Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 27 December 2014

MP wins phone hacking settlement

Siobhain McDonagh has accepted 'very substantial' damages and a public apology after The Sun accessed her mobile phone
Siobhain McDonagh has accepted 'very substantial' damages and a public apology after The Sun accessed her mobile phone

A Labour MP whose stolen mobile phone was accessed by a newspaper has become the latest high-profile figure to settle a damages claim relating to the hacking scandal.

Siobhain McDonagh, who has represented Mitcham and Morden since 1997, accepted "very substantial" damages and a public apology from The Sun at a hearing at the High Court in London over the "serious misuse of her private information".

The announcement of the settlement came at the same time as the news that there are "potentially" hundreds more victims.

Speaking after the hearing, Ms McDonagh said: "I'm in public life and I don't have a hang-up about my own privacy, but my family and constituents who had contacted me and given personal views were subjected to people seeing it. That made me feel very uneasy.

"As an MP, people tell me all sorts of things, people give their personal information and they believe that you will do the right thing with it. That wasn't for anyone's eyes. I was a government whip, I had lots of phone numbers and had then exposed all those people to having their privacy invaded, and that troubled me."

Giving the details of Ms McDonagh's case in court, her lawyer told Mr Justice Vos that her private mobile telephone was stolen from her car in Colliers Wood in south-west London on October 17 2010.

David Sherborne said that in June last year, police notified her that they had "obtained evidence that The Sun newspaper had accessed her text messages from about October 2010 and therefore appeared to have accessed and/or acquired her mobile phone".

The defendants - the publishers and/or owners of The Sun - had agreed to pay Ms McDonagh "very substantial damages" and her legal costs.

It was admitted, he said, that "there was serious wrongdoing and misuse of her private information and her mobile telephone".

Dinah Rose QC, for the defendants, told the judge: "They accept that the information on the claimant's mobile telephone should not have been accessed and used and furthermore accept that there has been a serious misuse of her private information. Through me they offer their unreserved apology to the claimant for what has happened."

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