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Coulson denies having heard hacked Sienna Miller voicemail

Andy Coulson, former former Editor of the now closed News of the World newspaper arrives at the Central Criminal Court, the Old Bailey, in London where she appears to face charges related to phone hacking Tuesday, April, 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

LONDON: David Cameron's former media chief Andy Coulson told a London court on Tuesday he had not listened to hacked voicemail messages that exposed an affair between actress Sienna Miller and James Bond star Daniel Craig.

Coulson, who was Cameron's head of communications until 2011, is charged with conspiracy to hack phones of high-profile celebrities and politicians whilst he was editor of Rupert Murdoch's now defunct News of the World tabloid.

The Old Bailey jury has previously heard that Dan Evans, a former reporter at the paper and self-confessed phone hacker, played Coulson a voicemail message left on Craig's phone by Miller in 2005. The message revealed that Miller, then girlfriend of actor Jude Law, was having an affair with Craig.

Taking the witness stand on the 100th day of the trial, Coulson said he never heard the hacked message.

Asked by defence counsel Timothy Langdale whether the incident ever took place, he replied: "No, it did not."

Langdale said Evans claimed to have played the message to Coulson at a meeting in London, when the then editor was actually in Brighton attending the Labour party conference.

The court was shown a copy of Coulson's diary from 2005 with appointments to meet leading politicians, including then Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, during the conference.

"I wouldn't have cancelled any of those appointments," said Coulson. "It was the purpose of me being there, to have those meetings."

The 46-year-old denied that references made by other News of the World editors to "special checks" made by Evans to investigate the story were a reference to phone-hacking.

"It is an indication to me that he has some sources, or a source," said Coulson. "I think all reporters think their checks are special."

Coulson, who also faces charges over authorising illegal payments to public officials, is on trial alongside the former head of Murdoch's British newspaper arm Rebekah Brooks and five others. All seven deny the charges.

The trial continues.

 

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