Supreme Court rejects Trinity Mirror challenge against paying damages of £1.2m to eight hacking victims - Press Gazette

Supreme Court rejects Trinity Mirror challenge against paying damages of £1.2m to eight hacking victims

The Supreme Court has rejected Trinity Mirror's challenge against a £1.2m damages award made to eight victims of phone-hacking.

The publisher is facing at least 158 claims for phone-hacking carried out by journalists working on the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and People.

In December the Court of Appeal rejected a challenge against the High Court damages.

Mr Justice Mann's ruling in May saw the payment of record compensation because he said the invasions of privacy were "so serious and so prolonged".

Dismissing that first appeal, Lady Justice Arden said: "The employees of MGN instead repeatedly engaged in disgraceful actions and ransacked the respondents' voicemail to produce in many cases demeaning articles about wholly innocent members of the public in order to create stories for MGN's newspapers.

"They appear to have been totally uncaring about the real distress and damage to relationships caused by their callous actions."

The Supreme Court has refused the further appeal because it said it did not raise an arguable point of law.

Trinity Mirror said in a statement: "We have throughout the legal process been resolving claims and will continue to make efforts to resolve all legitimate claims.

"There remains ongoing uncertainty in relation to how matters will progress. At this stage we believe there is no change to the provisions previously made in relation to resolving civil claims arising from phone hacking.  Further updates will be made if our estimate of the financial exposure was to materially change."

All of the awards exceed the previous highest sum given by a UK court in a privacy case – the £60,000 won by former Formula 1 boss Max Mosley, who successfully sued the now defunct News of the World in 2008 – and are expected to provide a framework for resolving similar civil actions in the pipeline.

Actress and businesswoman Sadie Frost received the largest sum of £260,250, with ex-England footballer Paul Gascoigne getting £188,250.
The other payments were £85,000 to TV executive Alan Yentob, £117,500 and £157,250 respectively to actresses Shobna Gulati and Lucy Taggart, and £155,000 to soap star Shane Richie.

TV producer Robert Ashworth, who was married to actress Tracy Shaw, received £201,250, and flight attendant Lauren Alcorn, who had a relationship with footballer Rio Ferdinand, was awarded £72,500.

The claimants are being represented by Atkins Thomson.

Explaining why the damages were so large, in his original judgment Mr Justice Mann said: “The fact that they are greater than any other publicly available award results from the fact that the invasions of privacy involved were so serious and so prolonged.”

For example, Yentob’s phone was targeted from 1999 to 2006 at least twice a day, and often several times a day.

Trinity Mirror has made a provision of £41m for dealing with phone-hacking litigation.



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Author: Dominic Ponsford

Dominic Ponsford is the editor of Press Gazette