UK- Police have found a new conspiracy to intercept voicemails with “potentially hundreds more victims” the Law Courts have been told.
The revelation came during the 14th case management conference relating to civil damages actions brought by scores of people from all walks of life over the phone hacking scandal.
At the beginning of proceedings, Hugh Tomlinson QC told the High Court that there had been “substantial developments” since the previous case management hearing.
He said a number of further arrests had been made “in what the Metropolitan Police Service have characterised in their public statement as a new conspiracy to intercept voice mail messages”.
He added that it involved “potentially hundreds of victims”.
Mr Tomlinson, who represents claimants in the action, said it was “not known at the moment how many more claims may be issued”.
Sky correspondent Rachel Younger, who was in court, said: “Only one of the new victims has been named – TV star Shane Richie – who has made his application to the court.”
During the proceedings Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh accepted “very substantial” damages and a public apology over phone hacking.
In October 2010 her private mobile telephone was stolen from her car in south west London.
David Sherborne, representing the MP for Mitcham and Morden, told Mr Justice Vos that in June last year police notified her they had “obtained evidence that The Sun newspaper had accessed her text messages from about October 2010 and therefore appeared to have accessed and/or acquired her mobile phone”.
A QC told the court on behalf of the newspaper that it was accepted that her mobile phone “should not have been accessed and used and furthermore accept that there has been a serious misuse of her private information”.
Mr Sherborne said the defendants, the publishers and/or owners of The Sun, had agreed to pay Ms McDonagh “very substantial damages” and her legal costs.
:: Retired boxer Chris Eubank told the court that he was looking forward to a “gargantuan battle” in the phone-hacking litigation.
The former world champion told Mr Justice Vos he was confident that evidence relating to his case would get in the public domain shortly and he looked forward to the “gargantuan battle” ahead of him.
“I know that Mrs Murdoch has a pretty good left hook so I am going to ask her to be gentle with me,” he joked.
Despite interruptions by the judge – who said that his case was at a preliminary stage and it was not appropriate to try to negotiate in the face of the court – Eubank persisted in holding the floor, saying he was not accepting News Group Newspapers’ “derisory offer” of £21,000 as they had taken everything away from him.
He said he was fighting on, alleging they had destroyed his marriage and he had been unable to care for his children.