Mirror phone-hacking damages hearing to begin in High Court today - Press Gazette

Mirror phone-hacking damages hearing to begin in High Court today

A hearing to decide the amount of compensation to be awarded in civil phone-hacking claims brought against Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) is due to start at the High Court today.

Eight representative cases, none of which have settled, will be considered by Mr Justice Mann in London.

They concern TV executive Alan Yentob, actress Sadie Frost, ex-footballer Paul Gascoigne, soap stars Lucy Taggart, Shane Richie and Shobna Gulati, flight attendant Lauren Alcorn and TV producer Robert Ashworth.

The two-week trial will determine the extent of the phone-hacking and the amount of damages due.

In January, their counsel David Sherborne said that MGN now admitted that none of the articles in the eight claims would have been published but for voicemail interception.

"This admission comprised 71 articles with bylines of 45 of MGN's journalists, and covering all three of MGN's national titles – the Daily Mirror, the Sunday Mirror and the People."

He said that each claimant, except Yentob, had identified further articles which were believed to be the product of voicemail interception or the unlawful obtaining of information about them, and wished them to be included.

At the January hearing, the judge was told that, out of the outstanding claims, MGN had recently settled actions brought by fund manager Nicola Horlick for £25,000, model Emma Noble for £40,000 and stuntman Bobby Holland Hanton for £75,000.

The remaining live claims included those brought by Gascoigne's former wife Sheryl, actor John Thomson and TV presenter Davina McCall, with a number of others having been issued.

Settlements were also announced in relation to claims brought by singer Cilla Black, EastEnders star Jessie Wallace, singer and TV personality Peter Andre, actor and singer Darren Day, ex-England head coach Sven-Goran Eriksson, actor Christopher Eccleston and David and Victoria Beckham's former nanny Abbie Gibson.

Sherborne said that the actions related to the "widespread and habitual practice of voicemail interception and the unlawful obtaining of personal information" which took place during the period of 2000 to 2006.

In January, Press Gazette named 50 individuals who are suing Mirror Group Newspapers over phone-hacking in the High Court.

Last month, Trinity Mirror, owner of the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Sunday People, published an apology in the Daily Mirror.

It read: "Some years ago voice-mails left on certain people's phones were unlawfully accessed. And in many cases the information obtained was used in stories in our national newspapers.

"Such behaviour represented an unwarranted and unacceptable intrusion into people's private lives.

"It was unlawful and should never have happened, and fell far below the standards our readers expect and deserve.

"We are taking this opportunity to give every victim a sincere and unreserved apology for what happened.

"We recognise that our actions will have caused them distress for which we are truly sorry.

"Our newspapers have a long and proud history of holding those in power to account. As such, it is only right we are held to account ourselves.

"Such behaviour has long since been banished from Trinity Mirror's business and we are committed to ensuring it will not happen again."

In a trading update, the company said that the cost of resolving civil claims would be ''higher than previously envisaged'' and it was increasing the provision for dealing with them by £8m to £12m.



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