Hugh Grant settles phone-hacking lawsuit with Murdoch-owned British tabloid the Sun

British actor Hugh Grant has settled a lawsuit against the publisher of the Sun tabloid newspaper over claims journalists used private investigators to tap his phone and burgle his house, his lawyer said in court documents on Wednesday.

Grant, among a number of prominent Britons including Prince Harry, was suing News Group Newspapers (NGN) for alleged widespread unlawful information gathering, including landline tapping, burglary and "blagging" confidential information about him.

His case was one of several lawsuits which were eligible to go to trial at London's High Court in January, but the actor has agreed to settle with NGN, his lawyer David Sherborne said.

Grant, famous for films such as Love Actually and Notting Hill, has become a prominent campaigner on press reform since the phone-hacking scandal emerged more than a decade ago.

He previously brought a lawsuit against NGN in relation to the now-defunct News of the World tabloid, which was settled in 2012, a year after the newspaper was shut down by media magnate Rupert Murdoch following a public backlash.

Grant vowed to continue that fight in a lengthy multi-post statement on X, saying that some of the money will go to press advocacy groups like Hacked Off, which was formed in the wake of the News of the World scandal.

"Murdoch's settlement money has a stink and I refuse to let this be hush money," he said.

Grant also expressed reluctance over the decision to bring an end to the lawsuit.

"I don't want to accept this money or settle," he said. "I would love to see all the allegations that they deny tested in court. But the rules around civil litigation mean that if I proceed to trial and the court awards me damages that are even a penny less than the settlement offer, I would have to pay the legal costs of both sides."

More than 1,000 settlements

NGN has always rejected allegations of any wrongdoing by staff at the Sun, having settled more than 1,000 cases without making any admission of liability in relation to the paper.

However, the settlement of Grant's lawsuit, whose case focused exclusively on alleged wrongdoing at the paper, raises questions about the sustainability of that long-held position.

NGN did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

For his part, Prince Harry has also pursued lawsuits against the publishers of the Mirror and the Daily Mail. But the Duke of Sussex was ordered to pay legal costs to the Daily Mail in December, and he abandoned that case one month later.

WATCH | Prince Harry declares victory in phone-hacking lawsuit:

Prince Harry wins phone-hacking lawsuit against Mirror tabloid chain

Prince Harry is declaring victory after a London judge says he was a victim of phone hacking by the British publisher Mirror Group Newspapers.

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Posted: 2024-04-17 16:22:44

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