Shortly after 10am on Wednesday 3 December Judge Richard Marks called in 10 jurors at Kingston Crown Court, told them that two of their colleagues had fallen ill, and sent them home for the day.
The trial, which began on 6 October 2014, had been due to hear the cross-examination by the Crown’s QC, Peter Wright, of The Sun’s former managing editor Graham Dudman.
Mr Dudman, who entered the witness box on Monday, is the fifth of the six defendants (four of them news executives) to have given evidence in the case.
In a short address to the jury, who have so far passed to the judge 25 handwritten notes containing questions, Judge Marks said: “We’ve had a remarkably good run in that we’ve not lost a single day to illness.”
He said that was “an achievement at this time of year,” adding: “But sadly two of your number have rung in ill so obviously we’re not going to be able to sit today… Sorry about this; it’s unavoidable.”
Mr Dudman, 51, is on trial alongside five current or former colleagues: Chris Pharo, Head of News; John Edwards, Picture Editor; Jamie Pyatt, the Thames Valley reporter; John Troup, a former district reporter; and Ben O’Driscoll, former deputy news editor – and now deputy news editor of the Daily Mail.
All five defendants who have given evidence have told the court that the stories printed in the Sun arising from agreed or alleged payments to public officials were in the public interest and did not contain confidential information given by the officials.
Each is represented by a QC, junior and solicitor.
For Mr Troup is William Clegg QC and Jacqueline Carey, for Mr Pharo Nigel Rumfitt QC and Ross Johnson; for Mr O’Driscoll Martin Hicks QC and Christopher Ware; for Mr Edwards Sasha Wass QC and Alison Morgan; for Mr Pyatt Richard Kovalevsky QC and Jamas Hodivala; and for Mr Dudman (now Editorial Development Director at the Sun) Oliver Blunt QC and David Miller.
The Crown is represented by Peter Wright QC and Oliver Glasgow, his junior.
There are so many bewigged barristers in the court that lawyers take up the entirety of three long benches in front of the judge.
The defendants sit behind a glass-walled dock of Court 9.
All deny the charges.
This post originally appeared on the Hacked Off Blog and is reproduced with permission and thanks