The actor, Hugh Grant, has accepted substantial damages from Mirror Group newspapers after it admitted the unlawful interception of his voicemail messages and the obtaining of private information about him.
In a statement in open court [pdf] read before Mann J today, MGN admitted that a number of its senior employees, including executives, editors and journalists, condoned, encouraged or actively turned a blind eye to the widespread culture of unlawful information gathering activities at all three of its newspapers for many years and actively sought to conceal its wrongdoing from its many victims of intrusion.
MGN also admitted that its repeated and prolonged intrusions into innocent people’s lives over, in some instances, a decade, could have been prevented or interrupted but that it failed to properly investigate these disgraceful actions and/or to act sufficiently when the allegations of MGN’s journalists’ unlawful activities were first alleged and publicly emerged in 2006 and when the first inquiries into these wrongdoings were made.
It is reported by the BBC that Mr Grant will receive a six figure sum which he will donate to the campaign group, Hacked Off.
Speaking outside of court Mr Grant said:
“This case was not just about what they did to my phone and those close to me … This litigation has made clear that phone hacking and other unlawful information-gathering took place on an industrial scale at the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Sunday People under the editorships of Piers Morgan, Richard Wallace (both Daily Mirror), Tina Weaver (Sunday Mirror), Neil Wallis, Mark Thomas and James Scott (all People) …
This newspaper group has misled the public and its shareholders for many years, and it has let down its readers and its hard-working journalists. The public were not told the truth, the victims were not told the truth, the shareholders were not told the truth and the Leveson inquiry was not told the truth. That is why the second part of the Leveson inquiry must take place – to get to the truth and discover who broke the law and who lied about it.”