Archers settle phone-hacking claims

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Published: Wednesday 4th February 2015 by The News Editor

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Jeffrey and Mary Archer and their son James have settled their phone-hacking claims against News Group Newspapers (NGN).

The best-selling author, his scientist wife and businessman son had decided to accept NGN’s offer of substantial undisclosed damages, the payment of their legal costs and an unqualified apology, said Hugh Tomlinson QC at London’s High Court.

He told Mr Justice Mann today that they had brought proceedings against the publisher of the now-defunct News of the World for misuse of private information, breach of confidence and harassment.

None of the Archers were in court.

Mr Tomlinson said that Lord Archer was of long term interest to NGN and was the subject of numerous articles in the NOTW over many years.

His wife and son were of interest as a source of information about him.

“The defendant, over a considerable period, sought to obtain private information concerning the claimants by using the services of private investigators.

“The evidence has indicated that the claimants were of long term continuing interest to the defendant.

“In or around June 2011, the claimants were contacted by officers at Operation Weeting.

“They were shocked and distressed by the discovery that private and confidential information relating to them had been located within documents relating to the police investigation into phone hacking at the News of the World.”

He added that NGN had undertaken to the court not to access their voicemail messages, not to access or attempt to access their private information by unlawful means and not knowingly to publish information obtained by unlawfully accessing voicemail messages left for or by them.

Antony White QC, for NGN, said it offered its sincere apologies for the damage and distress caused by accessing their voicemail, obtaining confidential information and having put Lord Archer under surveillance.

“The defendant acknowledges that the information should never have been obtained in the manner it was and that the defendant is liable for misuse of private information and breach of confidence.”

Published: Wednesday 4th February 2015 by The News Editor

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