The UK Mirror has settled five lawsuits with celebrities after invading their privacy by hacking their phones to get information for stories.
Actors Jessie Wallace, singers Cilla Black, Peter Andre and Darren Day, and manager Robert Willis all had sued the Mirror Group Newspapers for hacking them between the years 2000 and 2006, the Guardian reported.
Sherborne said that the hacking of those five people plus the hacking of five others whose cases were previously settled — Sven-Gordan Eriksson, Christopher Eccleston, Abbie Gibson, Christie Roche, and Phil Dale — was for stories in the Daily Mirror, the Sunday Mirror and the Sunday People, the BBC reported.
“They have all expressed their feelings of distress and anger that their private information has been treated in this way, and their privacy has been so grossly violated by these newspapers solely for profit,” Sherborne said, according to the BBC.
Mirror Group Newspapers’ lawyer Matthew Nicklin admitted that its newspapers hacked the ten people and that journalists “should never have” done so because there was “no legitimate justification.”
“MGN is here today, through me, to offer its sincere apologies to these claimants for the damage and distress caused to them by hacking into their voicemail messages and by obtaining private information about them, including the use of blagging,” he said, noting that the newspaper company was paying undisclosed “substantial sums.” Blagging is “knowingly or recklessly obtaining or disclosing personal data or information without the consent of the data controller,” accordng to the Data Protection Act 1998 — so is getting or sharing private information without the person in question’s permission.
The Mirror Group declined to comment to iMediaEthics about the settlement.
In addition to these recent settlements, the Press Gazette reported that at least 71 of the MIrror’s stories have been based on hacking.
“Trinity Mirror has admitted that 71 stories across its national titles, with 45 bylines attached to them, were enabled by phone-hacking, the High Court has heard,” the Press Gazette reported.
Mirror Group Newspapers still faces eight lawsuits for phone hacking. The eight lawsuits, beginning trial in March, were brought by TV executive Alan Yentob, actress Sadie Frost, former soccer player Paul Gascoigne, actors Lucy Taggart, Shane Richie and Shobna Gulati, flight attendant Lauren Alcorn and TV producer Robert Ashworth.
“This admission comprised 71 articles with bylines of 45 of MGN’s journalists, and covering all three of MGN’s national titles – the Daily Mirror, the Sunday Mirror and The People,” lawyer Sherborne said in court, according to the Press Gazette.