Former Elle Macpherson advisor drops hacking case against News Int and faces 'very substantial' costs

A former adviser to model Elle Macpherson has discontinued her phone-hacking damages action.

Mary-Ellen Field held News Group Newspapers to blame for being dismissed from her job with Macpherson in November 2005 over 11 alleged instances of leaking information to the press, claiming it could be inferred that messages she left forMacpherson were intercepted.

NGN applied for the action to be struck out on the basis that it was entirely speculative and had no prospect of success

At a hearing in December, Mr Justice Vos, who has been handling the long-running litigation, was told by the group's lawyers: "This claim is not fanciful; it is fantasy."

The judge said there was no substantive material supporting Ms Field's claim but she should be allowed to see whether she could obtain any evidence from Macpherson which helped her case.

Today, Field's counsel, Augustus Ullstein QC, said she had come to the conclusion, in the light of what evidence was available, that she had no alternative but to discontinue.

Field, who was not at London's High Court, now faces paying NGN's "very substantial" costs of the proceedings.

Dinah Rose QC said: "The position is that there has never been any evidence at all that NGN hacked the claimant's phone or hacked any other phone on which she had left a message, or that it has ever interfered at all in any way with her private information.

"Neither has there ever been any evidence that the breakdown in her relationship with Elle Macpherson was the result of any conduct on the part of NGN."

She said that, after a very prolonged process, Ms Field had abandoned her application to take a deposition from Macpherson's solicitor and abandoned her claim against NGN in its entirety only two days before the strike-out application was due back.

Rose added that, as Field was a private individual of limited means and had no legal insurance, NGN would not be seeking a costs order against her on the higher indemnity basis.

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