The Mirror Newspapers phone hacking litigation continues. A number of high profile settlements were announced this week with Statements in Open Court in a number of cases including those brought by Steve Coogan, Sienna Miller and Jamie Theakston.
In the Statement in Open Court on behalf of Mr Coogan it was said that he had identified 62 articles that were likely to have been produced by illegal means. MGN had agreed to pay substantial damages and apologised to Mr Coogan for its wrongdoing.
Speaking outside Court Mr Coogan said
“Journalists at all three [MGN] papers – The Daily Mirror, the Sunday Mirror and the People – under successive editors hacked the phones of thousands of people – not just celebrities and public figures but their families and people who just happened to be in the news.
“The way they behaved is a disgrace to the record of what was a fine newspaper publisher and an insult to the memory of Hugh Cudlipp. Covering-up the wrong-doing to stop the truth coming out is even worse.”
“It is my view that editors and executives such as Sly Bailey, Piers Morgan, Paul Vickers, Tina Weaver and Richard Wallace have not yet been subjected to proper scrutiny.
“The second party of the Leveson Inquiry must find out who was hacked, who knew about it, and who covered it up or turned a blind eye. The Leveson Inquiry must be completed now as the Government has promised.”
This statement received press coverage including on the BBC website and the Guardian. It was also the subject of a piece on the Hacked Off website.
In the Statement in Open Court on behalf of Sienna Miller it was said that MGN had paid Ms Miller substantial damages and had apologised. Ms Miller was extremely upset by the lengths MGN went to to invade her private life.
In his Statement in Open Court Mr Theakston said that he believed he was targeted throughout the period 1998-2010 and that 42 articles published across all three MGN titles were the product of voicemail interception or other unlawful information gathering techniques. MGN had agreed to pay him substantial damages and costs and had apologised.
MGN has faced more than 100 claims for phone hacking and illegal information gathering . According to Trinity Mirror’s half year financial results [pdf] it had “continued to make progress on the settlement of civil claims in relation to phone hacking with damages for over 80% of claims settled” and had made an additional provision of £7.5 million.
Speaking outside Court Mr Coogan also said, “Were it not for the Mirror’s threat to seek their costs if I continued with my case, I would have sought to scrutinise these activities further and get to the bottom of the extensive cover-up which I believe took place. Whilst I was able to pursue this case to this point despite these risks, I fear that many other victims of press misconduct are too afraid to fight for their rights because of aggressive newspaper legal teams and our expensive legal system.”
More evidence that we need Crime and Courts Act 2013 section 40 in operation a.s.a.p. for a cost-effective remedy.