When the jury returned after lunch, Richard Goddard, the Advocate Depute, continued to highlight sections of the testimony given by the defendant at the 2010 trial of Scottish politician Tommy Sheridan. Goddard asked the officer in particular to confirm Coulson’s denials under oath that he had never heard the name of Glenn Mulcaire, a private detective employed by the News of the World, until Mulcaire was arrested for phone hacking in 2006 or that he had any idea why the detective would have Sheridan’s mobile phone number and home address.
Finally the police officer was shown a note of the prosecution closing speech at 2010 Tommy Sheridan case in which the video tape released by the News of the World was described as one of the three key pieces of evidence against the politician. Goddard noted that the crown had mentioned Coulson’s identification of Sheridan as the voice on the tape as “not insignificant evidence.”
Murdo MacLeod, Coulson’s defence advocate, then rose to cross-examine the police officer. MacLeod asked the officer to confirm that on the same day his client gave evidence there had been a “riot” of students in London protesting against student tuition fees. Defence advocate notes that Coulson was called to court in 2010 by Tommy Sheridan himself not by the prosecution and that that in Sheridan’s own defence speech he implied Coulson’s evidence was “irrelevant.”
PS Smith then stepped down from the stand and the next witness, DC Richard Fitzgerald, took the oath. DC Fitzgerald told the court he was a member of the Metropolitan Police seconded to “Operation Weeting” the second investigation into phone-hacking at the News of the World. The police officer also confirmed that intercepting voicemails is an arrestable criminal offence under the “Regulation of Investigatory powers” act. He then described the various ways offenders could access voicemails depending on the mobile network being used. He agreed that this information would be highly useful to a journalist as it would allow a reporter to find out information a target would wish to keep private.
Next witness called was Detective Chief Inspector Steven McCabe who is also based in London and seconded to Operation Weeting. McCabe told the court that hacking was used as a “source of stories” and was “far cheaper” than many legal reporting methods. The DCI confirmed that after the convictions of Glenn Mulcaire and Clive Goodman “a line was drawn” under the original investigation. However a new inquiry was launched in 2011 and that this remains an active investigation.
The detective was then asked about who tasked Mulcaire and he replied “Ian, Nev, James and Gregg.” Asked about the number of potential victims he replied that at the last count there had been 4,700 individuals identified.
The jury was then asked to leave the court while a legal matter was discussed.
When the jury returned the advocate depute told Chief Inspector McCabe he had no further questions and the defence then cross-examined the witness.
Murdo McLeod began by having the DCI confirm his team have had access to around 90 million News International emails, none of which were from Coulson to Glenn Mulcaire. He then ended his cross-examination.
As there were no further witnesses available the jury was then sent home for the day.
Mr Coulson denies the charges against him. The trial continues.