Steve Coogan awarded damages in phone-hacking case

  • 3 October 2017
  • From the section UK

Comedian Steve Coogan is to receive damages and an apology from Mirror Group Newspapers over phone hacking.

Speaking after the High Court judgement, he confirmed he would receive a six-figure sum and said he felt “vindicated” by the agreement.

It follows an action by Coogan for misuse of private information.

Publisher Trinity Mirror said it had “no comment” on the case. The counsel for MGN said the group had apologised for its wrongdoing.

The exact figure of the settlement has not been revealed but most of the money would be distributed to good causes, Coogan said.

In court, Coogan’s counsel, David Sherborne, told the judge the case concerned voicemail hacking, unlawfully obtaining personal information from third parties and surveillance by private investigators.

Press inquiry

“Mr Coogan has identified 62 articles that he alleges are likely to have been produced by use of these means,” he said.

“Much of what was published caused enormous distress and significant damage to Mr Coogan’s relationships with those he wrongly suspected had leaked private information or who believed he was the cause of their private information being made public.”

Before bringing the case, Coogan was a core participant at the Leveson Inquiry into the conduct of the press, which was launched in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal.

His participation led to a number of attacks on him by national newspapers, his lawyer argued.

Mr Sherborne said Coogan followed with great interest the evidence of witnesses from MGN and Trinity Mirror during the Leveson inquiry and became increasingly concerned given the allegations of wrongdoing by their journalists that had been made before the inquiry.

He told the court his client was clear that if Trinity Mirror had conducted a proper investigation at an early stage then the unlawful activity could have been stopped and prevented the enormous distress and damage it caused its victims, their family and friends.

Activities ‘concealed’

Coogan complained to MGN in July 2015 and it admitted liability for the misuse of his private information.

The comedian issued his claim in October 2016 and tried to find out the extent of the wrongdoing and identify the relevant articles.

The level of damages, apology terms and admissions have now been agreed.

Richard Munden, counsel for MGN, said it acknowledged Coogan was the target of unlawful activities and that they were concealed until years later.

He said: “It apologises to Mr Coogan for its wrongdoing over a decade ago and for any articles that were the product of unlawful activity and for the concealment of these activities.

“MGN apologises to Mr Coogan and accepts that he and other victims should not have been denied the truth for so long.”

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