Hugh Grant’s Snooping Lawsuit Against Murdoch Newspaper Set for Trial
Hugh Grant’s lawsuit over decade-old claims that he was targeted by Rupert Murdoch’s News Group Newspapers — specifically the UK’s The Sun — can proceed to trial, a U.K. high court ruled Friday.
Grant — in addition to other British celebrities like Prince Harry, whose lawsuit against News Group is still active — has long accused News Group of hiring private investigators in addition to journalists of unlawful information gathering, which included the hacking of his cellphones, the bugging of his car, and even breaking into his apartment.
News Group attempted to have the entirety of Grant’s lawsuit dismissed, but while the U.K. high court tossed Grant’s phone hacking claims due to a six-year statute of limitations, Justice Timothy Fancourt ruled Friday that the actor can take the remainder of the allegations of his lawsuit to trial.
“It was only on seeing invoices disclosed … in 2021 that Mr. Grant believed that private investigators had been instructed by The Sun to target him in various ways, particularly in 2011,” Fancourt wrote in his decision (via The Associated Press).
Grant previously settled a similar lawsuit with News Group’s News of the World in 2012. “I am pleased that my case will be allowed to go to trial, which is what I have always wanted – because it is necessary that the truth comes out about the activities of the Sun,” Grant said in a statement Friday. “As my case makes clear, the allegations go far wider and deeper than voicemail interception.”
Those allegations include “burglaries to order, the breaking and entering of private property in order to obtain private information through bugging, landline tapping, phone hacking and the use of private investigators to do all these and other illegal things against me,” Grant previously said in an April 2022 hearing, the Guardian reports.
In a statement following Friday’s ruling, Murdoch’s News Group Newspapers said it was “pleased that, following our application, the High Court has ruled that Mr. Grant is statute barred from bringing a phone hacking claim against The Sun. The remainder of his claim, which has been brought following a statement made by [private investigator] Mr. Gavin Burrows in 2021, has been allowed to proceed to trial. NGN strongly denies the various historical allegations of unlawful information gathering contained in what remains of Mr. Grant’s claim.”
A trial date has not yet been set.
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