19 Days Remaining

Friday 22nd
posted by Peter Lazenby in Britain

MIRROR Group Newspapers was ordered to fork out £1.2 million in damages yesterday over its phone-hacking activities.

Former England footballer Paul Gascoigne and actor Sadie Frost are among those to receive payments — £188,250 and £260,250 respectively.

The damages were announced in London’s High Court after a three-week hearing in March to determine the extent of wrongdoing at the group and what level of compensation was appropriate.

Mr Justice Mann also awarded £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 actor Tracy Shaw, receives £201,250, and flight attendant Lauren Alcorn, who had a relationship with soccer star Rio Ferdinand, was awarded £72,500.

The judge said the victims had all suffered a “serious infringement of privacy” and that the scale of ‘phone hacking was “very substantial indeed.”

Daniel Taylor, of Taylor Hampton solicitors who represented three of the eight victims, said: “Today’s judgment represents a milestone in the development of privacy law in the UK and the awarding of six-figure damages is truly historic and unparalleled, on a scale much greater than has ever been awarded previously.”

Representing Mirror Group Newspapers, counsel Matthew Nicklin QC said no-one had suffered personal harm.

He suggested that the hurt caused to a phone-hacking victim was not quantitatively different in terms of assessment from that suffered in other kinds of cases, such as harassment, intimidation, victimisation, bullying or discrimination.

Dozens more claims may be in the pipeline.