A London court has dismissed an attempt by the publisher of The Sun newspaper to dismiss a lawsuit brought by actor Hugh Grant alleging journalists and investigators he hired had illegally spied on him.
LONDON — A London court on Friday dismissed an attempt by the publisher of the tabloid The Sun to dismiss a lawsuit brought by actor Hugh Grant alleging journalists and investigators he hired had illegally spied on him.
Judge Timothy Fancourt said a trial in January will have to determine whether The Sun engaged in unlawful news gathering, including tapping his landline, bugging his car and breaking into his home.
News Group Newspapers, which owns The Sun, had argued that Grant had not made its claims within six years. The judge dismissed Grant’s phone hacking allegations on time limitation grounds, but said the case could proceed on the other allegations.
“It was only upon seeing the leaked invoices…in 2021 that Mr. Grant believed private investigators (PIs) had been instructed by The Sun to target him in various ways, particularly in 2011,” Fancourt wrote. .
The case was argued at a hearing last month which also included allegations of phone hacking by Prince Harry against News Group, Rupert Murdoch’s British newspapers.
Fancourt’s decision did not address the Duke of Sussex’s case because he wants to know more about Harry’s claims that he was prevented from making his claims much earlier due to a ‘secret agreement’ between Buckingham Palace and the Murdoch papers.
Harry alleged that the Royal Family had agreed to settle their affairs with NGN, publisher of the former News of the World, out of court after the related litigation ended. He said the deal required an apology from the newspapers.
In court papers, Harry said he only sued when efforts to expedite that settlement failed. He said his brother Prince William, heir to the throne, later received a ‘huge’ settlement following phone hacking allegations against News Group.
NGN denied there was a “secret deal”. The Palace did not respond to messages seeking comment on this or William’s alleged settlement.
A News Group spokesperson released a statement on Friday saying he was pleased the court dismissed Grant’s phone hacking allegations.
“NGN strongly denies the various historical allegations of unlawful information gathering contained in what remains of Mr. Grant’s claim,” the statement said.