Celebrities settle damages for phone-hacking scandals with British publishers

Shane Warne is among celebrities and high-profile figures who have settled phone hacking claims against the publisher of the News Of The World, Britain’s High Court has heard.

Statements were read before Mr Justice Fancourt on behalf of 15 celebrities and other figures, including actor Sean Bean, Texas lead singer Sharleen Spiteri and former Australian cricketer and commentator Warne.

News Group Newspapers, publisher of the now-defunct newspaper, has agreed to pay “substantial damages” to each of the claimants and also pay their legal costs.

The publisher, through its legal team, made public apologies to each of the claimants for the actions of the News Of The World, but did not admit any liability in relation to allegations of phone hacking at one of its other newspapers, The Sun.

The group also includes actors Julia and Nadia Sawalha and Michelle Collins, ex-television presenter Dani Behr, singer Dane Bowers, and Coronation Street actors Richard Fleeshman and Quintin Lawson – also known as Charlie Lawson – who played Jim McDonald in the popular soap opera.

The court also heard statements on behalf of agent Jane Epstein, Anne Diamond’s husband Michael Hollingsworth, former Big Brother contestant Imogen Thomas, former journalist Louise Port and Natalie Cecil, the ex-wife of racehorse trainer Henry Cecil.

David Sherborne, representing Warne, said the former cricketer brought proceedings in May 2020 after the Metropolitan Police informed him details such as his date of birth and mobile phone number had appeared in the notes of private investigator Glenn Mulcaire.

“The claimant identified a number of articles he claimed contained his private and confidential information which were published by the defendant’s newspapers between 1999 and 2011,” Mr Sherborne told the court.

“During this time the claimant used his voicemail extensively – particularly whilst playing cricket – and he would regularly receive and leave voicemail messages.”

Mr Sherborne said NGN had agreed to pay Warne substantial damages and his legal costs in relation to the “invasion of his privacy by individuals working for or on behalf of the News Of The World“, but makes no admission of liability in relation to The Sun.

Since the phone-hacking scandal led to the closure of the News Of The World in 2011, NGN has settled several damages claims related to unlawful information-gathering – but the publisher has never admitted liability in relation to alleged phone hacking at The Sun.


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