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  1. Media Law
May 1, 2014

PA can’t remember ‘100 per cent’ Coulson was at conference when reporter claims he was played Sienna Miller voicemail

By Press Association and Press Gazette

Andy Coulson's former personal assistant said yesterday that she could not remember "100 per cent" that her boss had been at a Labour Party conference on the day a News of the World reporter recalled playing him a hacked voicemail from actress Sienna Miller (pictured in 2011: Reuters).

Earlier in the hacking trial, reporter Dan Evans said the tabloid's editor had heard the recording of Miller's message to Bond actor Daniel Craig ending with the words "I love you".

But in his evidence, Coulson, 46, said he was at the Brighton conference at the time and the meeting with Evans never happened.

Coulson's former PA, Belinda Sharrier, was asked yesterday about entries in his diary for 28 September 2005 in which appointments with then Cabinet members Geoff Hoon, John Reid and Gordon Brown had CXL written next to them, indicating they had been cancelled.

She told the Old Bailey that she thought they had gone ahead after all because the presence of ticks next to the names would "normally mean that the meeting had happened".

Cross-examining, prosecutor Andrew Edis QC asked her: "Do you in fact remember what happened at all?"

Sharrier replied: "It's nine years ago. I cannot absolutely guarantee 100 per cent – I don't think anybody could."

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She was also asked about an email request her boss made on 20 November 2006, just before royal editor Clive Goodman and Glenn Mulcaire pleaded guilty to hacking at the Old Bailey.

In it, Coulson asked her to print out his draft emails "very discreetly", the court heard.

Edis asked: "Were these really quite secret, sensitive documents?"

She replied: "I don't remember."

Edis said: "He did not want anybody to know that you were printing out his emails at all. He did not want anybody to know you were doing that job on that week.

"This whole exercise is extremely odd, isn't it? The only time in your life you are asked to go into your boss' draft e-mails and print out 'very discreetly'?"

She replied: "I did not think it was odd."

The court heard that Sharrier worked for Coulson from 2002 until his resignation in 2007.

Asked to describe him, she said: "Amazing. Brilliant. I would say he was a brilliant boss and as a person he was the best."

Edis concluded his cross-examination by saying: "It's obviously the case you are very fond of Mr Coulson, someone you admire. Is the evidence you have given to the jury actually true?"

She replied: "Yes it is."

Coulson and his six co-defendants deny all the charges against them.

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