of Dowler hacking – her private reaction to friends and supporters in July 11
Laidlaw adduces texts from 04/07/11 from Brooks about Dowler: “Bloody awful” to a friend.
Tom Newton Dunn writes “don’t let the bastards get you down” Brooks: “We thought there would be a hit on Sky Bid… but this is sickening”
06/07/11 Kath Raymond texts “pretty misogynist darling” Brooks “Bloody intense… feeling slightly like sexist witchhunt”
“But Milly stuff is just the pits, but if true can’t blame anyone” says Brooks in text. “No hint of of self pity” says Laidlaw
“Even a sexist witchhunt entirely understandable given what people have been told” says Laidlaw, as a precis of public outrage over Dowler
10 minute break.
Laidlaw finishes on the topic “why NOTW staff might have kept from Mrs Brooks the hacking of Milly Dowler
Laidlaw addresses the jury on the Brooks/Coulson affair and the prosecution case on its duration.
Laidlaw says that Edis contention for length of affair is based on heart broken letter Brooks wrote.
BREAKING: Laidlaw says Brooks line “waiting for six years” for Coulson is not the same thing as being in a relationship for 6 years”
“Waiting for someone with six years is precisely the opposite of being with them” says Laidlaw
Laidlaw says the reference to “six years” was from first encounter… an affair for a matter of few months broken off just before 04 letter”
Laidlaw says the reference to closeness of Brooks and Coulson is “beside the point” when there is no phone contact prior to Dowler hacking
“No matter how close they were… Mr Edis is not asserting they communicated telepathically over this distance” says Laidlaw.
Laidlaw tackles Edis’ assertion that lover letter must be true; “not for the first time Mr Edis is far too black and white”
“There is a tendency to overestimate the importance” says Laidlaw after breakup: “they always feel like the most important person”
“We shared everything was authentically felt by her” says Laidlaw of sharing everything: but the reality of “extra marital affair” different
Laidlaw says Brooks is not in position to say “how much Mr Coulson really shared with her” in 2004 by that love letter.
“You have examples of Mr Coulson not telling Mrs Brooks things” says Laidlaw. He uses example of Dowler story – or of Goodman’s arrest
Laidlaw says Coulson never told Brooks about knowing about the hacking of David Blunkett.
“A letter like that is true in sentiment it conveys, but it cannot be taken as.. a statement of facts” says Laidlaw of Brooks love letter
“You would have thought thattIf there was ever an allegation the prosecution would investigate properly it would be this”: Laidlaw on Dowler
Laidlaw quotes Edis verbatim on his opening of Milly Dowler prosecution
But first he turns to the Milly Dowler timelines – the first version has first edition of NOTW with 19.30, texts between Brooks and Coulson
21.30 the Dowler story changes position in second edition.
On 31st October Edis said: “the story has changed between first and second edition… there is that text exchange there”
Laidlaw: “There was Mr Edis telling you someone decided to change the story… hey presto Rebekah Brooks was texting Andy Coulson
Laidlaw says this was a “reckless” and “outrageous of Mr Edis to ask you to speculate what the text might have said”
Mr Edis “was wrong in every possible detail” says Laidlaw. Paper did not change between 1st and 2nd editions, but between 2nd and 3rd
“The supposed coincidence Mr Edis was relying upon… was a completely false point” says Laidlaw.
Laidlaw says the error persisted on second page of timeline and that prosecution didn’t take this into account.
Brief interruption Cheryl Carter taken slightly unwell. She is escorted from the dock
“The change…. happened between second and third… so the point of the texts is irrelevant” says Laidlaw.
Laidlaw accuses the prosecution of not “bothering to make the most basic of inquiries of visibility of paper with technology at the time”
“The prosecution… put that evidence before without context of texts with Dean Keyworth” says Laidlaw of 21.08 text to Coulson.
“Those texts were almost certainly about setting up a meeting for drinks” says Laidlaw of Brooks meeting Coulson’s friend.
BREAKING: Laidlaw says the prosecution has been “desperate” in its “pursuit of Mrs Brooks”: lacking research and thinking things through
In that context of desperation, Laidlaw cites the calls of Brooks to Ross Kemp in 2011, pursuant to her requirement for 2002 diaries.
“Need my 2002/2003 diaries” Brooks wrote to her PA in June 2011: and she also emails Ross Kemp “need to talk to you about phone hacking”
Laidlaw says it’s “desperation” of the prosecution to imply Brooks was looking for an alibi for the Dowler phone hacking.
Laidlaw says the call for 2003 diaries means its nothing to do with Dowler.
Laidlaw says it was not until June 2011 that Brooks was shown the pages from Mulcaire notes – which mention Ross Kemp
Laidlaw says the diary request – which Brooks cannot recall – shes given two possible explanations; a police query or Dispatches documentary
Laidlaw says Edis’ allegation that this is “planning a false alibi” and that Brooks not recalling this is “suspicious” is “desperation”
“This desperation became even more clear at end of Count One” says Laidlaw of prosecution. Ten minute break.
Laidlaw resumes with two other timelines – Gilchrist on Blunkett “the prosecution use to pin something on my client”
Laidlaw says that subsequent to Dowler “there’s nothing left in what follows” as he turns to the Gilchrist hacking.
“Why do the prosecution bother with Andy Gilchrist and David Blunkett?” asks Laidlaw.
Laidlaw points out that prosecution have to prove that Brooks “agreed to hacking… allowing it to happen” after Milly Dowler.
Laidlaw reiterates “phone hacking was not prevalent at NOTW before or after April 2002” – only “ten further examples”
“This goes nowhere near the kind of prevalence that makes you conclude Mrs Brooks must have know” says Laidlaw of Mulcaire hacking.
Laidlaw says there’s no story Brooks could have found out about phone hacking by asking “is this true”
Laidlaw says the Gilchrist kiss and tell story in Sun had nothing to do with phone hacking: affair had been over for four years.
“Two prosecution witnesses have told you source of Sun’s story on Mr Gilchrist was not hacking” says Laidlaw of Dan Evans, then at Mirror
“The Mirror that supported the Unions… so Dan Evans sold it to the Sun… so it didn’t have hacking as a source” says Laidlaw.
“If Brooks had asked Guy Patrick the question of which Mr Edis is so fond, how is this true. He would have answered… this is a buy up”
Of the prosecution’s ‘desperation’ Laidlaw says that Edis had an “agenda” against Gilchrist, therefore must have know of hacking.
“You might find the logic of that difficult to follow” says Laidlaw of Brooks’s interest in Gilchrist.
Laidlaw says Gilchrist affair was “bread and butter stuff” to the Sun at that time.
“The whole of Fleet St was interested in Gilchrist at this time because of Fire Brigade strike” says Laidlaw.
Laidlaw mentions Miskiw’s mocking of Brooks, and says the prosecution case she must have known was ‘absurd’
Laidlaw says same absurdity applies to Blunkett affair: prosecution uses “shallow analysis to the worst of possible conclusions”
Laidlaw goes to Edis opening and a message on Kimberley Quinn‘s phone about an ante-natal scan.
“Maybe if you’re down the pub… it’s the sort of reasoning you might deploy” says Laidlaw of prosecution case on Blunkett and Quinn
“Fortunately for Mrs Brooks we can categorically prove Blunkett story printed in Sun was not the source of hacking” says Laidlaw.
Laidlaw says it was not the Sun that wrote the pregnancy story at all.
The pregnancy story was broken by the Mirror on the Tuesday, Laidlaw points out. Didn’t even appear in Sun.
“The source for the Sun story about Kimberley Quinn pregnancy was not hacking but the Mirror” says Laidlaw.
Laidlaw “How can it be… Court 12 invited to hear… Sun broke story… when most basic of research would tell them broke by the Mirror”
Laidlaw speaks of coincidence of Quinn quote both in Sun and NOTW – both actually already in public domain in Observer interview Mail diary
Laidlaw says “any self respecting journalist would check the articles… and any self respecting prosecution would have done the same”
“Did they do those checks?” says Laidlaw on Blunkett story: “No they did not”
Laidlaw goes through Huw Evans evidence that he did not confirm Kimberley Quinn story, though did not deny it.
Laidlaw talks of the rivalry between Sun and NOTW – “surprising to outsiders considering owned by the same company”
Laidlaw on use of Coulson/Brooks affair ‘desperate stuff’: “Lovers they may have been but there was no love lost between their papers”
Laidlaw says the “intense level” of communication between Brooks and Coulson the night before Blunkett meeting “a highly personal nature”
“It was not the David Blunkett story that was driving Coulson to text Brooks compulsively” says Laidlaw of phone contact in 2004
Laidlaw thanks the jury for listening: half way through. Cheryl Carter is fine now – she’ll be back tomorrow at 10 am. So will I.

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

Related Articles
The Route to Verdict: Justice Saunders Directions to the Hacking Trial Jury
Those Rogue Reporter Emails
Stuart Kuttner Emails to Surrey Police over Milly Dowler
Kuttner Notes of Conversation with Goodman Just After his Arrest
Some of the Mysteries of Phone Hacking – Unlocked

Previous Posts
Hacking Trial Live Tweets – 15 May
Hacking Trial Live Tweets – 16 May
Hacking Trial Live Tweets – 19 May

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

3 thoughts on “Hacking Trial Live Tweets – 20 May

  1. Pingback: Hacking Trial Live Tweets – 21 May | Live Tweeting the hacking trial

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  3. Pingback: Hacking Trial Live Tweets – 28 May | Live Tweeting the hacking trial

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