Actor Hugh Grant has received a ruling from London’s High Court regarding his lawsuit against Rupert Murdoch’s UK newspaper arm, News Group Newspapers (NGN). Grant, known for his roles in films like “Notting Hill,” has accused NGN, specifically its tabloid the Sun, of engaging in unlawful activities such as phone-hacking. The court ruled that some of Grant’s claims can proceed to trial, while others were filed too late.
In a written ruling, Judge Timothy Fancourt stated that certain allegations in Grant’s lawsuit were submitted past the allowable timeframe, but others could still be pursued. NGN had also sought to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Prince Harry during an April hearing, but a ruling in Harry’s case is expected after further discussions in July, where he will seek permission to rely on a supposed “secret agreement” between Buckingham Palace and NGN.
Grant, who previously filed a lawsuit against NGN in relation to the now-defunct News of the World tabloid, has become a prominent advocate for press reform since the phone-hacking scandal came to light. His latest lawsuit alleges that Sun reporters tapped his landline phone, placed listening and tracking devices in his home and car, burglarized his property, and obtained his private information through deception.
NGN denies these allegations, and their lawyers argued during the April hearing that it was implausible for Grant to claim he didn’t have enough knowledge to file a lawsuit against the Sun earlier.
Judge Fancourt’s ruling states that Grant’s claim concerning voicemail interception, commonly known as “phone-hacking,” was filed too late. However, the question of whether Grant’s allegations of landline tapping, bugging, burglary, and instructions given to private investigators were also filed too late will be decided during the trial.
The outcome of this legal battle between Grant and NGN will have implications for the ongoing discussions around media ethics and privacy rights. Grant’s active involvement in press reform highlights his commitment to addressing the issue of unlawful information gathering and advocating for greater accountability within the industry.
As the case progresses, both Grant and NGN will have their arguments heard in court. The ruling sets the stage for a trial that will examine the specific allegations brought by Grant and determine the extent to which NGN may be held accountable for the alleged unlawful activities.
The outcome of the trial and any subsequent rulings will shape the narrative surrounding press ethics and the responsibility of media organizations when it comes to protecting the privacy and rights of individuals. It remains to be seen how this legal battle will unfold and what impact it may have on the broader media landscape.