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Mark Lewis settles hacking libel claim


Solicitor Mark Lewis has settled his libel claim against the Metropolitan Police arising from evidence he gave on phone hacking to a parliamentary select committee.

Mr Lewis, a partner in the firm of Taylor Hampton, will receive £30,000 damages and around £200,000 in costs, it is understood.

His counsel Ronald Thwaites QC - in front of Mr Justice Eady at London's High Court today - said Mr Lewis told the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee in September 2009 that he had been informed by Detective Inspector Mark Maberly that around 6,000 people either had their phone messages hacked or left messages that were intercepted on phones that were hacked.

He said that, in response to a request for information from the Press Complaints Commission about the extent of the suspected phone hacking, the Metropolitan Police said Mr Maberly had been wrongly quoted on the 6,000 figure.

Counsel said the Metropolitan Police confirmed that it regretted that the statement made by it might have been misinterpreted in some quarters. It had no reason to believe that Mr Lewis gave anything other than evidence which was to the best of his recollection.

Equally, said Mr Thwaites, Mr Lewis was happy to confirm that he withdrew the allegation of dishonesty made against Mr Maberly and recognised that he also gave an account of events to the best of his recollection.

A spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Police said later: "The Metropolitan Police has not admitted liability in this matter, but is rightly mindful of the cost of legal proceedings to the public purse, so we are pleased that a potentially expensive libel trial has been avoided."