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Hacking trial: Jude on affair, leaks

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REUTERS

Actor Jude Law arrives to give evidence at the Old Bailey courthouse in London on January 27, 2014. Photo: Suzanne Plunkett

London - British actor Jude Law gave evidence in the phone-hacking trial on Monday, telling the jury that the media seemed to have an “unhealthy amount of information” about his private life.

Law is the most high-profile celebrity so far to give evidence at the trial, where several senior News of the World executives deny conspiring to illegally access voicemails between 2000 and 2006.

The 41-year-old said he had recently discovered that a member of his family had been in contact with the now-closed News of the World at the time he was featured in the tabloid, although he said he was surprised at suggestions from defence lawyers that this person was being paid.

He told the jury that he had been under intense media scrutiny between about 2001, following his nomination for an Oscar for “The Talented Mr Ripley”, and 2005 or 2006, a period in which he dated actress Sienna Miller.

“There seemed to be an unhealthy amount of information that people, or someone, had that meant they had access to my life and my whereabouts,” Law said.

Wearing a grey suit, white shirt and blue spotted tie, he told London's Old Bailey court how he was followed by “packs of photographers” who always seemed to know his movements.

“I became aware that I was also turning up at places having arranged to go there secretly... and the media were already there,” he said.

The court also heard that a close member of Law's family had been leaking information to the News of the World in return for payments in 2005.

Law was quizzed by a lawyer for former News of the World editor Andy Coulson, one of those on trial, about a story the newspaper ran that Miller was having an affair with James Bond actor Daniel Craig.

Law was asked if he was aware that a member of his “immediate family” was talking to the paper, which owner Rupert Murdoch shut down over hacking claims in 2011.

“I was aware later - around 2011, maybe later than that... - that the News of the World had been in contact with people in my family, trying to find things out, asking for quotes,” the actor replied.

Asked if he knew the family member was paid, he said: “I have never been aware of that.”

Law said that when he heard the rumours of Miller's alleged affair, he telephoned Craig to confront him.

But he told the court he could not remember whether that was before or after the paper broke the story, and he had not left a voicemail about it.

Coulson's defence lawyer wrote down a name of an alleged source on a piece of paper to show Law.

Law replied: “I was made aware very recently that there had been some kind of communication with this person and several others in and around and about this period of time. I was never aware any money had been exchanged.”

The trial also heard evidence from former tabloid journalist Dan Evans, who has pleaded guilty to hacking phones while employed by the News of the World and, before that, rival tabloid the Sunday Mirror.

He said that while at the Sunday Mirror between 2003 and 2005, he was given the phone numbers of celebrities and told to “crack” them.

“Principally I was tasked with covering news events, investigations, undercover work, latterly with hacking people's voicemail,” Evans said.

He later worked for the News of the World between 2005 and 2010.

Evans has pleaded guilty to hacking phones at both newspapers, and is appearing as a prosecution witness against his former colleagues.

The police investigation into phone hacking initially focused on Murdoch's papers, but has spread to take in other companies, including Trinity Mirror PLC, which owns the Sunday Mirror and the Daily Mirror.

The Daily Mirror was edited between 1995 and 2004 by CNN interviewer Piers Morgan, who told a British inquiry into media ethics that he was not aware of any phone hacking while he was there. The head of the inquiry, judge Brian Leveson, called Morgan's claim “utterly unpersuasive.” -

Sapa-AFP and Sapa-AP

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