Phone hacking, News Group: CMC, three more settlements, forty nine cases continuing

2 11 2019

A Case Management Conference in the Fourth Wave of the Mobile Telephone Voicemail Interception Litigation (“MTVIL”) took place before Mr Justice Mann on 31 October and 1 November 2019. 

At the outset of the hearing statements in open court were read announcing the settlement of three more cases, those brought by actors Antony Dunn (known as Antony Cotton) and Mark Womack and TV Executive Natalka Znak.

Mr Dunn’s statement said that “his voicemail messages were hacked into,” by the newspapers’ journalists and therefore they would have been “privy to personal messages left on his mobile phone, or left by him for others such as family and friends.”  It was said that he had been targeted “to find out personal information about him for publication” and that journalists from The Sun and the News of the World “obtained his personal information by deception and other unlawful means”.

Mr Womack’s statement said that his personal information was obtained through phone hacking and “blagging or deception” for the sole purpose of use in stories published by the newspaper group

In Ms Znak’s statement it was said was that she was targeted because she worked with high profile people such as Gordon Ramsay, Katie Price, Callum Best, and Abi Titmuss.  It was said that  “In her action against the Defendant, Ms Znak alleged that she was targeted by the Defendant for the sole purpose of finding out private information for publication about her, the television programmes she produced and the individuals she worked with.”

On behalf of the defendant, News Group Newspapers (“NGN”), Ben Silverstone, acknowledged that the activity should not have taken place and that it had no right to intrude into the claimants’ private lives in this way.  He offered a public apology for the distress caused to the claimants.   But NGN made “no admission of liability in relation to… allegations of voicemail interception and/or other unlawful information gathering at The Sun” as part of the settlements.

David Sherborne, representing the claimants at the CMC, told the court there are 49 active claims against NGN and 52 further potential claims.

A number of new claims against the Sun have recently been lodged including claims on behalf of the Duke of Sussex, Sienna Miller, Sir Simon Hughes ,Cheryl Tweedy and the estate of the late Sir Bobby Robson.


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