Hugh Grant’s case alleging British tabloids of illegal snooping could go to trial, court says

ONE London court on Friday rejected an attempt by the publisher Sun tabloids sue the actor Hugh Grant alleged that the journalists and investigators they hired illegally snooped on him.

Judge Timothy Fancourt said a trial in January will have to determine whether Sun made illegal information gathering that included tapping his landline, eavesdropping on his car, and breaking into his house.

News Group Newspapers (NGN), the owner of Sunargued that Grant had not made his claim within the six-year period.

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Hugh Grant arrives for the 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall in Los Angeles, Sunday, January 29, 2023.
Hugh Grant’s case accusing British tabloid The Sun of illegal snooping could go to trial, a UK judge has ruled. (Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

The judge dismissed Grant’s phone hacking charge for time-limited reasons, but said the case could continue on other charges.

“It was only when he saw the bills revealed … in 2021 that Mr Grant believed that the private investigators (PI) had been guided by Mr. Sun to target him in various ways, especially in 2011,” Fancourt wrote.

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The case that was contested in a hearing last month also included Allegedly hacking Prince Harry’s phone against News Group, Rupert Murdoch’s British newspaper.

Fancourt’s ruling made no mention of the Duke of Sussex’s case as he wanted to hear more about Harry’s allegations that he was prevented from making his claim sooner because of a “confidential arrangement”. between Buckingham Palace and the Murdoch papers.

Hugh Grant arrives at the Rolls Building in central London to conclude a hearing on the News Group Newspaper (NGN) phone hack on Thursday, April 27, 2023.
Justice Timothy Fancourt said a court hearing in January will have to determine whether The Sun carried out the illegal information gathering. (James Manning/PA via AP)

Harry alleges that the royal family has agreed to settle their case with NGNpublisher no longer exists International Newsletterout of court after the related litigation died down.

He said the agreement required an apology from the newspapers. In court papers, Harry said he only filed suit when efforts to expedite that settlement were unsuccessful.

He said his brother, Prince William, heir to the throne, later received a “huge” settlement over phone hacking allegations against News Group.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, right, and his brother Prince Harry trade on the BGC Partners exchange, during BGC Charity Day 2013, in Canary Wharf, London, Wednesday, September 11, 2013.
The judge wants to hear more about Prince Harry’s allegations, after the duke announced his brother, Prince William, had received a “huge” settlement over phone hacking allegations against News Group. (AP Photo / Chris Jackson, Billiards)

NGN has denied there is a “confidentiality agreement.” The palace did not respond to messages seeking comment on that or William’s alleged settlement.

A spokesperson for News Group released a statement on Friday saying it was pleased the court dismissed Grant’s phone hacking allegation.

“NGN strongly denies the various historical allegations of illegal information gathering contained in the remains of Mr. Grant’s lawsuit,” the statement said.

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