PRIVACY – PHONE HACKING: Steve Coogan, Sienna Miller and Jamie Theakston get phone hacking damages

Actor and comedian Steve Coogan, actor Sienna Miller and television presenter Jamie Theakston have all settled their phone hacking claims against Mirror Group Newspapers.  All three accepted an undisclosed sum in damages and made statements in open court.

The Mirror admitted hacking the phones of the three celebrities, and apologised for doing so. Mr Coogan’s damages were reported to amount to six figures. He made a statement outside court saying that he felt “vindicated”, but also called for the second part of the Leveson Inquiry to go ahead.

The Leveson Inquiry into the Practices and Ethics of the Press investigated phone hacking (amongst other activities), and Lord Justice Leveson’s report was issued in 2012. There was to be a second part of the inquiry looking at the extent of unlawful or improper conduct within media organisations, but this was postponed until after a number of criminal investigations, including that which saw former News of the World editor Andy Coulson sentenced to 18 months imprisonment. A number of other celebrities have already settled phone hacking claims against the Mirror, including Patsy Kensit, Vic Reeves, Denise Van Outen and Kevin Keegan.

A settlement was also reached in the case of Hurst v News Group Newspapers (publishers of the Sun and formerly of the News of the World). Mr Hurst is a former member of British Military Intelligence who came to prominence after writing a book ‘Stakeknife’ about his experiences in Northern Ireland, which named Freddie Scapaticci, former head of the IRA security division, as a British agent. Mr Hurst’s computer was hacked by a former employee of News Group. News Group Newspapers apologised and has paid a substantial sum in damages.