The Mirror Group Newspaper’s (MGN) appeal against the damages paid to eight high profile phone-hacking victims has been quashed by the Court of Appeal.
MGN argued that the £1.25m it paid eight victims of privacy invasion including Alan Yentob, Shane Richie, Paul Gascoigne and more was “out of all proportion,” claiming the landmark settlements were incorrectly calculated by the court.
Lady Justice Arden, sitting on the Court of Appeal, said that the damage caused by the hacks was “beyond our ability to know and count".
She said: "In addition the circulation of the private information was to a very large number of persons and touched on the most intimate part of the lives of the some of the respondents," adding “It understandably caused great distress”.
Dr Evan Harris, joint executive director of press regulation campaign group Hacked Off, said: “Today’s victory in the Court of Appeal for victims of phone-hacking backs up the findings in the High Court that there was widespread prolonged and extensive criminal intrusion into the privacy of ordinary citizens as well as public figures.
“The high damages are justified because of the fact (confirmed today) that the wrongdoing was supervised, encouraged and even carried out by newspaper editors in an organised conspiracy starting in the last century and, as admitted by Trinity Mirror, lasting until 2010 – four years after the News of the World hacking was exposed.”
He concluded: “In any other industry the press would be demanding answers and sanctions were this to have been exposed, but in the case of the newspaper industry they appear content with payoffs, share options and suggestions that the promised Public Inquiry should not take place.”
Additionally, the publisher has been denied access to the Supreme Court as part of a further appeals process. The decision could inflate the settlements MGN is looking to make with more than 100 further alleged victims of phone-hacking.
Just last week Hacked Off condemned the CPS’ decision to end the phone-hacking prosecutions, calling for the Leveson Inquiry to investigate police corruption.
The call incidentally was ignored as the government canned the next stage of the Levesson Enquiry on Wednesday afternoon.