UK

Mirror Group phone hacking 'caused no permanent harm'

Mirror Group Newspapers

Phone hacking by the Mirror Group did not cause "permanent harm" to eight people suing the firm, its lawyer says.

Matthew Nicklin QC told the High Court hacking was "unlawful and wrong" but none of the victims in the case claimed their lives had been "ruined".

The firm has admitted publishing more than 100 stories based on hacking the victims' voicemails from 1999 to 2009.

The court will decide on damages to be paid to victims including ex-footballer Paul Gascoigne and actor Shane Ritchie.

The other six claimants are BBC creative director Alan Yentob, actress Sadie Frost, soap stars Shobna Gulati and Lucy Taggart, TV producer Robert Ashworth and flight attendant Lauren Alcorn.

'Upset and angry'

Mr Nicklin said hacking was an "unwarranted and unacceptable intrusion into people's private lives and it shouldn't have happened".

He did not suggest what damages should be paid, but said none of the claimants had their ability to work impaired or needed psychiatric care as a result.

"While they may be upset and even angry", he said, "not one of them has claimed - nor could they - that their lives have been ruined".

The case was adjourned until Wednesday.

The judge, Mr Justice Mann, is expected to take several weeks to assess the damages.

His decision on damages will influence the outcome of around 100 more hacking cases against the company which have been filed so far.

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