Sienna Miller ‘fully vindicated’ after winning ‘substantial damages’ from The Sun

‘It was not my choice to be standing here, I wanted to go to trial’

Matt Mathers
Thursday 09 December 2021 14:12
Sienna settles hacking case

Actor Sienna Miller has said she feels “fully vindicated” after winning “substantial damages” from the publisher of The Sun newspaper in a case concerning alleged phone hacking.

Ms Miller, 39, claimed The Sun obtained medical records of her pregnancy through illegal means and that the paper’s then editor, Rebekah Brooks, knew that she was a mother-to-be before her friends did.

She brought legal action against the newspaper’s publisher, News Group Newspapers (NGN), which denies that any illegal information-gathering took place at The Sun and has agreed to settle her case for damages without any admission of liability.

The actor attended a hearing in London on Wednesday at which a judge was asked to give a ruling on the wording of a statement that was read out to the court on Thursday morning after the settlement was reached.

Speaking outside the court earlier, Ms Miller said in a prepared statement: “It was not my choice to be standing here, I wanted to go to trial.

“I wanted to expose the criminality that runs through the heart of this corporation.

“A criminality demonstrated clearly and irrevocably by the evidence which I have seen. I wanted to share News Group’s secrets just as they have shared mine.”

She added: “Unfortunately that legal recourse is not available to me or to anyone who does not have countless millions of pounds to spend on the pursuit of justice.

“Such is our world. Until someone comes along who can confront the Murdochs’ endless means, all that I have left are these words. And they are the truth.”

NGN’s lawyers objected to some parts of the statement, which they said created a “misleading and unfair” impression of the nature of the settlement.

These included an allegation that when Ms Miller was pregnant Ms Brooks called the actor’s assistant to say she knew about the pregnancy.

Ms Miller has previously said she was “horrified” to learn that a journalist for the paper allegedly met with a medical records tracer in an apparent bid to find out details about her 2005 pregnancy.

In his ruling on the matter, Mr Justice Fancourt said that Ms Miller’s statement had to be revised to ensure this and other passages are not presented as if they are facts, as there have been no findings made by a court and therefore they remain allegations which are denied by NGN.

Ms Miller’s statement read out the court was amended in accordance with the judge’s ruling and read to the court on Thursday.

The court was also due to hear statements on behalf of ex-footballer Paul Gascoigne and former Liberal Democrat MP and campaigner Dr Evan Harris, but the wording of their statements is also disputed by NGN.

Barrister David Sherborne, who is representing the claimants, told the court the matter was of great importance to them, as demonstrated by the fact Ms Miller had flown to the UK from the US to attend the hearing in person.

Anthony Hudson QC, representing NGN, said the three claims linked to the statements under dispute were “explicitly settled on the basis of no admission of liability”, and that allegations in the statements were “in reality being presented as fact and that is inappropriate”, adding that this “runs completely contrary to the basis on which the claimants settled”.

Mr Sherborne told the court that Ms Miller was “perfectly entitled” to include certain details in her statement, pointing to case law on unilateral statements in open court which he said made it “very clear” that she should be “allowed to say what she felt was hurtful to her, damaging, the effect of the publication and what she wants to say about the settlement”.

The court earlier heard statements from a number of celebrities and high-profile figures who have settled phone-hacking claims against the publisher of the now defunct News Of The World.

Since the phone-hacking scandal led to the closure of the News Of The World in 2011, NGN has settled a number of damages claims concerning unlawful information-gathering – but the publisher has never admitted liability in relation to alleged phone hacking at The Sun.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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