Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

Hugh Grant settles phone-hack claim

Phone-hacking victim Hugh Grant has settled his legal claim against the News of the World

Phone-hacking victim Hugh Grant has accepted a "substantial sum" after settling his legal claim against the News of the World, his solicitor has said.

The British actor will donate the money he receives from News Group Newspapers to the Hacked Off campaign for a free and accountable media, said his solicitor Mark Thomson.

"Hugh Grant has today settled his claims for damages and other legal remedies arising out of the unlawful activities of News of the World journalists and others over a number of years," he said in a statement.

"News Group Newspapers have agreed to pay him a substantial sum by way of damages.

"He has instructed us to donate all of his damages plus an additional payment from him to the Hacked Off campaign for a free and accountable media. This will be done as soon as payment is received. A statement in open court will be made shortly in the new year."

The Four Weddings And A Funeral star has been a vociferous critic of press invasions of privacy since the phone-hacking scandal broke last year. He is a prominent member of Hacked Off, which is now campaigning for the recommendations of the Leveson Inquiry into press practices to be implemented in full.

Grant told the inquiry it had become "extremely fashionable" to hate him in Britain and said journalists were "entitled to their opinion" but hit out at press intrusion and "lazy reporting". He said: There has been a section of our press that has become allowed to become toxic over the last 20 or 30 years and its main tactic is by bullying and intimidation and blackmail."

Newspapers are closer than ever to reaching an agreement on the creation of a new watchdog, Press Complaints Commission (PCC) chairman Lord Hunt said on Thursday.

Around 100 editors and publishers, including Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre and The Sun's Dominic Mohan, met to examine draft regulations. But the industry leaders did not discuss proposals floated by Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Letwin for a Royal Charter with responsibility for verifying the new voluntary system of self-regulation because the plan was not yet "on the table".

In a statement released through Hacked Off, Grant said: "My aim has always been to ensure that cash is redistributed from Mr Murdoch to help those his company has harassed."