A former reporter at News Corp.’s News of the World told a London court for a third time in two days that parts of his testimony at the phone-hacking trial may have been inaccurate.
The reporter, Dan Evans, admitted he may have been wrong about who was recorded on hacked phone calls and the dates he said he replayed messages for Andy Coulson, the former News of the World editor. Coulson, 46, may wasn’t in London on the day in 2005 that Evans previously testified he played the recording from James Bond actor Daniel Craig’s phone.
If Coulson “was in a different part of the country then my recollection must be flawed,” Evans, a prosecution witness, testified today. “Perhaps it was the following day. My memory isn’t clear of exactly when it happened, but happen it did.”
Coulson, who served as a media adviser to Prime Minister David Cameron after leaving the tabloid, is one of seven people at the three-month-old trial charged with offenses related to hacking, bribing public officials and destruction of evidence.
His lawyer, Timothy Langdale, has repeatedly tried to undermine the testimony of Evans, who said earlier this week that he pleaded guilty to phone hacking crimes that occurred while he was a reporter at Trinity Mirror Plc’s Sunday Mirror.
Evans said earlier today he may have been wrong about whether actor Sienna Miller had left a tearful message on the phone of her stepmother Kelly Hoppen.
“I have a nagging feeling that the message was not Sienna, it may have been her sister,” Evans said about the call on Hoppen’s phone. “The rethink is about being completely honest with everyone here.”
Yesterday, Evans told the court that Coulson didn’t describe being played the hacked Craig message as “brilliant,” as he had testified earlier in the week. Evans said yesterday that word was part of an attempt to to describe the atmosphere of a meeting and not an actual quote.
“Is this another example of you trying to change your story when new facts are presented to you?” Langdale asked today.
Evans yesterday said that he had lied to the police and the courts in previous statements to cover up an “enormous conspiracy” at the News of the World.
“This is a tabloid newspaper,” Evans said today after Langdale showed him a 2005 story based on phone hacking. “Not every quote is nailed as the truth. When it says ‘a source says,’ it’s just made up.”
Rupert Murdoch, chairman of New York-based News Corp. closed the News of the World in July 2011 after the discovery that the newspaper accessed the voice mails of a murdered schoolgirl years earlier.
Rebekah Brooks, another former editor of the tabloid and the former head of News Corp.’s U.K. unit, is also on trial in the case. All seven defendants have pleaded not guilty and are contesting the charges.