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Mirror hacking appeal rejected

Mirror Group Newspapers has been refused permission to appeal against a High Court ruling which saw record damages paid out to eight phone-hacking victims.

Despite today's decision by Mr Justice Mann, who awarded a total of around £1.2 million against Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) last month , the group can renew its application to the Court of Appeal.

Actress and businesswoman Sadie Frost received the largest sum of £260,250 with ex-England footballer Paul Gascoigne getting £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.

The judge, whose ruling will provide a framework for resolving similar civil actions in the pipeline, 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".

Owner Trinity Mirror has said that 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.

MGN's counsel, Lord Pannick, told the judge that there was no doubt that it would ask the Court of Appeal for permission.

He had argued that the case raised important and difficult issues which it was appropriate for the appeal judges to determine and there was a proper prospect of success.

David Sherborne, counsel for the claimants, said any appeal would be "hopeless" as the judge's careful and lengthy ruling was based on findings of fact founded on evidence which was mostly unchallenged.

The hearing continues tomorrow when the judge will decide whether to order a "stay" on the payment of the damages pending the outcome of any appeal.


From Belfast Telegraph