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September 24, 2014updated 25 Sep 2014 2:43pm

Trinity Mirror admits phone-hacking at its national newspaper titles

By William Turvill

The publisher of the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Sunday People has agreed to pay compensation to ten people over phone-hacking.

Trinity Mirror today said it had “admitted liability” to four people who sued for “alleged interception of their voicemails many years ago”.

MGN Limited has apologised to the individuals and agreed to pay compensation. It also said six other phone-hacking claims have already been settled for “agreed sums”.

In an announcement today, the company said: “In its interim results announcement on 28th July 2014, Trinity Mirror plc ("the Company") highlighted its intention to deal with and resolve a number of civil claims in relation to phone hacking.

“The Company today confirms that its subsidiary MGN Ltd has admitted liability to four individuals who had sued MGN for alleged interception of their voicemails many years ago. MGN has apologised to those individuals and agreed to pay compensation.  The amount of that compensation will be assessed by the court if it cannot be agreed.

“The Company can also confirm that six other voicemail interception claims have already been settled for agreed sums.

In July, Trinity Mirror said in its interim statement that it had set aside £4m for phone-hacking civil claims.

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Today it said: “The Company confirms that these steps were within those contemplated at the time of the interim results announcement.”

In its July statement, the publisher confirmed it was facing 17 civil claims over phone-hacking.

The High Court was told in June that 20 individuals had launched legal actions over alleged phone-hacking against Mirror Group Newspapers – with a further ten set to issue claims.

David Sherborne, representing a group of claimants, told a judge at a hearing in London that the claimants included former Doctor Who actor Christopher Eccleston and the BBC's creative director Alan Yentob.

He disclosed the latest figures at the start of a case management hearing relating to proceedings brought against the publisher of the Sunday Mirror and Daily Mirror.

Sherborne said there were now 20 different claimants with a further 10 "who intend to issue claims", adding that the number of claims was "likely to increase".

The court heard that other claimants include actor Shane Richie, his wife and his agent, and also Jude Law's personal assistant, Ben Jackson.

Mr Justice Mann is being asked to decide on how the litigation should proceed. A trial is expected next February.

Last year Mr Justice Mann refused to throw out phone-hacking damages claims brought against Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) by ex-footballer Garry Flitcroft and Abbie Gibson, former nanny to David and Victoria Beckham.

The judge, who is overseeing the phone-hacking litigation, also dismissed applications to strike out parts of claims brought by former England football manager Sven-Goran Erikssonn and actress Shobna Gulati, who played Sunita Alahan in Coronation Street.

The unsuccessful "strike out" applications brought by MGN relating to Flitcroft and Gibson were made on the basis that their claims had no reasonable prospect of success.

It has been reported that new claims in the MGN litigation include Cilla Black, presenter Davina McCall, EastEnders actor Jessie Wallace and ex-football star Paul Gascoigne's former wife Sheryl.

Eight national newspaper Trinity Mirror journalists have been arrested under police operations stemming from the phone-hacking scandal.

Four were arrested over alleged phone-hacking and remain on bail. Dan Evans pleaded guilty to phone-hacking at the Sunday Mirror and News of the World. He admitted to accessing the voicemails of some 200 individuals while he was working at the papers between 2003 and 2010.

Two other former Mirror journalists have been charged – one with conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office and the other with corruption, conspiracy to commit bribery and conspiracy to cause misconduct in a public office. 

The eighth Mirror journalist has been cleared after arrest on suspicion of corruption and conspiracy to cause misconduct in a public office.

The Metropolitan Police has an ongoing investigation into phone-hacking at Trinity Mirror, Operation Golding.

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