Trinity Mirror to take £1.2m hacking compensation ruling to Court of Appeal

Mirror Group Newspapers has been granted permission to take its fight against £1.2m of phone-hacking damages payments to the Court of Appeal.

In May, the publisher of the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Sunday People was ordered to pay these damages to eight victims of hacking across its national newspapers.

The ruling, made by Mr Justice Mann after a two-week hearing, saw actress Sadie Frost win £260,250 and ex-England footballer Paul Gascoigne £188,250.

The other payments were £85,000 to TV executive Alan Yentob, £117,500 and £157,250 respectively to actresses Shobna Gulati and Lucy Taggart, and £155,000 to soap star Shane Richie.

TV producer Robert Ashworth, who was married to actress Tracy Shaw, received £201,250, and flight attendant Lauren Alcorn, who had a relationship with soccer star Rio Ferdinand, was awarded £72,500.

MGN's bid to appeal against the ruling was refused in June, but the publisher still had the option to renew its application to the Court of Appeal.

And owner Trinity Mirror said in a statement yesterday that MGN has been given permission to do this.

The statement said: "Expedition has been granted and the appeal will be heard as soon as reasonably possible."

Mr Justice Mann said the awards – which all exceeded the previous highest sum given by a UK court in a privacy case – resulted from the invasions of privacy being "so serious and so prolonged". Following his ruling, owner Trinity Mirror raised its phone-hacking costs estimate by £12m to £28m.

MGN accepted it should pay appropriate compensation but believed that the basis used for calculating the damages was incorrect and the awards were excessive and disproportionate.

Trinity Mirror chief executive Simon Fox said at the time the damages were awarded: “I deeply regret the activity which has gone on in the past and the distress we have caused the claimants…However the award of damages made today appears out of all proportion to personal injury claims or to any previous privacy case and that is why we are considering whether to seek permission to appeal.”

Explaining why the awards were so big – the highest court awards for damages against a UK newspaper ever – Mr Justice Mann said in his judgment: "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."

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