April 19, 2013 4:37 pm

News Group left with 21 hacking cases

News Group Newspapers has settled a further eight claims in the News of the World phone-hacking litigation, including a lawsuit brought by Neil Hamilton, a former Tory MP, and his wife Christine.

The High Court was told that 149 of 167 civil claims so far brought by political figures and celebrities had settled in a second set of legal actions that centres on the unlawful interception of voice messages by journalists at the defunct News of the World.

News Group Newspapers apologised to John Leslie, a TV presenter, and to Mr and Mrs Hamilton, in a statement read to the court.

Jeremy Reed, barrister for the Hamiltons, said News Group admitted its call data were obtained for News of the World by “unlawful means”.

John Leslie issued proceedings against News Group, publishers of the Sun newspaper, alleging breach of confidence and misuse of private information.

Mr Reed, who also represented Mr Leslie, told the court his client was “deeply angry and upset” to discover that “owing to the deliberate destruction of documents by the News of the World, he will never find out the true extent to which his privacy was invaded”.

Dinah Rose QC, the barrister acting for News Group, told the court that News Group offered its sincere apologies in the two cases. The court heard it had awarded “substantial” damages.

The High Court was also told that other cases including that of Nigel Lythgoe, a TV producer, Matthew Doyle, a political adviser, and the estate of the late TV presenter Jade Goody had settled their litigation with News Group. Another 21 cases remain and could go forward to a trial.

Mr Justice Vos, the judge in charge of managing the civil claims against News Group, delayed the start date for the civil phone-hacking trials from June until later this year.

However, Mr Vos has been promoted to become a Court of Appeal judge this year so another judge will manage the civil litigation.

The litigation date will be determined after the conclusion of the criminal trials relating to phone hacking, which are due to start in September and last until early November.

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