Damages totalling more than £1.2m have been awarded in the judgment of the first ever civil phone-hacking Trial involving the Mirror Group newspapers, as Rebecca Willcox explains

Phone hacking at The Mirror, the Sunday Mirror and The People has been considered in the judgment in the Mirror Group trial, handed down today. Hamlins media team were one of just a handful of lawyers acting for one of the eight Claimants who pursued their claims to trial.

Damages totalling more than £1.2m have been awarded to the 8 victims of phone-hacking by Mirror Group journalists, with the Judge, Mr Justice Mann commenting, “The length, degree and frequency of all this conduct explains why the sums I have awarded are so much greater than historical awards. People whose private voicemail messages were hacked so often and for so long, and had very significant parts of their private lives exposed, and then reported on, are entitled to significant compensation.”

Mirror Group journalists have been found to have hacked the voicemails of celebrities including Sadie Frost, Paul Gascoigne (Gazza), Shane Roche (aka Shane Richie) and Coronation Street actress Shobna Gulati. Hamlins represented Lauren Alcorn, the only claimant in the case who was not in the media spotlight because of her profession, but rather because she was in a relationship with footballer Rio Ferdinand.

Phone hacking by Mirror Group journalists was considered, alongside the journalists’ use of private investigators. Evidence considered at Trial has been found by the Judge to demonstrate that phone hacking and other related activities started as early as 1999 (in the case of senior BBC executive Alan Yentob) and went on up to as late as 2010 (in Gazza’s case).

Call data provided by both the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) and Mirror Group, proved to be a useful indicator of the extent of the hacking in some cases. Alan Yentob, for example, had relevant call data but no published articles that related to him, and yet Mann J awarded him £85,000. Mirror Group articles that were published as a result of phone hacking and private-investigator activities, however, attracted sometimes considerable damages of up to £25,000 when they were found by Mann J to be the product of these unlawful activities. Sadie Frost, for example, was awarded £25,000 for one article that revealed she had attended an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.

Phone-hacking victims who have been contacted by the Metropolitan Police Service under Operation Golding, Operation Pinetree and Operation Weeting continue to be represented by Hamlins’ phone-hacking lawyers, who have a 100% success rate in phone-hacking cases. Hamlins’ phone-hacking lawyers represent both high-profile individuals as well as those victims of phone-hacking who never sought media attention.

Christopher Hutchings can be contacted with any phone-hacking related queries on: 020 7355 6000