Met pays lawyer £210k for libel claim


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The Independent Online

A prominent lawyer responsible for bringing civil damages claims in the phone-hacking scandal accepted £30,000 from the Metropolitan Police yesterday to settle a long-running libel claim.

Mark Lewis, who was placed under surveillance by News International prior to the full extent of voicemail interception becoming public, sued Scotland Yard after it said he misquoted one of its officers as saying that there were about 6,000 potential victims of phone hacking by the News of the World.

The lawyer complained that the allegation suggested he had lied to a parliamentary select committee when he gave evidence about voicemail interception in 2009 and cited the conversation he had held with Detective Inspector Mark Maberly about the 6,000 figure.

The Yard, which will also pay nearly £180,000 to Mr Lewis in costs, said it accepted that the solicitor had given evidence "to the best of his recollection". It added that its statement that Mr Maberly had been "wrongly quoted" about the number of hacking victims "may have been misinterpreted in some quarters".

Mr Lewis is one of a small number of lawyers who played a key role in bringing the full extent of the phone-hacking scandal to light. He represented the footballers' union boss Gordon Taylor, who was awarded a £725,000 settlement in 2009, and the family of the murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.

More recently, the solicitor has announced his intention to bring legal proceedings on behalf of three individuals over alleged phone hacking against News Corp in the United States.