Court of Appeal Upholds Phone-Hacking Trial Judgment – Mirror Group journalists ‘repeatedly engaged in disgraceful actions’

The Court of Appeal has unanimously upheld the Judgment of the Honourable Mr Justice Mann in the civil phone-hacking trial against Mirror Group Newspapers (“MGN”), the first trial ever of its kind.

“MGN cannot expect this Court to come to its rescue and find some way of finding the awards to be excessive when its staff have been responsible for disgraceful conduct with such distressing consequences, and when to boot it is quite unable itself to point to actual awards that it contends are wrong.” Lady Justice Arden [108]

£1,237,000 damages award upheld in full, including: £260,250 to Sadie Frost; £188,250 to Paul Gascoigne; and £85,000 to Alan Yentob (despite no articles complained of).

Lady Justice Arden, delivered the Judgment:

“Indeed so far as I can see there were no mitigating circumstances at all. The employees of MGN instead repeatedly engaged in disgraceful actions and ransacked the respondents’ [victims’] 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.” [106]

These appeals, hopefully, concern an exceptional situation. There were misuses of private information beyond our ability to know and count. So it is wrong to look at the global sums … which each respondent has been awarded without remembering that fact.” [109]

I have considered all the awards which the judge made. They were thorough and fairly done in every case. The judge had a considerable mastery of the facts …” [74]

Hamlins acts for a number of MGN and News Group Newspapers Limited (NGN) phone-hacking claimants and acted for Lauren Alcorn in this claim. Miss Alcorn was 19 at the time and Rio Ferdinand’s girlfriend. She was a victim of both hacking and surveillance, and awarded £72,500.

Hamlins’ phone-hacking lawyers, Christopher Hutchings and Rebecca Willcox, are back before Mann J in court in January 2016 acting for phone-hacking victims against NGN.

Both are available for comment: 020 7355 6000 / 020 7355 6104 / 020 7355 6053 / /