Trinity Mirror prints public apology for phone hacking
Owner of Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Sunday People says civil claims will cost the company millions
Copies of the Daily Mirror newspaper move along the production line at the Trinity Mirror print plant in Watford, UK. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg
Trinity Mirror has publicly apologised for phone hacking and said civil claims will cost the company millions more than first thought. The owner of the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Sunday People has printed an apology at the top of page two in today’s Mirror, admitting that “such behaviour represented an unwarranted and unacceptable intrusion into people’s private lives”.
The cost of resolving claims will be “higher than previously envisaged”, according to a trading update, and the company is increasing the provision for claims by £8 million to £12 million.
The update adds: “Inevitably there remains some uncertainty as to how matters will progress and whether or not new allegations or claims will emerge and their possible financial impact.” The apology to victims in today’s newspaper said: “Some years ago voicemails left on certain people’s phones were unlawfully accessed. And in many cases the information obtained was used in stories in our national newspapers.”
Trinity Mirror said this was “unlawful and should never have happened”, adding: “Such behaviour has long since been banished from Trinity Mirror’s business and we are committed to ensuring it will not happen again.” The company said it is taking this opportunity to give “every victim a sincere and unreserved apology”, adding: “We recognise that our actions will have caused them distress for which we are truly sorry.”
Last month, the High Court was told singer Cilla Black was among the latest group of celebrities to settle phone hacking damages claims for ”substantial” damages. EastEnders star Jessie Wallace, singer and TV personality Peter Andre and actor and singer Darren Day also settled actions against Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN), a subsidiary company of Trinity Mirror plc, their barrister, David Sherborne, told Mr Justice Mann at the High Court.
A claim brought by Ms Black’s son, Robert Willis, who is her manager, has also been settled, he said. At the hearing last month, Mr Sherborne read out statements on behalf of Ms Black and Mr Willis, Mr Andre, Mr Day and Ms Wallace, and also a further five in the cases of other individuals whose settlements have previously been reported, including former England football head coach Sven-Goran Eriksson, actor Christopher Eccleston and David and Victoria Beckham’s former nanny Abbie Gibson.
It has been previously reported that Mr Eriksson and Mr Eccleston settled for £30,000 each and Ms Gibson for £15,000. It is understood from a court document that Mr Day was to receive £85,000 in damages. Meanwhile, eight representative cases, none of which have been settled, are due to come before Mr Justice Mann in London on March 2nd.
They concern TV executive Alan Yentob, actress Sadie Frost, ex-footballer Paul Gascoigne, soap stars Lucy Taggart, Shane Richie and Shobna Gulati, flight attendant Lauren Alcorn and TV producer Robert Ashworth.
The two-week trial will determine the extent of the phone hacking and the amount of damages due. Mr Sherborne said that, out of the outstanding claims, MGN had recently settled actions brought by fund manager Nicola Horlick for £25,000, model Emma Noble for £40,000 and stuntman Bobby Holland Hanton for £75,000. The remaining live claims included those brought by Gascoigne’s former wife Sheryl, actor John Thomson and TV presenter Davina McCall, with a number of others having been issued.
Scores of people, including high-profile celebrities, have reached similar settlements with the publisher of the now-defunct News Of The World newspaper after taking legal action in the wake of phone-hacking revelations.