Monday, December 13, 2010

Detective Chief Superintendent Phil Williams Pt 2

When the jury returned Mr Sheridan continued his examination of DCS Williams (you can find a report on the first part of his testimony Here ) Mr Sheridan began by asking if the police had recovered the contract between Greg Mulcaire and the News of the World. The witness said they had,  and agreed that Mr Sheridan's contention that the contract was worth £105,000 per annum saying that "sounds like the right amount." Mr Sheridan then asked if the contract had been signed on behalf of the NotW by Greg Miskiw. DCI Williams then turned to Lord Bracadale, the presiding judge, and said "that sounds right" but then added that he had not been told of the questions in advance and had thought he had only been due to testify on "the provenance of the documents we supplied." The witness continued that he was "not properly aware of the questions to give accurate answers." Lord Bracadale advised the witness to "give what answer you can and if you don't know the answer say so" 

Mr Sheridan then asked DCS Williams if his inquiry (into phone hacking by a NotW journalist and a Private Investigator) had interviewed Mr Miskiw, the witness replied "we did not." Mr Sheridan asked "you arrested Glen Mulcaire for a criminal act and the person who signed the contract you don't interview?" DCS Williams replied "we did not." Mr Sheridan asked the witness if, after they had arrested Clive Goodman, the Royal Editor of the NotW, the police had asked him who he was responsible too. DCS Williams replied that Mr Goodman had "refused to answer any questions." Mr Sheridan suggested that as the News of the World was a newspaper, the editor would be in charge and asked if the police had interviewed the then editor, and a previous witness in this case,  Andrew Coulson. DCS Williams replied that the inquiry had not interviewed Mr Coulson.

Mr Sheridan then asked if DCS Williams knew "how many phones had been hacked" the witness replied "no" Mr Sheridan received the same answer when he asked how many voicemails had been accessed. Mr Sheridan then asked the witness if the police had discovered the names that related to the phone numbers they had found. DCS Williams again turned to the judge, Lord Bracadale, and said "M'lord. I have given answers, I don't see how this is relevant" Lord Bracadale directed the witness to answer. DCS Williams told the court that "the mere presence of  a name and address does not mean anything unlawful has gone on." The witness went on to state that "you would expect" that people who worked in the media would have posession of this sort of information and he "could not assume the purpose it's held for is interception." DCS Williams added that this had also been the view of the Crown Prosecution Service when they had reviewed the case last year.

Mr Sheridan then asked DCS Williams who else in the News of the World he had spoken to about their relationship with Glen Mulcaire. The witness told the court he had taken "lengthy legal advice" and had made inquiries to the News of the World for information but was told it could not be provided as "they did not have it." Mr Sheridan asked why DCS Williams had not obtained a "court order" to get information. DCS Williams replied that he had to go through a "process" and as the NotW had cooperated he was "not entitled to get a court order." Mr Sheridan asked the witness if the solicitors for the NotW had been cooperative, DCS Williams replied he had "no reason to think otherwise" and again turned to Lord Bracadale saying, M'lud I fail to see what this has to do with this prosecution." 

Mr Sheridan then brought into evidence a report by a House of Commons Select Committee into the "phone hacking" issue, and asked the witness to read part of it to the court. This was evidence given to that committee that the NotW's solicitors had "been robust" about giving out information and that the police inquiry had "been left in isolation, literally,with not enough evidence to pursue" Asked by Mr Sheridan that this appeared to show that the NotW's lawyers had not been cooperating DCS Williams replied that he had asked questions and been told that no such documents existed. The witness added that he had "no reason to doubt the solicitors" and had been advised by a Queens Council and the Crown Prosecution Service and had then used the process they had advised. Mr Sheridan asked if the police had discovered any transcripts of intercepted voicemails but as this point Lord Bracadale intervened ruling that this was a "collateral" matter and not admissible as evidence. 

Mr Sheridan then produced a document, which the court has been told was siezed in a police raid on the house of Glen Mulcaire. DCS Williams identified it as being extracts from two different notebooks that were found in a bag in Mr Mulcaire's shed during a police search of his property. The notebooks contain Mr Sheridan's name, address, mobile telephone number and what appear to be PIN codes. Mr Sheridan asked the witness about a name, written in the corner and asked if this could be "Greg." The witness agreed that it could. Mr Sheridan asked again if the police had investigated the possibility that this referred to Greg Miskiw, The witness said he had not and again insisted he had went as far in "pursuing" the News of the World as the law allowed.

DCS Williams told the court that the investigation had found "no evidence of a conspiracy at the News of the World." Mr Sheridan then put it to the witness that he had hardly  "pursued the News of the World" as the police had "not even interviewed Greg Miskiw."
DCS Williams answered Mr Sheridan by stating that it was his "belief that I would have no legal basis to arrest or interview" Mr Miskiw. Mr Sheridan asked the witness if he had treated the News of the World with "Kid Gloves" because the police were on "friendly terms with them. DCS Williams replied "that is not the case." 

Mr Sheridan concluded his evidence in chief by stating that as a member of the Scottish parliament he should have been informed there was a possibility his phone had been "hacked" and put it to the witness that "you did nothing to alert me." Mr Sheridan then returned to the dock. The Advocate Depute, Alex Prentice QC. asked only one question in cross-examination,  if there was any truth in the Defence suggestion that the police and the NotW were on "friendly terms."  DCS Williams stated that he had no relationship with the News of the World and had "pushed the law as far as I could go."

Mr Sheridan re-examined and asked DCS Williams is he was aware that Andy Hayden, the former Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations, was now "working for News International" the witness said he had become aware of that when he saw Mr Hayden's name in the Times.

With that the witness was excused and court rose for the day.


Anonymous said...

M'lud I fail to see what this has to do with this prosecution." Absolutely nothing, in my opinion, but at least it is mildly entertaining.

andy newman said...

"Andy Hayden, the former Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations, was not "working for News International""

i think you mean NOW working

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the point of this line of questioning is to show the complete contrast between how the police made little real effort when investigating allegations of NOTW illegal behaviour, and how vigorously they have worked on this case, that the NOTW wanted investigated.

Legal Pigeon said...

So what happens if Glen Mulcaire does not show up? Can the defence delay until he is pursued and found? Would his non-attendance be grounds for a possible appeal in the event of conviction? Or will the defence be required to press on with other witnesses regardless?

Anonymous said...

James it has been printed in the Guardian and the following statement was said the the officer "It doesn't mean anything unlawful was happening – [it] didn't mean there was evidence of interception. We needed more evidence of that and there was absolutely nothing else in our inquiry which connects you with interception"

Is this correct?

Anonymous said...

Hopefully the investigation into the phone hacking afair was just incompetant, and not something more sinister

James Doleman said...

I'm sure it is anon, there was a lot of repeated evidence so I have not put everything in

Anonymous said...

Legal Pigeon - TS is perfectly entitled to request Lord Bracadale to issue a Warrant for Glen Mulcaire's Arrest.

Anonymous said...

I was in court today and i thought TS cross examintion could of been a lot better ,one of TS weaker performances

Rolo Tomasi said...

Jeezo, this stuff was even more irrelevant than what they tried to drag out of Coulson.

Even if, for some strange reason, the DCS had crumbled and said "Yup, hands up, we did not pursue the investigation as we should have, we soft pedalled etc etc" the question would still be screaming out: so what? Whether the Met did or did not do their job properly in that case has no bearing on whether TS and GS were telling the truth in an Edinburgh court in 2006.

This copper's evidence helps neither to prove nor disprove anything to do with this case. Unless, of course, we are back in conspiracy land, on a scale that would make JFK look straightforward.

Oh, and it will be the taxpayer who is paying his expenses too, in case anyone wants to protest about it.

Peter said...

The best part of the trial has been the Coulson evidence and this evidence today.

Great reporting James and I think it should be sent to the HofC committee who are going to look again at the matter now the CPS are not.

As to relevance to this trial the matter is simple.

I think people are being deliberately obtuse (reaches for Roget again) if they claim not to see it.

Sheridan has now effectively now confirmed in open court that the NOTW agents operated with impunity from prosecution.

As long as they don't touch the Royals its agents appeared to have carte blanche to tap, bug bribe their way across the land - even elected politicians were targeted.

The HofC committee had already found that the light touch investigation by the police was worrying. This is even more worrying.

The light touch meant that the fall out from the Mulcaire bugging operation could just be limited to Mulcaire and Goodman. The other part of the deal was that Coulson needed to fall on his sword.

It was a classic shut down operation IMHO.


Satire Alert -

Police: Did you do anything wrong other than bug the Royals?

NOTW lawyers (not even the staff): No we did not.

Police: OK thanks.


In the meantime literally thousands of people were targeted (and many such as Sheridan had their mobile phone details stored) but were not informed by the police.

HofC committee members have openly admitted it feared the consequences if they pushed this matter further - despite evidence from the notebooks that elected politicians were targeted.

The defence are clearly putting it to the jury:

a) This is a very powerful media organisation who has criminals working for it.

b)It's agents had good reason to believe they could get away with their acts as the police would not investigate robustly (as long as the Royals were not touched).

c) Would those agents in light of the lack of risk of prosecution go so far to set someone up who had challenged them as Sheridan had done?

There is obviously a dog that has not barked yet. If he does we may see some further developments.

Sceptic said...

Funny that all the same
people who said that the 2 million pound investigation was money well spent for "justice" get their knickers in a twist when the defence fly up a public employee from London. It seems that "justice not having a price" only applies to their side

Anonymous said...


It is the taxpayer who has footed the bill for this trial so far.
So I for one do protest.

Whatsy said...


Re: "I was in court today and i thought TS cross examintion could of been a lot better ,one of TS weaker performances "

Well I wasn't in court today, but I think this is one of your weaker comments - this was a defence witness, therefore Alex Prentice for the Prosecution did the cross-examination.

senga said...

aye, a lot of hippocracy on here sceptic. ap flies witnesses in from denmark and kirkcaldy and no one says a word. now tommy buses a key witness up from london and their knickers are in knots.

Hamish said...

You keep contradicting yourself even on a single thread.
Oh, you're not one and the same person?
Are the rest of us supposed to use stylistic analysis to work out which Anonymous is which?
You don't have to use your own name; just choose a distinctive pseudonym.
This "I'm Spartacus" approach destroys any genuine discussion and engagement.

Whatsy said...

Good Lord - that is one credulous witness. Sounds like he's never had any dealings with liars, criminals and ne'er-do-wells, and certainly never been in court before.



What's that?

He's a what?


For how long?

Are you serious?



Justsaying said...

With respect Whatsy he was not dealing with "liars, criminals and ne'er-do-wells" but instead a firm of solicitors. If they told him there was nothing to see here and could he kindly stop asking annoying questions who was he to doubt their word?

They were solicitors, the epitome of honesty.

Peter said...

Just a thought - if we are finishing soon how about we have a competition for the best blog comments name. May also encourage those pesky Anons to pick a name.

I will supply the prize.

Not sure mine will win unless of course the hairy hands guy turns out to be called Peter.

Whatsy said...


Good point - I withdraw my comment - I was clearly way off the mark there, and I apologise to everyone for any confusion caused.

I'm going to leave the comment there, however. Just so everyone can see how wrong I was.

Don't make the same mistake as I did, people. Police and Lawyers are all excellent.

Whatsy said...


Weight of evidence surely dictates that "Anonymous" should win hands down.

However, that of course is for the jury to decide.

James Doleman said...

I'd suggest that the people will multiple names only get one entry each.

Jessica Fletcher P.I. said...

Peter said...
"As long as they don't touch the Royals its agents appeared to have carte blanche to tap, bug bribe their way across the land - even elected politicians were targeted."

As far as I remember it all came to light because the NotW printed something that baffled the Royals. They eventually realised that it had only been mentioned when leaving a voicemail.

It would have been better if they had gone through all the evidence and contacts. However as the plod said the went as far as legally possible. From reading this blog we've probably all noticed that the law is limited on what is allowed into evidence, much to our disappointment, both for the prosecution and the defence.

James Doleman said...
"I'd suggest that the people with multiple names only get one entry each."

I wonder what the highest amount of names used by one person is.

Dinner for two will be fine. Preferably Italian.

Lefty Trainspotter said...

@ Peter "c) Would those agents in light of the lack of risk of prosecution go so far to set someone up who had challenged them as Sheridan had done?"

Can you elaborate on this more? in what way before Nov 2004 did Sheridan challenge NotW?

iain brown said...

Amidst all the serious stuff,there has been some comic gems. Its always important to maintain some levity for as they say in Dundee "if yi didnae laugh yi wid greet". Translated,that means if one did not laugh, one would cry to the uninitiated. James would struggle to put together a book unless it was the size of War & Peace. However, a wee pamphlet with the best quips would be a real goer.Some have come from Crown winesses ,some from posters etc. Personal favourites include Rosie Kanes "Specsavers" moment,Richie Ventons reply to TS "Kangaroo Court" allegation,TSs retort to K. Trolle comment about Duncan Rowans brothers flat being "a mingin tip" and the classic blogger one about McNeillages tape being concocted from mince.Shows i am not being partissn at least.Also, what about one with the worst?saddest comment? Or maybe a combo?

Anonymous said...

'Rolo Tomasi said...
Jeezo, this stuff was even more irrelevant than what they tried to drag out of Coulson.'

It's relevant (in the non technical legal sense) to the extent that it shows just how murky the behaviour of the NOTW, their professional advisers and those who have supposed to have investigated them have been.

Who knows how that will affect the minds of the jurors, who won't be unduly concerned about whether the information is strictly relevant to the charges?

It's also interesting, from a jurisprudential perspective, how the state differentiates between different alleged transgressions of the law.

Compare and contrast how the investigation into the NOTW differed from the investigation into the Sheridans.

CharlieTheCoach said...

I have not been involved in politics for over 20 years, however I have a strong recollection from my university days 1979 - 1982 that the boy TS even that far back was a thorn in the side of News International. His history over the years, Wapping, miners strike, poll tax, so on and so on has been well documented.
Due to his high media exposure he has been on national tv and all over the media attacking the Murdoch Empire long before Nov 1994.

James Doleman said...

Critical-eye, could we avoid speculation about the jury please?

CharlieTheCoach said...

My last line should have read Nov 2004.

Anne Onimus said...

"Compare and contrast how the investigation into the NOTW differed from the investigation into the Sheridans."

I'm not really naive when it comes to how these things work. But this Guardian report is staggering.

Williams said... the News of the World had appointed solicitors to act as go-betweens with the police and was co-operating with the investigation. This meant the police were not able to get a "production order" forcing it to release any new documents.

In the event, he admitted, the News of the World said it had no new information so there was no evidence of any other wrongdoing by other News of the World staff, and the police could not investigate further.

The NotW was allowed to investigate itself for criminal activity, and find nothing? I'd appreciate some input from someone who understands these things about the legal precedent for this.

Critical-eye said...

James. Point taken.

Steve said...

Looks like the Herald has decided to do its job properly today:

Lefty Trainspotter said...

@Charlie, if it's well documented it should be easy to point to some of these challenges to them.

Rolo Tomasi said...

@ Various - re taxpayers comment

Folks - for avoidance of doubt, my comment re the taxpayer footing the bill for DCS Knacker's trip north was meant ironically , as up to now many (I suspect Tommy-supporting) contributors have protested about how all this is being done with taxpayers' dosh, and here was a peripheral defence witness who was,er, being paid for by the taxpayer. Just a wee joke.

When of course he should have been in London, protecting the public by bashing some students etc etc...

Sceptic said...

"Just a wee joke"

Apology accepted, try to buck up your arguments next time.

Rolo Tomasi said...

@ Sceptic

I shall try, Sceptic, I shall surely try. It's just that I've been distracted lately, as, in attempting to get into the defence's way of thinking I've been doing a lot of reading up on conspiracy theories.

So far, I've learned that if you squint you can make out the living Elvis in The Last Supper, that the moon landings were faked somewhere near East Kilbride, and that JFK and Shergar both shot themselves.

Think I'm nearly in the zone...

Sceptic said...

I've hard the only conspiracy Rolo believes in is that every witness for the defence is lying.

You have to watch that argument Rollo, a double edged sword that is.

Anonymous said...

@ Spectic - no-one said that the defence witnesses are lying, but in my opinion their testimony is inconsistent.

Jessica Fletcher P.I. said...

Rolo Tomasi said...
"Think I'm nearly in the zone..."

I quite enjoyed that post. I may even print it and frame it.

Rolo Tomasi said...

@ Sceptic

You do me an injustice, comrade: I never said I believed in any conspiracies, and I don't think all the defence witnesses are lying. In fact, at least one or two of them from the last few days seemed to me to be telling the truth....