One of Britain’s leading actors has said he was unaware that the News of the World had paid a member of his family for inside information on his private life.
Jude Law told the hacking trial at the Old Bailey that the first time he had learned that a family member had allegedly sold information to the now-closed News International tabloid was “today”.
The multiple academy award-nominated actor, famous for his roles in The Talented Mr Ripley and recently alongside Robert Downey Jnr in the highly successful Sherlock Holmes films, gave evidence to the court on the period of time when he discovered his former girlfriend and fellow actor, Sienna Miller, was having an affair with the James Bond star, Daniel Craig.
Prior to being questioned about the Miller-Craig affair, Mr Law told the court that when police investigating hacking inside the NOTW had first contacted him, he was “shocked” to find how much information the paper’s specialist private investigator, Glen Mulcaire, had gathered about him.
Mr Mulcaire had pleaded guilty to hacking-related charges earlier in the trial’s progress.
Mr Law told the court that the media had an “unhealthy amount of information” about his life and that photographers and media would routinely already “be there” at places he visited, including locations where he had secretly arranged to meet his children from his first marriage to the actress Sadie Frost.
Timothy Langdale QC, representing Andy Coulson, the former NOTW editor, cross-examined Mr Law about Ms Miller’s affair with the James Bond star. The relationship happened in 2005 and stories about the affair appeared on the front page of the NOTW. One edition of the newspaper headlined "Sienna Cheats on Jude" was shown to the jury.
Mr Law had informed the court that he called Mr Craig directly when he first learned of the affair with Ms Miller, suggesting to the Bond star that he might like to inform his own girlfriend about what was happening.
He was asked by Mr Langdale if he was aware that an “immediate member” of his family had been in contact with the Murdoch-owned tabloid. Mr Law told the court that in 2011, when he was first approached by Scotland Yard who were investigating the hacking scandal, he had been told “the NOTW had been in contact with people in my family, trying to find things out, asking for quotes”.
The lead prosecution counsel, Andrew Edis QC, asked Mr Law when he had first been told that money had been involved in exchanges between a family member and the NOTW.
Mr Law replied: “Today.”
The name of this relative of Mr Law’s was not discussed openly in court.
However, in an unusual procedure, Mr Langdale wrote down the name of the relative, and the name of one of Mr Law's employees on a piece of folded paper and passed it to him in the witness box.
When Mr Law opened the folded piece of paper, and read its contents, he displayed no specific reaction.
He later told the court: “I was made aware very recently there had been some kind of communication with this person and several others in and around the time, this period. I was never aware any money changed hands."
Mr Coulson, along with News International’s former chief executive, Rebekah Brooks, is charged with conspiracy to illegally access phone messages. They deny all the charges against them.
The two are among seven defendants who face other charges, including conspiracy to bribe public office officials and attempting to keep evidence hidden from police investigating phone hacking. All the charges are denied.
The trial continues.