By Martin Hickman.
Andy Coulson kicked a desk when he found out his royal editor did not want to accompany Prince Charles on a visit to the United States, the Old Bailey was told today.
Clive Goodman, who claims he was bullied by his News of the World bosses, told the phone hacking trial that Mr Coulson showed no sympathy when he decided against joining the trip to New Orleans in November 2005.
Cross-examining Mr Goodman, Mr Coulson’s lawyer, Timothy Langdale QC – who has previously accused Mr Goodman of being a workshy fantasist – suggested that a series of internal emails showed that the paper had treated him “reasonably”.
Turning to the planned US visit, Mr Langdale asked the former royal editor whether he thought joining the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall was not “cost-effective.”
Mr Goodman told the court that he had applied for a US media visa and was all set to go on the trip before he checked the schedule and realised there would be no media reception with the royals and that many engagements would fall outside the paper’s deadlines.
Mr Langdale asked: “You didn’t think there was much point in going?”
Mr Goodman replied: “Based on 20 years’ experience, I thought this was a lot of money for very little reward.”
He added that his wife had been called to a meeting in France with the chairman of the French company she worked for that weekend, and that he would have to stay at home to look after their six month-old daughter.
Mr Goodman said: “I explained that to Andy and he wasn’t sympathetic. He kicked the desk.”
He said the NoW editor gave a younger reporter, Ryan Sabey, responsibility for covering the young royals – Prince William and Prince Harry – and sent him on the US trip instead.
Mr Langdale quoted from an email from Mr Goodman to a News of the World executive saying: “Had a chat with Andy. It should work out well.”
Asked whether he was really unhappy with Mr Coulson’s arrangement, Mr Goodman said the young royals amounted to 80 per cent of his path – and felt that he was being “constructively dismissed.”
He said of the email: “I’m trying desperately to hang on to my job. I’m not going to tell [the NoW executive] I’ve had a huge row with Andy. It would be professional suicide to criticise an editor in that way. There’s no court of appeal in newspapers.”
Mr Langdale said: “You just didn’t want to go.”
Mr Goodman replied: “Not true. I’m the best-travelled reporter at the News of the World.”
Mr Coulson denies two counts of paying police officers for copies of royal phone directories. He agrees that he approved Mr Goodman’s requests to do so but told the court he did not believe that Mr Goodman, whom he said habitually “exaggerated”, was actually paying the police.
Mr Goodman, who faces the same charges, has told the court that his contacts were other journalists, rather than police officers. The jury in the seven-month case is expected to retire to consider its verdicts next month.