27/09/2012

Phone-Hacking Claimants Dropped Exemplary Damages Claim

More than 170 alleged victims of phone-hacking, including Cherie Blair and Wayne Rooney, have dropped their claim for exemplary damages as News International accused them of seeking "windfall" payouts.

Hugh Tomlinson QC, acting for the individuals suing News International, told Mr Justice Vos at the High Court on Thursday that they were dropping this element of their claim because they did not want to prejudice the criminal proceedings faced by former editors and journalists on the News of the World.

Tomlinson said the decision was taken following events at the Old Bailey on Wednesday, when News International's former chief executive Rebekah Brooks and David Cameron's former spin doctor Andy Coulson were given a provisional date of 9 September 2013 for a trial relating to phone-hacking charges.

Dinah Rose QC, counsel for News International, had accused the phone-hacking claimants of trying to punish News Group Newspapers, the News International subsidiary that published the now closed News of the World.

"We are prepared to pay full and fair compensation in every appropriate case," Rose told the high court.

But she added that the claims for exemplary damages were "not reasonable and were not about compensation".

(H)


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